25 April 2012

A Basic Defense of Homeschooling

All of us who have made the choice to homeschool have been there at least once.  (Yes, even me with my not-yet-four-year-old daughter.)  You're talking to someone who seems perfectly nice when suddenly, out of the blue, they commence a shower of venemous accusations that you are a horrible, terrible person for wanting to homeschool your child, who will of course be ruined forever by the experience.

For a parent new to the homeschooling world, the first time this happens it can be a traumatic experience that could ultimately shake your faith in the decisions you've made.  But never fear!  For every illogical and shallow argument these people throw at you, there is a very reasonable response.

Here are a few of the most common attacks, and how to respond to them.

1. "But what about socialization?  Do you want your kid to be a social misfit?"

The snarky response:  "Don't worry.  My kid will have just as much of an opportunity to be bullied, impregnated, and do drugs as your kids, I'm sure.  Oh, wait, no she won't.  Yeah, she's really missing out, isn't she?"

The socialization argument is so ancient and enfeebled at this point it should be on life support, but people will throw it in your face every chance they get.  If you choose not to utilize the snarky approach, a simple reminder that your child will be out in the community interacting more than most public schooled kids and that sitting in a homogenous group of kids all the same age was never really a good way to learn social skills should suffice.  And really, how many of us that attended public school are rockstars when it comes to interpersonal communication?  Something about years of torment and bullying makes one want to retreat from others, not the other way around.

2. Do you really think you can do as good of a job teaching your kid as a trained teacher?

The snarky response:  "My god, you're right!  How will I ever be able to focus on my son's education without the constant presence of forty other kids at all times?  How could my son possibly learn anything from me if I haven't taken classes on optimal teacher's desk placement and how to make seasonal bulletin boards?"

Alternative snarky response: "No, I'm pretty sure I'll do much better."

In case you haven't caught on yet, getting a degree in education is kind of a joke.  The majority of the classes they take revolve around classroom management, not the information they'll (theoretically) be imparting to their eager young minds.  Also, it doesn't matter how much they know because there are so many regulations about what to teach and how to teach it that, in most public schools, effective teaching is all but dead, replaced with endless standardized tests and lists of sight words to memorize.

3. Don't only uber-religious nutbags homeschool?

The snarky response:  Don't say anything right away.  Just drop to your knees, lift your arms toward the sky, and scream, "Hallelujah!  Praise the LAWD, I've seen the light!  Amen, sister!"  Wait a long moment, then climb to your feet and say, "Never mind, false alarm.  I'm still Athiest/Buddhist/Pagan/Undecided/Other.  So I guess not."

This one really doesn't need much in the way of explanation.  Obviously, not all homeschoolers are nuts anxiously awaiting the end of the world while they set up plans for post-rapture pet care.

This is only a tiny appetizer of the broad buffet of criticism you're likely to hear over the years, but it'll get you started.  I'm sure I'm going to hear much more once Sydney is old enough for people to question why she's at the zoo before lunch on a Wednesday, and when that happy day comes, I'll share just how I put the morons in their place.

  • Stumble This
  • Fav This With Technorati
  • Add To Del.icio.us
  • Digg This
  • Add To Facebook
  • Add To Yahoo


Post a Comment