As much as I enjoyed yesterday’s trip around the mall, Sista Smiff has inspired me to post again, but this time in response to her opinions on home schooling. I think she’s actually approaching editor status for me, since I can’t seem to come up with any good assignments for myself this week.
I agree that there are certainly situations where home schooling can lead to overly insulated children with underdeveloped social skills. They do have groups that go on traditional field trips together and there is actually a local home school prom which I shudder to think about. Of course I shudder to remember my own proms too, but that’s for different reasons.
It’s unfair to generalize the effects of home schooling and the reasons why parents choose it, just like it’s unfair to lump all traditional schools together as one experience. I attended a prestigious all-male school in Nashville (until there was an incident…), and some of those guys went from 6 years of guy school to pledging a fraternity and moving into the the frat house before freshman year even started. They were likely to marry whoever they went to freshman Spring formal with as soon as they graduated and suddenly found themselves in the workplace having to interact with women for the first time on a non-dating basis. I don’t think that’s very healthy either.
But I do want to speak up for a very positive home school experience I was personally involved in. I taught a young woman for several years in math and history as part of her home school curriculum. Her other instructors were localy grad students who needed some extra money, and her parents found me through some tutoring I had done and through my Princeton Review classes. The reason this young lady was being home schooled was that she was a potential Olympian in a competitive sport that required her to travel to meets all year long. Her parents were also in position to take her on long trips around the world and offer her the kinds of life experiences that only a small fraction of children could undertake.
She was extremely well adjusted, mature and had a thirst for knowledge that hadn’t yet been beaten down by any set of rules or guidelines. I wrote her recommendations to apply to over 10 highly competitive colleges including Ivy League schools, and she got into every one of them. From what I’ve heard, she is now a successful attorney, but I guess you can’t win them all. She would have made an excellent professor.
I recognize that her situation was unique in her opportunities and personal work ethic. What I wanted to point out was that everybody’s experiences are unique. Having a dedicated home school parent on the Metro Board of Education doesn’t necessarily mean she will bring a specific agenda to the group, and there should be checks and balances in place to prevent any one point of view from dominating discussions or policy. But the chance to bring any new perspectives to the educational process should always be embraced.