Every once in a while, I’ll come across a few articles detailing the troubles of public school and why it’s such a terrible thing. Sometimes they have good points, valid reasons. Often, they have terrible points, ones not based in objectivity, but in their own bias. I’ll write more about bias another day, but for now, suffice to say we all have it. So yes, I can just as easily find a similar article against homeschooling. And maybe one day I will write up that rebuttal. But today, it’s this article, this one listing the reasons for being against public school.
Let me be clear, I’m not against homeschooling. I had planned on homeschooling my own daughter, and still hope to at some point later on. Right now, that’s not an option. Which, in fact, brings me to another issue – the jab at the end of the article.
“With all of these problems in America’s public schools, I know I wouldn’t be comfortable sending my kids there. Not when I know they can get just as good of an education at a private school or through home-schooling. And I have known enough kids in my day that have gone to private school or been home schooled to know that either of these education are possible without running the risk of them being sheltered. I just feel that if my kinds would be safer and happier, why not send them to private school or home school them?”
Why? Because for some people, homeschool and private school aren’t options. Not everyone has the time and money to invest into something like that. And they still want their kids to be safe, to have a decent education, to have good success even in going to public school. So if you homeschool – great, that’s fine. It’s perfectly okay to homeschool your kids. It’s okay to want them to have a better education. And yes, it can be done without them being sheltered or isolated. But that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone.
That said, here’s a point-by-point rebuttal of your claims for being against homeschool.
- Bullying has gotten out of hand
Yes, this is a fair point, because it has. But that doesn’t mean it has to be this way. Many parents don’t realize how much power and influence they can have over these situations.
2. Kids don’t feel safe
Feeling safe has nothing to do with our current President OR bathroom laws. Just a few years ago, a teenage girl was KILLED in a school bathroom and in another news story, a six-year-old was beaten in a school bathroom. It wasn’t gays or transgenders that did this in either case – it was other girls, legally allowed in the same bathroom. If we’re going to talk about safety in schools, we need to stop looking at the non-issue of transgender laws and examine what’s already happening. And that’s not even getting into things like school shootings and sexual assaults that happen all the time.
3. Pressure is strong
There’s no less pressure being at home, either. I’ve known many homeschooled kids who are under a ton of pressure. Pressure to do well, to “prove” that homeschool is better than public, pressure to keep up with friends. And college pressure doesn’t go away just because your kids learned at home. In fact, at times there is even MORE pressure, because instead of automatically getting an accredited diploma from the school district, it’s up to the parents to ensure that everything is in line – and I know so many kids who graduated from home school, and can’t get into college AT ALL without further classes/testing because their diploma is little more than a sheet of paper.
4. Peer pressure
Peer pressure isn’t a public school thing, it’s a basic kid thing, unless you plan on completely isolating your children entirely (some parents do have this version of homeschool). That aside, yes, peer pressure is a big problem in school. But again, this is something that can be worked on, instead of stepping outside of the problem. Teach your kids to be leaders, and a POSITIVE influence at school – if we’re going to talk peer pressure, we could do well to include some positive examples.
5. Discipline at school
This is what we’re going to? Because I know many parents who have poor discipline just as much, if not worse, than schools. The difference is that schools at least have policies and protocols in place to at least attempt to keep it in check. There’s no such thing for private households. If kids don’t care, then they don’t care if the yelling comes from the parent any more than the teacher.
6. Student-teacher ratio
Good point about the ratio. Class sizes are too large. So what can we do about it? Well, we can start by parents being more active in their children’s schools, as volunteers. And we can end with making schools a more positive place to work. Pay our teachers better, encourage better education for our teachers, focus on making it more of a positive work environment for our school staff, so that people are drawn to the field and not away from it. Too many young people go to college with high dreams of being an educator, only to drop out either in college itself or from teaching positions, once they see how much of a struggle it really is. If they don’t drop out entirely, they switch schools/positions, because there’s no support where they’re at – and without support, they are ineffective, no matter how much their heart is in it.
Yes, it’s in the hands of the voters – the same voters whose children go to those same schools. What exactly is your alternative? Have it in the hands of a few old men in government positions who are so far removed from your kids that they don’t even know what it’s like? Your first point complained about a president who doesn’t know what it’s like – but now you don’t want it in the hands of people who do?
8. No morals
No more than ever. And it’s certainly not like these things are allowed to run amok. One accusation could ruin a teacher’s entire career – that’s hardly “no morals.” And if this is the stance you want to take, I’d like to ask if you take your kids to church? Because it’s equally a problem there – worse, even, given how many churches try to sweep these things under the rug, or handle it “in house” instead of taking it to the authorities.
Homeschooling is a valid option. I personally like the flexibility it offers, and the opportunities it presents that allow you to cater education to your child’s specific needs and interests. It really has a lot to offer. However, that isn’t to say that public school is a poor choice, and particularly for those parents who have no other option than public school, it does a huge disservice to tear them down for that decision.