Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why I will not home-school

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot about the arguments for home-schooling and the arguments for organized-schooling, and I think that there is no benefit of home-schooling that cannot be accomplished by a parent, whether their child is in school or at home.

There is one huge, glaring difference, that will prevent me from home-schooling my daughter.

I've been struggling with exactly how to describe it, but I guess it can be boiled down to a word: Diversity.

No matter how many course materials I put together, or how many field trips I take her on, or how many sports and outside activities I enroll her in, I will always be the one teaching her. What if she doesn't learn the way that I teach?

Part of what can make school boring (aside from the subject material), is the teacher. For argument's sake, let's say I'm an effective teacher. How do I know that I am an effective teacher for my daughter's learning style? Secondly, if I am an effective teacher for her, what's to say that integrating other methods would not also be useful. There is visual learning, oral learning, kinesthetic learning, and then there are as many ways to present information as there are people. Diversity.

There is a huge benefit in learning how to learn. And, learning how to learn in different ways.

This causes our brain to switch modes, to think outside of the box. 

Perhaps there isn't enough of this in organized schools, especially schools that feel constrained by standardized theists. And we should work to change this. 

Contrary to the propaganda of some home-school advocates, not all teachers have the same opinions. Shocker. Y'know who does have generally consistent and fairly standard opinions. Each one of us. As individuals, we are biased in what we present and how we present it. Even the most open-minded person has opinions, and keeping these opinions out of all teaching is close to impossible. And, in many cases, being exposed to a diversity of opinions, relevant to the topic, can enhance education.

By allowing my child to learn from different people, especially those people whom I may disagree with, I am helping her learn how to think critically, to assess information. Of course, this does require that I, as a parent, actually engage with my child outside of school. I need to listen to what she is learning. I need to have her show me and tell me and teach me what she is learning. In this way I can not only reinforce her "learning to learn", I help her to "learn by teaching". I can also assess whether her teacher is one of the many excellent educators in our country, or one of the few that need to find a different career. If it is the latter, I can, as an involved parent, take actions to facilitate said career change, or at least ensure my child is not subjected to that individual's idiocy.

Choosing to home-school is, in my opinion, the worst form of helicopter parenting. Assuming that no one could possibly teach your child every single subject better than you is not only arrogant, it is foolish, and patently untrue. 

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