I'd like to address a few points Shea Andersen missed in his mostly editorial article on homeschooling (BW, News, "Keep 'Em Home, June 20, 2007). I have three children, whom I homeschooled for several years, and who now attend public schools with great success.
First, anybody who believes in a good education ought to support providing as many options for families as possible. No one style of learning or one type of school will suit the needs of every student in Idaho.
My second point is that homeschooling parents are far from incompetent. I've known homeschoolers who were former public school teachers and principals. I know homeschoolers who are college professors. While I do not hold a teaching degree, I am a substitute teacher in the Boise School District. I often have students ask me if I am a "real" teacher because I am a very good teacher. I remind you, as well, that a teaching degree does not necessarily make a good teacher. Personally, I think teachers are saints and deserve 10 times the salaries we pay them. But I don't think that means no one else could possibly teach children.
Most of the people I know who homeschool do so not out of contempt for education, but out of great respect for and love of learning. Those of us who have opted subsequently to send our children to school are some of the staunchest supporters of teachers, the school district and administrators, and because of our great passion for education, we volunteer tons of hours in the schools.
Finally, I have to address that huge misconception that homeschooled children do not receive proper socialization. Anyone who claims that homeschoolers are isolated has not spent any time with homeschoolers. Most homeschoolers actively seek out one another and organize PE classes at the park, book clubs, orchestras, art groups and writing sessions. Look at the socialization children pick up in school: bullying, subtle and hidden ostracizing such as silent treatment or avoidance, cliques, competition between economic classes, and so much more. I encourage you to spend a day with homeschooled children and you will find their social skills and graces are something schools could use as a model.
Therefore, none of us should be appalled that Butch Otter supports homeschooling. We all should—it provides another link to strong education in Idaho.
Math time Again
Concerning Bill Cope's math about "averages," bored BW readers have now been endangered by Cope's version of "average" (BW, Opinion, "Create-Shun, June 6, 2007), the different version I sent on June 10 ("average" = 33.3 thousand in my example), the version of mine the BW apparently printed on June 13 ("average" = 30 thousand), and the professorial protests of Tom Edgar on June 20 ("average"= 33.3 thousand). But "typos" just will occur, at newspapers as elsewhere, despite our smart computers. We all do it.
But I will still cry "nay!" to a conclusion about intelligence that Cope drew from his bad math; namely, that "... there would be no such thing as an 'average' [intelligence] at all if half the people weren't above it, and half below." Try "median," Bill. That, not confused numbers, was the real point. (For example, the difference in meaning can be important, as when we are considering "average income"—is yours?)
Of course, both Bill and I may need occasionally to go back to school to get acquainted with simple arithmetic. Certainly we can leave the world of numbers to the sharp eyes and capable hands of Professor Edgar.
From BW's Online Comments:
As a local non-Christian homeschooler for over 10 years here in the Treasure Valley, I was disappointed in this article (BW, News, "Keep 'Em Home, June 20, 2007). I don't homeschool to hide my children but to give them the education my husband and I want them to have and, yes, give them the values we support. While we don't align ourselves with the "right," that doesn't mean either group isolates their children. Nationally, many studies support the success of homeschoolers educationally, but more importantly, they now address the argument of "socialization." Homeschoolers succeed in college and the workplace because they have, in fact, been socialized. While this is different than current methods, colleges and employers note that homeschoolers are more adaptable and flexible, yet friendly. I grant this is not always the case but neither is it 100 percent with traditionally schooled kids. Please do more research rather than just using your opinion.
—Lee Anne Tanaka
Homeschooling families get so tired of the "socialization" argument. Sherri Wood saying that homeschooled kids are isolated is a generalization and quite untrue. The issue is not whether homeschool kids are being socialized, but how, and comparing it to the type of socialization that public school kids are exposed to. It should be obvious that homeschooling parents feel the socialization their children are experiencing is preferable and superior to that of public school children. But what is she going to say? She represents the IEA; she can't very well appear to support homeschooling.