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Why I'm against home-schooling for most children

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The Anti-Schoolers By Penelope Green; October 15, 2008

The above article opens with a look at a very rare, and perhaps near ideal home-schooling environment. It also does this examination at the very beginning of such an effort, when things are perhaps the easiest, and least demanding of parent and child. Real world 'average' cases of home-schooling rarely approach this level of perfection and comfort.

From what I've personally seen of the world, home-schooling would be so inadequate for most children as to qualify for criminal negligence on the part of the parents-- and the society which allows it too easily.

There's all sorts of reasons for my view. Just one is that many parents themselves aren't well-educated to start with-- and even if they were, they've likely forgotten many important details in the years since graduation. Two, I know of very few working class parents with the spare time to devote to the massive effort required to teach grades 1 through 12 to their children. Often both father and mother are working full-time jobs-- plus must absolutely sleep sometime-- and often spend many hours a week on the road in commutes or essential errands (groceries shopping, etc). So right there is consumed 18-20 hours a day. Leaving maybe 4 hours a day for housecleaning, meals preparation, laundry, car and home maintenance, exercise workouts, bills paperwork, some recreational TV or music consumption, and...home schooling their kids.

And what if they have more than one kid to teach?

But beyond all this is motivation, discipline, and endurance. Even in cases where the parents are well-educated and sufficiently well off so either only one works, or both are free from having to hold down jobs (wow, we're getting into some rare folks here now, aren't we?), I suspect lots more will eagerly sign up to home school their kids than will end up actually able and willing to put in the time and effort necessary to do a reasonably good job at it. For teaching can be difficult. Extremely difficult at times, depending on the subject, the child, and the parent. And the act of teaching itself sometimes requires a bit of training for adults: it doesn't necessarily come naturally.

And even if a parent can put in the effort required for some matter of days or weeks, that's still not enough for success. No: such educational efforts must be sustained not just for weeks, or even months-- but years on end. My list of caveats in regards to home-schooling could go on: but these are the biggies. And why I'm against home-schooling in general, unless the parents themselves prove capable of passing some rigorous tests related to same, and some reliable third party occasionally checks and verifies the children's progress.

Remember: those with the most to lose from an inadequate or spotty education are the children themselves.

And there's a reason modern society depends so much upon trained specialists like teachers or plumbers or electricians to perform certain duties: it's because that's proven over generations to be the most cost-effective, certain, and safest way to complete major and/or complex tasks in those respective fields. By contrast, it's not difficult to find stories even among your own friends and family of amateurs (even sometimes talented amateurs) who badly botched things like the plumbing or electrical wiring in their own home.

Screw ups in home plumbing and wiring can be disastrous and costly enough; but a botched education for a kid might result in a life sentenced to inescapable mediocrity and poverty: a very real crime against innocents.

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