Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

The 13th week of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up at the Why Homeschool blog. I found this post on debunking homeschooling fallacies interesting just because I often hear the argument that kids should attend public schools to learn to deal with unpleasant and painful experiences and homeschooling may not give them this "opportunity." One would think this would be a positive reason for homeschooling, not a negative one.


Blogger michael farris said...

I think the concern is about creating bubble children who don't know how to deal with people who are different from them or a world that doesn't conform to their expectations. It's not always a pleasant learning experience, but it's best achieved while still young as it takes years to learn (and of course many fail to learn it in public or private schools as well).

I'll be provocative and echo I sentiment I read that Ben Domenech's recent problems might partly be traced to a homeschooling background that didn't teach him _process_ how things get done in the real world.

3:38 PM, March 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be provocative and echo I sentiment I read that Ben Domenech's recent problems might partly be traced to a homeschooling background that didn't teach him _process_ how things get done in the real world.

Does that also hold true for all those that plagiarize and attend public schools? Plagiarism is a big problem in universities after all, and the majority of those students come from public schools. Did public education fail to teach Sen. Biden, for instance, how things get done in the real world?

Very sloppy argument.

Also, homeschooling does not create "bubble children". The group mind-think that one must be immersed with ONLY children of one's own age for 8 hours a day, 9-10 months out of the year, for 15 years or so, in order to deal with those that "are different" or be able to deal with "a world that doesn't conform to their expectations" is quite frankly, laughable.

3:52 PM, March 28, 2006  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

I thought that pc in public schools forbade "unpleasant and painful experiences" -- At least for members of certified victim groups. :)

4:22 PM, March 28, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Ben Domenech's problem, besides his history of plagiarism, is his attitude that no one other than his family can teach him anything. Maybe evolution is true in Matt Yglesias' world, Domenech said, but it isn't true in his world, because parents know best. I'm not going to say that home schooling has to turn out that badly, but yes, it does seem to be one of the ways that home schooling can go bad.

And beyond that, home schooling is like mountain-climbing. Yes, it can be a fantastic personal adventure, but it's also an enormous amount of work. It is very easy for parents to bite off much more than they care to chew with home schooling, and they may also be reluctant to concede defeat if it's not working. What parents would want to admit to the local public school that they just didn't find the time to teach their children how to read? You would expect there to be both good and bad home schooling, and when parents are bad at home schooling, they won't be subject to the same public humiliation as failing public schools. Instead they can try to keep a low profile. The home schooling blogs will generally select for the success cases.

At the outer extreme, if home schooling goes so badly that the parents are arrested for child abuse, then they can no longer keep a low profile.

4:53 PM, March 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the linked blog, the homeschooling mom wonders why people doubt homeschooling: "I just wish these folks would stop and think about what is REALLY bothering them, what their concerns really are."

I like homeschooling and this mom. But it does concern me that so many people opt for homeschooling because it means our schools are doing a terrible job. I'm not willing to give up on public education. At least not yet. It would be a disaster for our society if we gave up on compulsory public education.

5:23 PM, March 28, 2006  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Don't give up on it; privatize it. I could write a book on the subject (though others already have) but for now will summarize thusly: I don't see public education moving in any positive direction, and those who could turn it around with relative ease (admittedly like telling an oil tanker "hard to starboard", but still) fight tooth and nail to accelerate the downward slide. I'm willing to let everyone else try to fix it, and will do what I can from an adult perspective, but I won't be throwing my kids into a bad situation to satisfy some imaginary public duty.

5:34 PM, March 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What institution, public or private, does not perform better with competition? The military comes to mind, but even there we see competition among the services. Anybody have any nominations?

11:21 PM, March 28, 2006  
Blogger Greg Kuperberg said...

Anonymous 11:21: The military performs rather worse with competition. When you have competing militias, for example in Iraq, they fight each other and terrorize the populace instead of protecting the country.

The division of the military into services is a plausible example of internal competition. I think that internal competition is a very good idea for public schools, probably more important than home schooling. I don't really object to home schooling; it can be very good or very bad or anywhere in between. But home schooling is to organized schooling what home carpentry is to organized carpentry. Although it is a respectable option, it should not be promoted as "competition".

Note to DRJ: I responded to your question on my blog, since you asked very nicely.

12:05 AM, March 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Regardless of how it is promoted, home schooling is competition. So are private schools. However, neither home schooling nor private shools are price competitive.

The interesting thing is how many people are willing to pay a high price for what is otherwise free.

10:31 AM, March 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public schools are not free.

12:12 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 12:12:

Isn't that the truth. I just finished my taxes and believe me, I know public schools and other "services" are not free!

12:33 PM, March 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:12

Public schools certainly have a cost, and that is paid from taxes, but they do not have an incremental price to the consumer.

Private schools charge tuition, which is an incremental payment over and above the taxes the consumer pays.

Home schooling has an opportunity cost since the parent gives up the income that could otherwise be generated by being in the workforce.

2:49 PM, March 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the concern is about creating bubble children who don't know how to deal with people who are different from them or a world that doesn't conform to their expectations.

That is a concern raised by those who, like myself, are ambivalent about homeschooling but have noticed an alarming tendency among homeschooled children we know to be unduly credulous and whimsical; and otherwise socially graceless.

My memories of oddball students from my public school days (K-12) are indelible — but the number of those students could be counted on one hand. Three homeschooled children whose parents are members of my church are particularly impulsive and ingratiating and, worse, inappropriately affectionate — they seem to think that everyone, like Mommy and Daddy, will unconditionally accept their behavior. I can't help but wonder what sort of rude awakening awaits the eldest child, a remarkably bright boy who should have learned to temper his eccentricities and make the best use of his uniqueness by now.

3:09 PM, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've seen a few wierd homeschool kids too and I have seen many really nice, age appropriate, well behaved homeschool kids also. My biggest problem in my church where I am a K Sunday School teacher is with a 5 year old that wears flouncy dresses way too old for her, makeup and constantly talks about the various baubles her current 'boyfriend' gave her. She 'loves' him and they have been 'going together' for 3 months. This child goes to public school. So what is the issue? Parenting. Some parents with faulty parenting skills homeschool-the apples don't fall far from the tree. Some wierd kids from wierd families with few limits go to public school. Most kids have their personalities and behavior habits well formed before school age anyway and if discipline or exposure to appropriate conduct hasn't occured by then, it probably won't get a lot better. But I don't think I would blame homeschooling for bad behaved kids anymore than I would credit public school with forming children with exemplary character.

3:13 PM, April 11, 2006  
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