Educators, Parents, Students lend me your ears, my name is Katie Criss and I am going to discuss home schooling with you. Currently there is a very heated debate over the issue of Home schooling in America. Today I am going to present you with my views on this critical subject. When I say "my views" I'm not going to stick my finger in the air to see what way the wind is blowing with this issue of home schooling. I know there are two sides, and supporters of both.. Rather I am going to present to you my viewpoints with opinion and research on why I am a critic of home schooling.
When I asked myself the question, How do you feel about home schooling? I first thought "Why would anyone do that" So I researched exactly that, What are the reasons that people give of why they choose to homeschool and how valid are they.
One reason that I frequently found through research was that parents home schooled their children because of the violence found in public schools. My response to this is Yes, there is violence in public schools, However, there are many preventive measures that are taken to avert this violence and most schools have incorporated a Zero-tolerance policy. Parents justify themselves by reciting isolated incidents to help build their case for home schooling. My message to parents who use this excuse to validate themselves is, first ask yourself the question, Is their violence in my neighborhood. I am sure if you are living in Harlem, New York compared to South Park, Pennsylvania there is going to be an immense difference in the crime of the area. My next question is, how do you expect to protect your child from all the dangers of society? Home schooling your child is a parents attempt to isolate their child from the real world scary stories. If you are afraid of your child being bullied, what will happen when your child becomes an adult and meets a bullying boss? This is a real-world story; children need the exposure to different people. Why? Simple, because nobody in this world is the same.
After doing much research and learning that parents question the safety of their children in public schools, I myself questioned the safety of home schooled children. From this research I concluded that current home schooling laws allow people who mistreat children to keep them in social isolation in order for the abuse and neglect to go undetected. To back this statement up I will cite a few of many incidents.
Smithfield North Carolina October 13, 2003. A sign hangs on the wall that reads so this is not home sweet home, adjust. In the bedroom, 14-year-old Brandon had committed suicide after killing his brother and sister. Yes, these children were home schooled, but the real point of this story is that the Warrens had home schooled their children before, in Arizona, where they were convicted of Child Abuse. An investigator in Arizona recorded that the children were tortured physically and emotionally. However, that is information that North Carolina school officials are not required to collect. In fact, since home schooling became legal in North Carolina in 1985, the number of home schooled students jumped from just a few hundred to more than 50,000. BUT there has been no change in the number of state employees that oversee the program- there is just three for the ENTIRE state.
In Iowa, a father is serving life, and a mother will go on trial this month, for killing their 10-year-old adopted son and burying him at their house in the backyard. Because they were home schooling no one noticed that he was missing for one entire year.
In Texas, Deanna Laney, home schooling mother of three, told investigators that she beat her children with rocks because she was saving them from Satan.
Another notorious and similar case is that of Andrea Yates, Texas home schooling mother of five who drowned all five children in her home bathtub. Many claim that Yates had been overwhelmed by the demands of constantly spending time with her children due to the fact that she was a home schooling parent.
To compare, Yates and Laney, Both of these mothers were religious. Both were subservient wives handling childcare pressures. Interestingly, both utilized Christian home schooling for their doomed children. Both "talked to God." Both fundamentalist Christian mothers say they sacrificed their own children "for God." Each of Andrea Yates children, like Mrs. Laney's, were home-schooled and had Biblical names. These are Two examples that are very similar to each other, both mentally ill mothers trusted to be at home with their children and give them their education. Which leads me to my next finding, Parents claim to home school their children to provide them with a better education then public schooling can give. My question is, How is a parent qualified to provide their child with an education? Home schooling parents have no set curriculum to go by, but not to worry they simply can purchase books of the internet entitled "Home schooling for Dummies" if they are having trouble, that should fix any problems. I would like to address educators and prospective educators, and ask them the question, Could you replace your studies with one do-it-yourself dummies book? I am sure that if you could then that would be the route of study pursued, rather then long hours of tedious work provided by a college institution. In order to even pursue a career in education in the state of Pennsylvania, one must provide clearances that show a clear background check, take Praxis Tests to show knowledge, complete at the minimum a 4 year education program with at least a 3.0 average, a speech and hearing test, observation hours, supervised student teaching, and lifelong learning credits in order to keep their certification in the field. Yet, to homeschool in California the only requirement is that parents provide notification that they will be home schooling their child. The only qualifications to teach listed are that the parents are "capable of teaching". Even more shocking is the state of Texas, home to both Andrea Yates and Deanna Laney, has no requirements for home schooling, in fact parents do not even have to notify the state that they will be home schooling. They must possess no qualifications in order to teach. That's it, if they want to be a teacher, they are!
Please note that every state is different. In South Carolina, colored moderate regulation a parent must have at least a GED or high school diploma to teach. However in New York, which is considered high regulation, no qualifications are necessary. Therefore if a parent did not even get a high school diploma in New York they are still qualified to teach their child high school material. I have concluded from this information that a child can only go as far as their parents have, and in some instances that may not be very far. Therefore these children are being cheated out of a valuable education.
Also I have questioned, having a parent as a teacher... are they teaching their children their bias's? In an institution goals are made to make sure that the material being taught is bias free. However in a home, a parent is free to choose, and some knowingly, others unknowingly are teaching their child their own biases. In a world that is culturally diverse, one must be exposed to different people and situations in order to appreciate our differences. However if a student had already formed biases then they are virtually closed minded to accepting these differences. Similar to this subject, being that both lead me to a valuable question is how home schooling parents can justify teaching their children for a child's entire childhood. When a student is in a public school they have many different teachers, who use many different teaching methods. However in a home a parent, especially with no education on how to educate, would use only one teaching method. Of course if they are teaching at all, and not just using books and videos. Through different teachers you learn virtually how to learn in different ways. You also learn how to understand people better. My valuable question that ties all these subjects together is how will a child develop his or her socialization skills if they are not exposed to different people? The school environment is much like one's work environment. If a child has never been exposed to such an environment how will they know how to adapt? How will they react to all the different people, different opinions, and different viewpoints? How will they work with groups of co-workers? All these questions address the issue of socialization of children who are home schooled. Closely related is one of my biggest questions, that is How can a parent make such a crucial decision without their child's consent to remove them from a world that is considered to be the "norm" and place them in a world in which they in effect are isolated? These children will develop low self esteems and forever question why it was their parents did not want to send them to school, to show them off to the world, instead they will wonder why are they hiding me? Most importantly, These children will not have the experience that public school provides, they will not have the experience that unites us citizens and provides us with a common background. They will not get to experience the simple things like go to prom's, participate in sports in which an entire school is benefited, have a school lunch, a lock on their locker, a ride on a school bus, recess, watching for their school to be cancelled on TV from snow days, and all the other little but character building events that take place in a public school students life.
In closing, American citizens, together let's promote our very prestigious and notorious public school system and crusade against the leniency of home schooling that consequently will benefit our country by providing a solid education for all.