Several times now, educational methods have come up as topics on this blog. A listener of the podcast commented that she felt I was being unfair in my assessment of the Duggar's homeschooling and drew a faulty conclusion about my thoughts on homeschooling. For the record, I don't have a problem with homeschooling. I also don't have a huge problem with public schools. And, I truly don't know enough about "un-schooling" to have a well-formed opinion. I think that families should choose the method that works best.
Our method is to send the kids to a traditional, public school and supplement their public education with more focused activities at home.
What I don't understand is any extremism in education. All things in moderation.
I dislike hard-core, exclusionary home school advocates because I *do* think there's some benefit in socialization and dealing with people of different ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. People like the Duggars, and other fundamentalists, get my ire up because they're not promoting learning... they're promoting an agenda and a dogma. They fear public school because it might expose Jr. to another way of life.
I know many parents who've successfully home schooled. I salute them. If your child ends up being a productive, bright, intelligent member of society, then my hats off to you. :)
That said, I have little respect for "homeschool-ers" who don't take their duty seriously.
I think people who leave the education of their child entirely to the public school systems are also negligent. I loathe the parents who seem apathetic to the education of their child. I hate the parents who think public school is a babysitting service and don't support their child's educational needs. However, I am a product of public schools. I think I turned out above average. ;) I spoke several languages as a kid and had a great time forming friendships that I probably wouldn't have formed had I been home schooled. I had opportunities that I probably wouldn't have had, had my parents home schooled.
Mr. Possum is the product of 13 years of parochial education. He emerged largely unscathed...although, he has a ruler fetish. ;) Kidding...
What's disappointing, to me, is that each camp seems to go too far. Homeschool-ers and the unschooled sing the woeful tunes of "under-educated" and abused/neglected public school kids. They'll sit studies about how awful the public schools are.
Anti-homeschool-ers screech about socialization issues and the perception that home schooled kids are missing out.
I think the best answer is to choose a position somewhere in between the two. Why go to extremes?
My kids attend public schools. They love it. And, while I'm not always pleased with the things that happen at the school...I try to remember that I'm teaching them how to negotiate with the world (and others who may not be like us) by example. If I go off half-cocked about the words "under God" in the pledge and stomp about the school, I'm not showing my children how to be a rational person/adult. At the same time, I freely supplement their lives with information, knowledge, materials, and "in-put". I am, and always will be, their first (and most dedicated) teacher. I'm completely invested in their future. I want them to be the brightest and happiest that they can be.
I suppose I just don't understand why people feel like they have to stake a claim in one camp or the other. Wouldn't it be best if all kids were unschooled (play and individualized interest based education), home schooled (loving, invested parents making an effort to extend the learning environment into all aspects of life), and public schooled??