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Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I've been struggling with whether to homeschool our daughter or let her wade through the mires of Texas public schools (where at 4 1/2, she meets the requirements to graduate Kindergarten, but won't be allowed to enter until she's nearly 6 because she misses the cutoff date by 2 months.)
It is so important to me that she receive the best education she can and that she is allowed to explore the wonders of learning for its own sake. My main concern has been what to do once her lessons surpass the levels at which I'm able to instruct. Your experience with your own mother is very reassuring.
I've heard plenty of testamony from parents who are currently homeschooling, but hearing from someone who has been through it and succeeded speaks much louder than people who say "my kids are doing just fine."
I know a parent who is homeschooling her two daughters. She is actually brainwashing them. While I am a protestant and believe in the bible this woman takes it to a level beyond belief. Her education ended with highschool and believe me if you knew her you would wonder how she graduated. To her that is not important though because her purpose is to control their religious and social life. The family does homeschool and homechurch. The girls have very limited social life. I do believe there needs to be better monitoring of home teachers and their students. There should be a test to determine if a person is sufficiently educated to be a teacher. I wish I could show you how sad this particular situation is but that would be revealing too much about the family. To my knowledge there is no fisical abuse, I am sure the parents really love their children, but there are other kinds of abuse that are important to be aware of.
Yes, but this is problem with homeschooling. Not only do most parents not have the training and background required for certification(which I believe is not always essential), they may lack the knowledge base and the experience. Does it serve society for home teachers to be catching up on the job?
A piece of paper isn't a guarantee, but it does suggest that this person is not looking at the material for the first time. Intuitively, my opinion would be that it makes a difference.
And how do we do quality assurance? Education is a societal question and it is ill-considered to take an anarchists approach. Experience and knowledge again suggests that the quality will be there - of course, it needs to be proven by results. If I were send a child to learn how to mountain climb, I wouldn't send him or her with someone who had some remote exposure to it ten years ago. I would check his background well and make sure the experience was there. He would not necessarily need some kind of license, but the experience would have to be there.
People are quick to point out the failure of public schools as a reason to home school. Having taught in public school for a long time, at least in my district, I have spent almost as much time recently dealing with parents trying to determine what happens in my classroom as I do actually teaching. And I get great results in standardized tests and in the more subjective area of creating students who both know and think on their own. What happens to the poor new teacher who is just finding his way?
Frustrating! So, I can't comment on home schooling because I haven't researched the results, but I can tell you that parent over-involvement is a constant detriment to my work. Maybe it's better to just let parents do it because they aren't going to give up until they have complete control in a socially wider school anyway. Doesn't matter about training or experience...they always know better.
I believe your case is exceptional. Obviously with your existing credentials no additional certificvation should be required for someone like yourself to home school your children. But certainly you must recognize that your position is somewhat unique.
I do believe that parents who home school should have some reasonable degree of education and or certification to ensure that their children receive an equitable opportunity for an education. I do not know enough about the California ruling to comment except to say if an official certificate is required that standard should not apply to people like yourself. However, throughout the rest of this country many people are teaching curriculum to their children who have very little education themselves. There are no guarentees that some of these people even have the knowledge and background in the subjects they are required to teach.If one has no basic knowledge of sixth grade geography for example, isn't it reasonable to assume that they may not be capable of giving their own children the proper guidance in this subject? I do not per se have anything against the idea of home schooling but I do believe, as with anything worth doing it is worth doing well. Our children should not be cheated of a decent education just because their parents have what are often dubious or "moral" objections to the circumstances of public education. Likewise I believe that parents should not be trapped or confined to giving an education to children in school systems they deem to be inferior. Surely there is room for reasonable debate and solutions in this area. It is definetly not one size fits all but allowing people who have absolutely no knowledge or credentials in certain subject areas to teach in those subject areas is complete lunacy.
I stumbled across this blog and felt the need to reply.
I have been an Early Childhood Educator for the past 20 years. I have taught for the state helping teachers understand and practice different ways to approach learning. We would help teachers understand that learning needed to fit the child, the child did not need to fit the learning.
I knew this was not they way it was in public school and I was concerned. Having friends who teach in public schools and hearing things that they were required to do, or did just because it was better for them as teachers I was even more concerned.
We lasted two years in the public school system and then made the decision to educate our children at home.
The public school system takes such an adult approach to teaching our children that it almost seems unfair to expose them to what we do so early. Then we want to know why the grow up so fast and get pregnant, do drugs, back away from their families and so much more.
We tell them, "If you're exposed to something you're not ready for, well you just have to deal with it, so it might as well be now." If they learn how to do something one way, but the system is set up to teach another, there is no room for a creative or different approach.
What we don't think about is that in the "real world," no one makes our choices for us, we decide how to get from point A to point B. If you don't know how or you have never done it before you figure it out, as an adult we have that ability and maturity to reason and think things through. Yes, there are guidelines and rules, but most of us who homeschool do not raise our children without rules or guidelines, we simply give them what they are ready for, when they are ready.
For my children, it has helped them to become better readers, to think for themselves and to be creative and understanding when faced with obsticles they aren't sure of, knowing that, as their teacher, I am right there behind them to support their decision and help them to learn as they grow.
My children don't get up at 6:30 to catch the bus, but I don't believe it's going to destroy how they handle the world later. As an adult, I chose college classes after a certain time, so that I could sleep in; and when I couldn't find a flexable career that catered to my families needs, we created one that would provide us with what we needed.
You see, my goal as a homeschool parent is to take the important stuff and focus on how my children can fit it into their lives and make it theirs. Not how they have to alter who they are to fit the world.
This world is made up of all different kinds of people, who choose all differnt kinds of paths; and what I am teaching my children is to accept that and to add to it in their own way. This is something that does not require me to have a teaching certification, but will be a major tool in my children's success as adults. A teaching certification is not going to give me anything I can't learn on my own or get from another source. What I have forgotten from school and college, I can learn again or get help for my child to learn it.
It has worked for us, and I hope it continues to do so as we all grow through this journey together.
It's amazing how some people can be so judgemental when they don't understand something different from the way they do things or the "norm." The stereo typing or belief that everyone needs to learn the same thing, the same way and that only a certified teacher can do this is a very close minded and uneducated way of thinking.
My doctor told me once after I had my second baby, that if I would just stay home with her she would not get sick and be healthy. Another doctor told me if I would just put my child to bed on his own and not rock him to sleep he would sleep much better through the night.
Well, my daughter was only sick once in her 4 years of childcare and my little one now 2, sleeps through the night just fine and I miss those days he needed me to hold him.
So, just because you get an education or a certification doesn't mean that you have all the answers to all the questions, or that it is what's best for you child.
While I agree that potty training doesn't necessarily mean that a parent has what it takes to homeschool their child, I want to address some of the comments made by Caroline on this board:
1. "there should be some type of protocol"
There is a protocol set by the Department of Education. Parents must follow their guidelines and regularly submit paper evidence in order to homeschool.
2. "As technology, formulas, and general science are progressing, children need to have their education up to date as well."
Most homeschooling parents I know, do so because they want their children to learn MORE than what public schools fail to teach. Parents spend LOTS of money buying curriculums that are up to date with all the information you have mentioned, and guides for teaching them. Parents are very good at drawing on a variety of resources to make sure their children are fully educated, and when there is a subject or lesson that they are unfamiliar with or do not excel at, they seek out help, whether through a private tutor or through homeschool connections with people who are familiar with a subject.
3. " when the child grows up to live in the real world, they will horrified that they weren't taught the same things as the rest of their class"
Is this something you've actually researched or do you personally know people who feel this way? Because recent studies point to a significant percentage of college graduates who do better than their non-homeschooled counterparts; and I know a large number of formerly homeschooled adults who are quite happy, quite well adjusted and have a much more well-rounded body of knowledge having been homeschooled.
4. "children need to learn to step out of their comfort zone and learn to adapt to different people and environments. Being at home for school, chores, and play can be redundant and consequently does them no justice. "
These sound like common misperceptions. In public school children are with the same group of people for 6-8 hours a day. How does that help them to step out of their comfort zone and adapt to different people and environments? In NYC alone, there are over 600 families who are homeschooling. With museum trips, science/history and math co-ops, zoo school, art, music and dance classes, cultural clubs and so on, there are opportunities to be in all sorts of environments, learning with a wide range of children. Also homeschooling does not imply that the kids never leave the house! The kids' days are quite varied...moreso than public school counterparts.
5. "The lack of formality also could give them the wrong impression of what normal expectations are in the real world. Because in reality, you have to wake up early, and get to work and answer to someone you may or may not like everyday. That's life. So having a super-gifted child is commendable and I'm glad your raising it well."
You assume there is a lack of formality, implying that there is no discipline and that's just not the case. My daughter has her responsibilities like cleaning her room. And when it's time for a lesson or class (and we try to do things the same time every day), she is totally focused on it because she knows what to expect. In the "real" world you talk about, not everyone has to wake up "early". I have a job that starts at 3:30 pm. Not everyone has a 9-5 job. There are many types of careers out there and they are not all defined by waking up early.
6. "super-gifted child"
Homeschooling parents don't necessarily want supergifted children. That's an unreasonable expectation for most children and I do not believe that is the goal of home schooling. The goal is to give their children a better learning experience in an environment where a child can flourish, without having to study for tests that must be passed in order for the school to maintain their federal funding.
I have a PhD in education and have worked professionally in the field of education as a teacher, a teacher educator and an educational consultant for a wide variety of educational initiatives. Should I be required to get a California teacher certification in order to home school my child?
Every home school story is different, and that is the idea. Our state government, via the schools, are failing more children than they are serving well. I choose to home school because of these failures. The last thing I want to do is waste my time and money learning to see (and teach) the world through their eyes.
If states are concerned about the content of the education offered by home school families, they should offer support not regulation.
The reason they should not require parents to be certified is because it wouldn't make a difference in homeschooling outcomes. For the last 20 years uncertified homeschooling parents have done a better job at keeping their students performing at grade level than certified schoolteachers have been able to do with their own students. Perhaps the brainwashing from the liberal institutions and teacher's unions is harming children rather than helping. I would want none of it in my home. I homeschool 4 children and my husband was homeschooled. I went to private school where I was taught by uncertified nuns.
First of all, you don't have to be smart about it..
Second of all, obviously you don't need certification to potty train a child. However, I do believe that there should be some type of protocol to follow when educating one's child. As technology, formulas, and general science are progressing, children need to have their education up to date as well. Having their parent as a teacher could be beneficial in some ways but ultimately, when the child grows up to live in the real world, they will horrified that they weren't taught the same things as the rest of their class. In addtion, children need to learn to step out of their comfort zone and learn to adapt to different people and environments. Being at home for school, chores, and play can be redundant and consequently does them no justice. The lack of formality also could give them the wrong impression of what normal expectations are in the real world. Because in reality, you have to wake up early, and get to work and answer to someone you may or may not like everyday. That's life. So having a super-gifted child is commendable and I'm glad your raising it well. However, certification as a homeschool educator is a wise choice in order to ensure the children to be well-suited for the real world.