I wrote a post a while back about the disrespect for the teaching profession that homeschooling implies. This was apparently thought to mean that having a teaching certificate is somehow important to teaching quality. I don’t think it is, particularly. I just think that when we make a big deal about it being irrelevant, we lower the status of teachers. One can train a layperson to do a lot things that require a professional license. A layperson can trained to do certain medical procedures at least as competently as a physician—especially a physician who doesn’t specialize in those procedures. Yet if the lay person actually performs them, s/he can be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. And if the person performs them badly, s/he might go to prison.
Not so the incompetent homeschooling parent. There are many extraordinarily competent homeschooling parents (who hoard their talents within a very limited circle). But, in part because of the religious right, there is increasingly less regulation of homeschooling. One does not have to be a high school graduate to homeschool. If you read the blogs of people who have left the fundamentalist Christian movement, you will hear some very interesting perspectives on the downsides of homeschooling. Here’s one I found particularly interesting:
My wife, Kristine sat on a homeschool board for a few years and witnessed the split of the homeschool group in that region of the country. What was the split over? Academics? Nope. Whether or not it was the right thing to require a statement of faith for a family to join the group. The “yea’s” won the day and the detractors had to leave. The detractors were a much smaller group and yet, when anything was to be done academically with tutors or extra classes taught by experts, it was this group that organized it. The “statement of faith” group was simply satisfied to have a sermon with a gym day.
That explains my view of academics in some homeschooling to a ‘t’. On a side note, my wife has gone back to school and has seen that her parents were miserable teachers. Miserable. Her writing competency was at the 6th grade level, as was her math.
What I find most interesting is that Kristine was sitting on this homeschool board because she was homeschooling her own children (she and her husband had six before they left the Christian Quiverfull movement). The kids now attend public school, but she was originally planning to homeschool them all the way through.
When I sent Rhino to urban public school, I brought our family’s resources into a system that needed them. When I homeschooled her, I contributed to making people like Kristine, Kristine’s parents, and the thousands of people like them able to deprive their kids of a meaningful education. In Jesus’s name.
End of sermon (sort of—part 3 is coming soon).