The first question that I would like to ask Nicholas Byron Hall, a student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, is whether or not he has observed a successful homeschool in operation. If the answer is “no,” I respectfully encourage this young man to return to his philosophical studies (he’s a political science major, too) and leave the subject of home education to people who know what they are talking about. Specifically, that would be homeschoolers. I suspect that the answer to my question is “no,” since his article “What are the disadvantages of homeschooling?” published on Helium.com offers absolutely no evidence for his critical view of home education, contrary to the statement in his biography that his "claims are well-supported by available evidence in accordance with philosophical and scientific standards." His only qualification appears to be his job as a “Channel Manager of Social Values & Norms.”
Do people really get paid for that?
Mr. Hall manages things. “I suggest titles, monitor quality, encourage new writers, and perform other tasks. If you need assistance with something, let me know,” he wrote.
I need assistance, Mr. Hall. I need help stopping my head from exploding after reading your highly qualified essay. Do not misunderstand me. Mr. Hall is not highly qualified to write about homeschooling, but he appears to be incapable of writing a statement without qualifiers. “Homeschooling can come with a variety of disadvantages.” He countered that with the observation that “homeschooling may come with advantages.” Later in his essay he wrote that “this makes it appear that perhaps homeschooling is the best option,” before continuing his criticisms. These quotes highlight another problem with Mr. Hall’s anti-homeschooling opinion – he’s all over the map.
Mr. Hall, take a stand. Pick a side of the argument and argue for it using strong, bold statements. Allow me to provide you with an example.
Mr. Hall, you are wrong!
You were wrong when you wrote that “Parents are rarely qualified to teach their children; sorry, it's true.” If parents are not qualified to teach their children basic reading, writing, and arithmetic then the entire public schooling system should be scrapped. A person with the IQ of a melon should be able to teach ABC, 123; red, green and blue, and how to glue, to a kindergartener. Anyone with a high school diploma should be able to teach a child basic grammar school curriculum through the third grade. Parents with a college diploma should be well qualified to teach a variety of subjects to their children. Have you paged through a curriculum guide lately? Home education isn’t that hard!
Mr. Hall was wrong when he argued that “the best education, in theory, would be under someone specifically trained to educate students.” The best person to educate my children is the person who knows and understands my children, knows and understands how my children think, has my children’s best interests at heart, and creates an educational experience that serves my children’s needs. There are thousands of excellent, well educated and well trained teachers operating in classrooms across America, but no one is better suited to meet the criteria for teaching my children than I am. Those teachers are casting an educational net over a classroom of twenty or more children and hoping to capture most of them. I have my sights set on a more manageable number.
As for the argument that when people “opt out of a corrupt system rather than work together to change it, these and other [“poor”] children suffer,” I must tell you that I will not offer my children’s education as a sacrifice for some communal good. I will not allow my children to toil away in a substandard educational system and hope that along the way while we all try to fix the problems that they will learn enough to succeed later on in life. I will provide my children with the best education that I can possibly offer them. They will be far healthier, happier people, and better citizens, if I give them a solid educational foundation.
Finally, Mr. Hall, if “public education puts kids of multiple backgrounds together, and they challenge the values that their peers have,” then I will not put my children in a public educational system until I have trained them to defend their values and withstand the peer pressure brought on by their classmates. I would be a negligent parent if I allowed society to shape my children’s values. Should their values be shaped by children who value drug use? Should their values be shaped by children who value pornography? Swearing? Violence? Theft? Will your desire to see my family’s values challenged be satisfied when my son contracts HIV from little Susie Hottotrot after she gives him a diverse educational experience underneath the bleachers at school? Mr. Hall, when you wrote that you wanted children put together so that they are exposed to other values what you really meant was that you want my children exposed to your values. You want to challenge my family values through my children in your preferred educational setting. You’ll have plenty of time to challenge their values when they are older, have graduated, and started their own lives.
Until then, hands off!