My sincerest thanks to Susannah L. Griffee, Katherine Schulten, and the entire staff at the New York Times for publishing their Saturday article “Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?” In a follow-up piece to Margaret Heidenry’s “My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists,” the Times encouraged students 13 and older to comment on the following question:
Tell us about your experiences and thoughts about home-schooling. Do you think this type of education can prepare children for the “real world”? How might it be better than traditional schooling? What might children miss from not attending a regular school? Do you agree with the writer’s mother that working at one’s own pace and following one’s genuine interests is the best way to learn?
In publishing the comments, Ms. Griffee and Ms. Schulten clearly demonstrated why homeschooling must remain a freedom for all Americans. The results are both stunning and sad. I am sharing some of them here, unedited, as they appear on the NYT website. They speak for themselves.
AJ did not think “that home schooling is a good thing because it will not prepare a certain child for the world.” He did not tell us who the certain child is, so we are left to trust that there is one child who should remain in a public school. Leslie thought “homeschooling is dumb.” She continued, “I think homeschooling doesn’t prepare kids for the real world. they don’t learn how to socialize with other people. Some parents may sugar code the kids. So they might not know everything there suppose to know. no i do not agree.”“Sugar code” their kids?
The “real world” theme of criticism ran through mulitple comments. Kristen expressed her concerns that “homeschooling is ok but public schools are better because its almost like life you are going to have to deal with people that you dont like in life and school shows this at times.i dont think this could preper us for the real world because your not comunicatingi with people as much as you would at school.for most people it is a good learning activity” Kristen, learn how to write well. It is an important skill that you need for college and the work force. Your comment has so many errors, I’m thinking of making my homeschooled children correct it as a grammar exercise. If you believe that you do write well, your teachers are sugar coding your grades.
Brandon was “not in favor of home schooling. I think that it is important for a student to attend a regular school. This is because it will allow them to become more prepared for the real world. When you think about it, home schooling only encorages children to stay at home, instead of preparing them to leave. It gets them used to the comfortable living arangements at home more than usual.” He expressed his fears for the future of all homeschoolers when he wrote that “…if they do go outside, they have no personal confrontations with other children, so they will not easily develope speaking to other people, which means no friends, no girl/boyfriend, no husbands or wives, their lives would be pretty much empty.”
What a tragedy! All homeschooled children are condemned to a life of hermitude, living in their parent’s basements, passing the years playing Xbox and Wii, knowing that their lives would have had purpose and meaning if their parents had only sent them to a real school. Oh, the humanity!
I’m not certain where these kids think homeschoolers live, if not in the “real world.” Is there a secret “unreal world” in which all homeschoolers reside? If there is, I did not get the memo. Is there a secret handshake or password that I need to get inside? In fact, homeschoolers do live in the real world, and in doing so, we have to deal with the results of the average public school education as demonstrated in the comments section of the NYT article. Alas, I must take great comfort in the knowledge that my homeschooled children will grow up to run the company where these kids will sweep the floors.