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April 22, 2008

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Mr. Lessenberry: As one of the first generations to experience contemporary homeschooling, (my parents took me out of grade school in 1984) I am disturbed by the singular categorization you seem to create for homeschoolers. Many homeschool families are involved in homeschooling groups (which provide social interaction for the children) and demonstrate the diverse collection of educational and religious philosophies that influence parents' choice to homeschool. Yes, there are those who "unschool" (no set curriculum or academic goals), and parents who teach without appropriate educations, but the variety of reasons that influence why parents choose to homeschool also contributes to the diversity of experiences different students have while learning at home.

I agree that local schools should know which children are being homeschooled in their district. But it's too simplistic to say that one solution is for parents to get involved in the local school system. The reason my parents looked into homeschooling in the first place was because the local school system would not let either of them, professional educators, have a voice in my educational experience.

I challenge you to find ten different homeschooling families. Talk to the children and parents. Then tell us if you still think it's more socially deconstructive than internet porn.

Okay Mr. Lessenberry, I tend to agree with you on most issues. But not this time. Based upon your essay, I'm thinking that that you have had personal experience with public schools, and none with homeschooling. I'd suggest that you investigate homeschooling a bit more, instead of simply imagining what goes on in the homes of homeschoolers. (For instance, we are not all a bunch of right-wing wingnuts). I think you'd discover that many homeschooled children are deeply engaged socially, and not simply with their peer groups, which is what public school "socialization" tends to emphasize. My children and I spend time with their peers, but on a weekly basis, they also spend time with the elderly, with toddlers, and with older children. We get out in the world--we aren't holed up at home! In my book, this is a much better model for socialization than public school. How many of us move in the exclusive society of same-age peers, once we've left school?

Our family tried public schools, and found they didn't work for us. I don't think that the problems with public schools are fixable, given Michigan's economy and our current definition of public education. In my opinion, we need smaller class sizes, more personalized attention for the students, and less attention to standarized tests. And how about some more infusion of the joy of learning in the classroom? If that's asking a lot of the public schools, well, maybe more of our children should be homeschooled. Because that's easily possible at home. Even in our well-funded, middle-class rural public school, it was all drill, drill, drill, crowd-management, group discipline, homework, homework, homework. It's no wonder that few--if any--publicly schooled children are enthusiastic about school. My children, on the other hand, are not prejudiced against learning, and they LOVE it. I know (because I've had them tested, by a public school teacher) that my children perform well above grade level in reading, science, and social studies, and a bit about grade level in mathematics.

I don't know if you have children yourself, but I can promise you that the homeschooling parents I know are NOT lazy nor are we shirking our civic responsibilities. If we wanted the easy way out, we would send them to public school for the free childcare. It would be refreshing if you, and our state government, supported those of us parents who are engaged with our children's learning experiences, and embraced a diversity of learning models for Michigan's youth, instead of trying to impose some nineteenth-century, proto-militaristic model of public school learning on every last one of us.

Wow...just...wow. That was probably the most uninformed, one-sided, hack job that I've ever heard on home education. I'd love to hear some of Jack's ideas for "firmly regulating" home schooling. Prescibing a curriculum? That would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? Let me guess, if the state comes up with a curriculum for me to teach to my children, it's probably going to bear some resemblance to the same curriculum taught in the local public school, right? Why endure the tremendous stress and financial hardship of home schooling if I wanted to feed them the same old stuff that they can get for "free" at school?

And Jack, good luck fixing our broken public schools. I'd argue that they are functioning exactly as designed, as a reaction to the industrial revolution. The demand for "human resources" is what gave rise to the factory model of education, and comments like yours just betray the fact that you've swallowed that philosophy hook, line, and sinker. Common sense tells us that the tutorial model of education is vastly more effective than the factory model. Even when being taught by an uncertified teacher. (Hard to imagine, I know...teacher certification has led to such spectacular results thus far.)

You say,

"More and more, we are evolving into a place where two kids the same age have wildly different educational experiences."

Imagine that! Two kids, the same age, being taught different things! Having different educational experiences. Someone call social services. But seriously, did you read that back to see how it sounded? Maybe, in a follow up essay, you can describe the one "right" education experience.

I'll admit, when I started home schooling my kids, I was just hoping that I wouldn't screw up; that they'd turn out normal, just like other kids. But, the more I learn about home schooling, the more I see that "normal" is the last thing I want for my kids. Normal is so lame. We can do so much better.

I've written too much already, because I know this is falling on deaf ears, but the scary thing is that you will be taken seriously by the majority of your listeners. My advice is to leave home schoolers alone...after all, we'll need creative, independent, morally upstanding leaders to solve the educational crisis in this state/country.

Regards,

Mr. Lessenberry,

I agree with the thoughtful and well phrased responses to your essay so far. My contemporaries have said much of what I wanted to say. So instead I pose this question:
Why am I considered unqualified? I attended public elementary and high school. I then attended a public state university where I was awarded a bachelor's degree. The state's institutions saw fit to decree me "educated". Why now am I underqualified to teach my own children? Your analogy of home doctoring falls short, since I have not been educated in medicine. But I received 16 years of what the state had to offer in Science, Literature, Grammar, Mathematics and so forth. Was my education not complete enough to then, in turn, pass on my knowledge? If indeed I am unqualified, why would I send my children to the same failing institution?
Of course, we both know none of those things are true. What really is at stake here is conformity vs individuality. I think Mr. Washington would shudder if he knew you have envoked his name to support your arguement. An arguement that claims only well regulated, strictly controlled masses are to be tolerated.

Ms Kelle, I did not say you are unqualified. however, you spelled both invoked and argument wrong, and have inadvertently helped prove my point

May I ask, to which point do you refer ? While I believe my public education was adequate perhaps my dependence on a computer literate society has weakened my ability to use type pad without spell-check.

I would argue that the only point your criticism reveals is that your prefer not to address the content of the question I posed.

What I do appreciate that you have called my attention the tone of this debate. May my humble mistakes remind me, that the well intended have often made mistakes when criticizing something unfamiliar.

Jack,
In so many cases I completely agree with your thoughts, but I must echo the statements of those above when I say that today's essay was completely one sided and unjust. Have you considered the following: Many people homeschool in order to allow a religious aspect in their education, something which is prohibited in the constitution. Do you wish to stomp on the right of freedom of religion for those who choose this option? Most private religious schools are very expensive, homeschooling is an excellent alternative. Second, a student to teach ratio of 1:1 or maybe 1:4 beats public school any day. We home schooled our children until their freshman year of highschool, and surpased all public school benchmarks with only 3 hours of "lessons" each day. Also, as stated above, socialization is much more rounded out side of school, where interactions include more than just the 25 agemates in your home room.

As an example of the many ways that the vast majority of hometeachers teach, when our oldest reached a point where we were unable to teach science to the appropriate level, we inlisted the help of a college professor, who then tought my 12 year old and a few others using a freshman (college freshman) biology text.

My children are now in an excellent public school and get strait A's. Further, they are leaders in their classes, well liked by fellow students and teachers alike. Further, their educational background upon entering public school was commended by their teachers.

While my spelling may not be perfect (as a product of the public school system and 4 years of college), I at least know enough to do my background research.

I do not see the harm in knowing where the children are. Our local school knew about our kids the whole time. They were, in fact, entitled to take courses and play sports in our local school. However, when has the state done anything better than an individual, unless it concerns the masses?

Jack, you should have at least spoken to some public school teachers, or met some homeschooled kids, before penning your article. I understand you are a commentator, not a reporter, but sloppy work is sloppy work.

I sleep with a public school teacher, every night, and have for 31 years. I remain convinced that, if anything, I was too kind to the homeschoolers.

I went to public schools. However, I think homeschooling would definitely be a more efficient use of a student's time. If a person were to break down how much of a day at public school actually involves learning, the material learned could be done much faster at home. Plus, take out summer vacations, and a student could get the learning done YEARS sooner. I would have rather spent my adolescence traveling or starting college earlier.

Bottom line: If you have parents competent to teach and children who are very bright, independent learners, this could be a very viable solution.

Public schools bored me. The pace was too slow. There wasn't enough variety of information taught either. I would have rather studied the basic material 3 hours or so a day and read classic novels the rest of the day.

Jack, Jack, Jack,

Your wife is a teacher. Well, if you haven't just admitted to a complete and one sided bias, than I guess I've never seen one.

It's a shame when a person you previously believed to be well informed, experienced and wise turns out to be a narrow minded, uninformed public radio version of Rush Linbaugh.

Find an example Jack, one homeschooled child who failed in life or didn't impress others. Now, find examples of failed public schoolers. Let's look at the leaders of Enron, of corrupt politicians, and on and on.

Hold your breath and stomp your feet if you like Jack. In this case, you are wrong.

[I had a big long post with a point-by-point rebuttal ready to go on this essay on homeschooling by Jack Lessenberry...]

P.S. When making spelling mistakes a focus of a comment it's best to make sure your punctuation and capitalization is correct.

For once Jack and I agree!!!! homeschoolers are a bunch of myopic self centered types more often they exhibit a hate for diversity and anything that does not reflect thier conservative propaganda. Most of them are isolationist folks with some religious agenda. Thier kids suffer from thier propaganda...

They often remind of people who were against the civil rights laws of our country, yet they are now screaming for thier rights. Many supported Prop 2 in our state as with most hypocrites now they want rights..

I have zero faith in the quality of this backward approach to education . I have little regard for the the values of those who engaged in this dumbing down of America. In every study I have read about the profile of home school types they are against progressive social ideas and many are down right nuts and I do not mean peanuts..

"a bunch of myopic self centered types more often they exhibit a hate for diversity and anything that does not reflect thier conservative propaganda."

Got ignorance?

"they exhibit a hate for diversity"

Er, you actually don't agree with Jack. See, one of his claims is that homeschooling is, "a prescription for eventually losing our identity as a people and a nation." He's after a population that's not fundamentally diverse.

If by agreement with Jack you mean unfounded assertions though...Then I think you may have a point.

I agree with pretty much everything the other commenters have said, but I'll add this:

You wrote, "More and more, we are evolving into a place where two kids the same age have wildly different educational experiences."

How is this not true already? Do you really believe that the kid who goes to an overcrowded inner city public school is getting the same education as the kid who went to 12-student-per-class private Montessori school? Even in among middle class, suburban public schools, states have such divergent certification requirements for their teachers that it's completely ridiculous to make any kind of claim about some perceived standard of education that you think we're moving away from.

In your argument against homeschool science you also wrote, "Schools have facilities and laboratories nearly impossible to duplicate at home."

No. My high school, which was pretty decent, didn't have the budget for a lot of science equipment. With the exception of the school-provided ancient microscopes (not that expensive on eBay or wherever), we brought all the materials we needed for labs: glassware, chemicals from the hardware and drug stores, random groceries, rubber gloves, etc. All of the experiments we did in school could have been replicated at home with minimal cost or effort.

You're obviously looking at the issue from a very narrow and privileged perspective.

As I said, many of the public schools need a lot of help, and money, and we should do so.

I went to a rather inferior public school. My parents were poorly educated, and did not have money.

Shame on you Jack!!
I was very disappointed when I listened to your essay.
May I suggest you read John Holt and John Taylor Gatto to gain some insight about education and children.
There are many reasons why a family decides to home school. I think the main reason is because they feel it is the best thing for their family to do. Everyone should have the right to make their own decision about what is right for their own family without the state breathing down their necks and making them jump through hoops. We do live in America, the home of the free.
Looking at the state of affairs our state and country are in, I really do not trust their judgment to tell me what I should and should not be teaching my children.
Before you judge all home schoolers about how and why they home school it might be a good idea to interview some people who home school and ask them some questions. Gain some knowlwge about a subject that you really know nothing about.
I am a liberal, open minded and secular person. I teach my children not to judge others because they are different. It is people's differences that make this world so interesting. We socialize with many people of all ages. My kids have never been to school yet can read and write. They can tell you where all of the United States are and probably teach you a lot about animals that you did not know. They still have a lot of things to learn but then again don't we all? Learning is life long and hopefully never ending.
Yes Mr Lessenberry, sometimes they do run around wild but isn't that is what a child is supposed to do?

I would suggest Jack actually, I don't, research a topic before writing about it. But then, I guess he's merely doing what he was taught to do in school. Thanks for being a shining example of why I will home school my sons. I intend them to be able to look at all the facts, research what they are learning about, and make an educated decision within reality. Clearly something poor Jack is not able to do.

Perhaps you should read just how ignorant you actually sound. http://docsdomain.net/blog/?p=756

Jack, I'm paying property taxes to pay for public schools. I'm supporting them in exactly the same amounts as my neighbors who send their children to public school, and my neighbors who don't have children. I pay for my children's education in addition to supporting the public school - what more do you want? Should I write them a check too? Be reasonable. Public schools are not designed or managed in such a way as to have a legion of parents in the classroom "helping" - so money is the alternative. Better yet, please give me a logical explanation of how I'm supposed to support my local school district, which by the way, is currently housed in portable trailers with no extra curricular or supplemental classes (including computers) because the buildings themselves were destroyed in a recent flood and there's no money to replace them. Are you convinced that my local schools can or do provide a better education than I do/did at home? Please outline all the ways you support your local school as an example. As for technology and lab supplies, I can give you a list of several suppliers of home lab equipment that would put any classroom to shame. As long as I'm paying for it, my children's education is none of your concern. The public school system is accountable to the PUBLIC for its dismal performance - it isn't the other way around. Throwing more money at a broken system isn't going to fix it. You're sleeping with a public school teacher? Big deal. I used to sleep with an investment broker - it doesn't make me qualified to manage your 401K. Read my blog entry, Jack, since I did the research you failed to do. Homeschooled students out perform their public school counterparts in every single subject, at every single assessment age, and it doesn't matter if those students are in a state with a ton of regulations or in a state like Michigan, that has none.

Google, Jack, it's part of the 21st century - just like diversity.

Mr. Lessenberry,

I am a former teacher, and a home-schooler. You're assessment of homeschooling is uninformed. In Michigan, Home-Schooled children typically out perform public school pupils in most subject areas.

My home schooled son is more adept at using 21st Century Technology than his public school peers...he built his computers. He plays the guitar...he assists in teaching an after school martial arts class at the local middle school.

At twelve years old he is reading at a college level and is engaged a wider variety of educational activities than any of his public school peers. Socially he is able to relate with the same ease and comfort with adults as he does those closer to his own age. He has had much wider exposure to different social groups and more diverse ideas and ideologies than his friends who attend public school.

What he is being deprived of is the herd mentality of the public school "peer group" culture. A culture that penalizes independent thought, and creates an expectation of conformity to arbitrary and often pathological behavioral patterns. I respect public school teachers, but from my own observations and experience I know that teachers and administrators have little influence on "peer groups" in the modern public school environment.

If the goal of education is to create an educated population then home-schooling is proven to be a better option. Not based anecdotal quotes from school administrators and teachers...but from testing data compiled from around the country. If, on the other hand if you believe the goal of education is to manufacture a trained and compliant workforce, who will do what they are told without question, then your criticisms of home-schooling are indeed valid.

Respectfully,

Michael F. Iott
784 Michigan Street
Eaton Rapids, Mi 48827
517-663-7354

Homeschool types are like a cult, they have little capacity to respect the opinons of others...

They are on a mission to indoctrinate minors who lacked the protection of the state to secure thier rights..

Homeschoolers are a lethal aggregate of myopic people who according to the data and research reject social and progressive ideas...

They remind me of rednecks during our country's aparthied era/jim crow era they fled from public schools when thier fellow americans of a darker hue sought entry...

The truth about these backward people is that they harm thier children and they create a entire aggregate of more ignorant people that must be reeducated for our country to reach it's ideals..

Thrasher,

Please pretend to hide your cowardice by posting your name or credentials. As a homeschool father, I would be willing to engage you in a discourse. I doubt, however, that you can muster the courage.

I need not respond to Mr. Lessenberry. His poor work speaks for itself, but he is willing to engage in a critical dialogue (or rather read and belittle critical communication while refusing to address the deficiencies in his work- maybe just a little tired- sort of like dialogue).

Daniel Segura, Michigan (there's only one so you can google it for more info).

Wow. Must be very freeing to be able to express your opinion without letting those pesky "facts" get in the way.
Sorry, but you don't know "jack" about homeschooling, and should really have done your homework. Oh, that's right! You were publicly schooled. No wonder.

These are just a few people that have been homeschooled throughout history:

* Frank Vandiver, retired president of Texas A&M University
* Thomas Edison, United States, scientist and inventor
* Andrew Wyeth, United States, Artist
* Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, France, physicist
* Charles Evans Hughes, United States, Governor of New York, United States Secretary of State, and Chief Justice of the United States
* Chad Kennedy, United States, publisher and editor-in-chief of Teen Scene Magazine
* Ruth Lawrence, Israel/United Kingdom/United States, mathematician
* Bode Miller, United States, champion skier
* Evelyn De Morgan, United Kingdom, artist
* Clara Muhammad, United States, Nation of Islam leader
* Frankie Muniz, United States, Actor
* Chauntelle, Sherri, Weston, Stacy and Garron DuPree, United States, musicians
* Christopher Paolini, United States, author- And he was only 15 when his first book was written
* Rosa Parks, United States, civil rights activist
* Susan La Flesche Picotte, United States, first American Indian woman physician
* John T. Plecnik, United States, syndicated columnist
* Emerson Spartz, United States, internet entrepreneur
* Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Russia, rocket scientist and pioneer of cosmonautics
* Roman Vishniac, Russia/United States, photographer, biologist, and polyglot
* Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Poland, author and artist
* Sho Yano, United States, child prodigy
* Woodrow Wilson, United States, the only United States President to hold a Ph.D.
* Albert Einsein, scientist

So if homeschoolers are such a "backwards, redneck cult" what about these people?
Were they backwards? Were they redneck?

And if what you are saying, is that all of our children should be put into an institutionalized school setting so that the government can produce a superior, more educated race, then why hasn't it happened? There have been many many years of opportunity to "fix" the system. It just seems to get worst.
In all of the budget cuts, what comes first??? EDUCATION


So while I do pay taxes that go to my local public school I will carry the extra financial burden to educate my children at home. I know where they are and who they are with. I don't have the concern of them being bullied,molested, abused or plotting to blow up a school. I don't have to worry about them being a victim of a shooting or stabbing because of a classmate. I know that my children know appropriate behavior in public and with other people, because they were taught by responsible adults, not children their age that have just as much clue as they do about socialization.
You see, homeschooling isn't just about education, it is about life lessons, it is about dealing and adapting to the ever changing world. Most homeschoolers spend hours upon hours making sure that their child is well rounded in all areas.
Not to mention, many of us give our children opportunities that most public school children will never have.
My children are able to touch history, they have been to NASA and actually sat in a space shuttle, they have touched history at Williamsburg, they have been to the Smithsonian, the White House,the National Archives and the Library of Congress. They have been to the Aerospace Museum. They have been able to travel along the Trail of Tears that our ancestors had to endure. They have been able see and experience many other great things in this country. All because of the fact that we homeschool. That is just when we travel, that isn't including what they do and are involved with locally here at home.
We are able to study different cultures and religions without the worry about someone else getting offended.
If my children were to go to public school, they would not have these chances. They would be locked in a classroom for 7-8 hours a day learning out of books. There would be no chance for them to be a part of the world.

Thrasher,

You're post illustrates my point. Creating mindless stereotypic caricatures of those you don't understand is the fruit of being formed by a mob mentality. A "peer group".

My son is biracial and I pulled him out of Public School because he was being stereotyped and pigeonholed by folks just like you. He was adopted out of an abusive home so I've been vetted by the State pretty heavily. I run from no one. I hide from no one.

What is the "data and research" to which you refer? They certainly missed me and most of the home school parents I know. Lot's of hyperbole and no real facts...

Not so respectfully,

Michael F. Iott
784 Michigan Street
Eaton Rapids, MI 48827
517 663 7354

It's funny that you say that parents should take a more active role in their kids education. The break down in communication between myself and the school is exactly what drove me to my decision to home school my kids over 3 years ago. I cried and agonized over the decision for several months before finally saying enough is enough. I was scared out of my wits and worried beyond comfort about things such as if I could actually do it and the socialization thing. Why? Because like you I went to public school and the only thing I knew of home schooling was the stereotypes.

Here I am over 3 years later and know without a doubt in my mind that I made the right decision. That socialization worry is completely absurd and if I think to hard about how much I worried about it I go into fits of laughter.

I could sit here all day and give you example after example of things my kids do and how advanced they are in comparison to their peers. But why? You would not understand it because you have never held the sole responsibility of raising a future adult in your hands and so you would never understand. Even public school teachers with the best intentions can not say this since each year they wash their hands clean of the less than apt students and the burden then passes to another teacher.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word "socialize" as this:
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.

Please let me clarify. Though I want my kids to be able to get along with people and respect people, I NEVER want my kids to do ANY of these things. I want them to grow into themselves free from fads and peer pressure and with a mind set that who they are is ok and they don't have to adapt for ANYONE. When my kids adapt to something or someone it will be because it feels to them like a good thing and not because society, a husband, a wife, etc. makes them feel they have to do it.

Do I expect you to understand this? No. And I am ok with that. I just want you to understand that I know where you are because I was there just over 3 years ago. I wish though that you would just try to think outside your box. It really is beautiful out here.

Mr. Lessenberry,

You may want to peruse these statistics from a compilation of different studies: tinyurl.com/2e4oje.

Here's an excerpt:

"In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released.... The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. "

Also at this page, you will read that the gender- and race-based achievement gaps existing in public schools are almost nonexistent among homeschoolers.

You will find that homeschoolers' achievement is unrelated to the amount of money spent on education yearly, whether either parent has a teaching certificate, and the degree of state regulation of homeschooling. (Note this last bit.)

Among homeschoolers, test scores are not even much related to the parents' level of education, as this page illustrates: tinyurl.com/mgavd (pdf). The maximum difference in test scores between kids from less-educated and highly educated parents is only 8 percentile points.

You will also find, at this page: tinyurl.com/3m8jws, that homeschooled students fare better after graduation. They attain higher levels of education, are more likely to vote, and participate more in their communities.

Of course, the charitable foundations which now fund much of public radio are run by the same aristocratic families who designed the public schools, particularly from 1890-1920 or thereabouts. I speak of Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford, among others. These coal, oil, and industry men wanted passive and obedient factory workers who did not think for themselves. Lest you doubt their enormous influence, Rockefeller and Carnegie alone contributed more money to public schooling in the US than the US government did, for a period of about 20 years near the turn of the century. Schools as we know them today are the product of a rather fascist industrial mindset (inspired, originally, by the Prussians).

Dedicated teachers do, to varying degrees and always in spite of the system, manage to educate students. But the tide is very much against them, and the teacher to student ratio is absolutely absurd in the elementary grades. Your wife may fight in the trenches, but many an excellent teacher-- John Taylor Gatto has been mentioned here before-- feel they do more good questioning this system from the outside.

By the way, and quite ironically, one of the major reasons I homeschool my 7-year-old daughter is because her interest in science is insatiable, while science is essentially ignored for the early years of public schooling. Too bad you couldn't hear her talking about molecules or fish evolution prior to writing your piece. One anecdote (courtesy the Hillsdale guy) deserves another, no?

I agree wholeheartedly with your statement: "But the solution for bad public schools is to fix them." Yes, but that would take money. And brains. And my daughters shouldn't have to attend bad schools while the "education professionals" are figuring out how to fix them. In fact, the most recent "fixes" seem to have made matters worse. Much, much worse. Have you seen the sort of pointless drill that now passes for mathematics education?

My son is a junior in public high school. The student handbook detailing "rules of conduct" is fully a quarter of an inch thick, thicker than the pamphlet of course offerings. The administration seems quite concerned because his hair is a fraction of an inch too long for the dress code, which dictates that his eyebrows must be visible. The fact that any kid can buy pot on the school grounds seems to have escaped their attention.

"Mom and Dad need to take part in homeschooling every night. They need to take a vigorous part in their kids’ homework." You mean, they need to force the children to do more of what they were supposedly doing all day? Are public schools so inefficient that the kids haven't been sufficiently educated unless their evenings are also devoted to formal education? (Under the supervision of people who aren't certified teachers, too. Oh, dear.) When ARE the kids going to be "socialized", then? Or are we leaving that job to their pot-selling peers in public school?

One final (ironic) howler from one of your supporters:
"The truth about these backward people is that they harm thier children and they create a entire aggregate of more ignorant people that must be reeducated for our country to reach it's ideals.."

Let's see: "their" misspelled, "a entire" rather than "an entire", "it's" (the contraction for "it is") in place of "its"... and this person presumes to tell me that my kids are going to have to be "reeducated"? These errors bolster my argument that I shouldn't have to send my kids to bad public schools. We'll join the aggregate (or perhaps accretion) of ignoramuses, thank you.

You're not big on critical thinking, eh thrasher?

Daniel Segura & Michael Lott,

I fear no man and I hide from no one.. I am the most published activist in this region in the past 25 years. My name is Greg Thrasher and you can google me and read some of my body of work...

My commentary is based upon emperical data and my life experiences including working in the public and private educational systems and districts in the state.

I remain unimpressed with the educational representations of those who promote homeschooling. I will always combat myopic , groups of people who reject inclusion and equality in our country. The profile of homeschoolers is not a group of people who affirm my principles and ideals.

Please feel free to contact me anytime c/o [email protected] for more of the same..

Dawn,

Yes I am big on a number of issues and concerns. I am amused when people seek to defeat my logic by attacking my spelling in a chat forum as if that denotes anything.

I take the posture that people who are obessed with form over substance are indeed shallow thinkers... I do not operate in those margins on the sidelines.

I never concerning myself with trival matters like syntax, grammar, spelling in a chat /blog forum. I am a macro thinker who is concerned with substantive matters and policy issues. I have the capacity to communicate with the ignorant to the genius .

I leave the immaterial nonsense to the immaterial people who toil in that field..BTW how is my spelling??...lol,lol,lol

Jack,

I have a question for you: Why is it that with all the comments left here, the responses you've given relate to typos and to your own credentials to speak to the issue (which quite frankly aren't all that impressive)? Why have you not dealt with the substance of the comments posted here?

You see, throwing more money at a broken school system isn't going to fix it. The schools in our state get well over $6000 per student per year, and still can't educate their kids; I spend about $1000 per year for two students, and my kids are far ahead of most public schooled students both academically and socially. And that's the norm for homeschooled kids - they are far better off than most public-schooled kids in all areas, including academic, social, and emotional.

So some homeschooled kids might need some make-up work in science. They can take some classes or do some reading and take care of that kind of deficiency. At least my kids can read well, write well, and do math; they can find Alaska on a map (even though they've never been there); they can identify the Vice-President of the United States; they have a solid understanding of history, including not only what happened but why; they know how to learn and actually WANT to continue doing it; they can relate well to other people who don't live in the same neighborhood with them, as well as to older people and to children. I don't mean to say that science deficiencies are OK - science is a critically important part of our homeschool curriculum, and my own kids will not get to college deficient in science education; but there's more to life than any one academic subject, and my kids' ability and desire to learn mean that if they should have any academic deficiencies, they will be able to make those up fairly easily.

So where's your answer to the substance of these comments? How do you justify advocating that the current education system, which even you admit doesn't do a very good job of educating the children it does have, should regulate and control and prescribe the education of homeschooled kids?

Thrasher,
The fact that you call yourself a "macro thinker" is hilarious! Seriously, step outside your "micro" box and take a good hard look at the judgements you are passing over a VERY broad group of people. You are the one who is appearing shallow and myopic.... But, it's nice to see the only person who actually agrees with this nonsense has your mentality. I will fear the wrath of closed minds when those minds actually come up with something of substance...until then, thanks for the laugh.

Daniel & Michael and any other proud homeschoolers please fell free to contact me anytime. I am the most published social essayist in this region for the past 2o years. I am listed in the phone book and I fear no man, creature, or cult or any underdeveloped educational propaganda.

I live in one of the whitest cities in our state and I am the only Black family in my neighborhood so no I have no problem with expressing my opinions.

My knowledge of homeschoolers is based upon my work in both private and public educational sectors. My views are based upon emperical knowledge and real life experiences with both students and parents invloved in homeschools.

I remain unimpressed and with the academic outcomes and the social demeanor of both the students and parents of homeschooling. I will always reject myopic backward cultural paradigms than have contempt for me as a person of color. I will always reject ideas which seek to take funds away from the public education.

I reject all forms of 'faith base' partnerships between religions and our goverment except when such funding deflects funds that would go to our defense department..

My email is [email protected] if any of you have the courage to make a difference..I do..

It is no great surprise that when Mr. Lessenberry perceives a problem, he calls for increased government regulation as the solution. At Hillsdale College, we refuse all federal and state government support, and annually produce hundreds of high-quality graduates, approximately ten percent of whom were homeschooled prior to matriculating.

The Detroit Free Press article (which Mr. Lessenberry calls “recent”) quoting our honors program director was published over six years ago. It substantively misrepresented his sentiments then, and today, two of this gentleman’s children are being home-schooled. Mr. Lessenberry doesn’t mention that the article also quoted this professor as saying that homeschoolers have “typically done a lot more in English and history than other students come in with. They tend to be better writers.”

Rather than relying on one anecdotal comment quoted out of context over six years ago, I asked our admissions office to compare last year’s ACT science scores of homeschooled students with their conventionally-educated counterparts. The homeschoolers averaged in the 85th percentile on the science portion of the test, scoring one point below the average of all admitted students. Their scores in non-science areas were generally superior to the conventionally schooled students, and by a much greater margin than the alleged “deficiency” that Mr. Lessenberry suggests would warrant an enormous intrusion into the lives of homeschooling families.

All in all, our experience is that homeschooling is not only more cost effective but can produce results comparable to or better than private, parochial or public schools. For those interested in academic studies, there is a vast amount of literature available to the public supporting this conclusion.

Chris Bachelder
Associate Vice President
Hillsdale College

Funny. The only thing I come up with when I googled the name Greg Thrasher is a kid who plays football. Maybe you're not as recognized as you think you are. Besides, anybody can write. Even Miley Cyrus is writing a memoir so being published means exactly what? That you are 1 in millions? lol lol. Ohhh, I just remembered....I am published as well. Poetry when I was in 5th grade. Do I win a prize and should that make me as arrogant as you? *snicker*

I see you equate home schooling with racism. You assume that only white people homeschool? lol lol. I live in Atlanta, GA and can assure you that this is NOT one of the "whitest cities" in the COUNTRY. Perhaps your contempt of where you live has left you a bit myopic and clouded your ability to see the world in anything other than black and white? I see people from all races and religions that home school their children seeing as I do happen to live in a very diverse city. I respect them each and every single one.

Exactly what is this "courage" you keep claiming to have? Forming opinions and writing about them does not make you courageous. Opinionated? Yes. But then we all know what opinions can be compared to...after all, we all have them.

Perhaps I will store your information though. If the need ever arises and I need someone to instruct my kids in cynacism, racism, arrogance, and bitterness....you would be PERFECT to do the job.

Concerning Mr Lessenberry's statement that "Hillsdale’s honors program director recently told the Detroit Free Press that the home schooled children he sees are typically badly deficient in science education" -- I am the Director of Hillsdale's Honors Program and have served in that capacity for five years now. Never have I spoken to Mr Lessenberry nor to the Free Press about any topic. The comments attributed to my position do not represent my observations of home schooled students, whose performance in the Hillsdale College Honors Program is in my experience regularly excellent. I doubt that the remarks to which Mr Lessenberry refers can be attributed to any predecessor of mine in this position without distortion either. But at the very least I can attest to the utter inaccuracy of their referring to anything "recently told" to this columnist. In my own view, home schooled students are welcome and typically very well prepared for the rigors of Hillsdale College’s education.
/Professor Donald Westblade
Director, Hillsdale College Honors Program

For the record I had an opportunity to listen and learn from the vantage point of a homeschooler Daniel Segura..

I respect his opinion and his dedication and reasons for homeschooling.

I also respect my own views with regard to the social and racial aspect of those in homeschooling..

I will of course keep an open mind and if data supports the premise that academic outcomes of homeschoolers have merit and substance then they will have a new advocate...

I will not endorse any movement that at it's core is adverse to people of color...that is one area where homeschoolers really need to evolve..

@ MTN Mama,

Again I am the most published social essayist in this region the past 25 years before the google ever existed and even with the google many publications and writings are deleted as a matter of course..

Please feel free and have the courage to contact me and I will of course provide you some of my body of work... BTW I would love to be a mentor to you and your kids.. I operate out of passion not anger, bitterness, arrogance, all of those states of being are not a part of my cultural or personal DNA..

@ Thrasher...

Dear, if I wanted someone like you as a mentor to my children then they would be enrolled in public school...

And no, I won't be "courageous" (*snicker*) and contact you. If your writing is anything like I have seen here...arrogance, blah, blah, blah, racist, blah, blah, blah, close minded, blah, blah, blah, judgemental drival then really I don't see what you have to offer me.

Passion comes from loving something. I have seen a lot of passion in these comments. The only thing I have seen in yours is weakness.

Jack, I am a public school teacher and have been for the last thirteen years. I've taught in diverse areas of the country and in schools ranging from an inner-city, low-income school to a thriving and successful magnet.

You could say that I've slept with a public school teacher for years -- not quite as long as your 31 years of (presumably) connubial bliss, but decently long all the same.

I'm also a homeschooler.

My years of teaching did little to prepare me for homeschooling -- just as my years of preparation in my university's education program did little to prepare me for teaching school.

Far too often, teachers are woefully un- or under-prepared to educate children effectively, and my experience in education has confirmed this time and again. The 1983 report "A Nation at Risk," whose results have changed little since its publication, pointed out that a substantial number of teachers score in the lowest quartile on measurements such as the Praxis and SAT tests. Adding insult to injury, most teachers do not major in a content-area subject such as English, history, science, or math. Instead, they major in education.

We are educating our child at home because we make little money (teacher's salary, you know...) and are zoned for a school whose academics are, to say the least, quite poor. The school is so focused on attaining AYP goals that the curriculum of most classes consists of test preparation almost exclusively -- certainly at the expense of both history and science.

Ultimately, we felt (and now have evidence to believe) that we could simply do a better job of educating our child. At home, our child can go at her own pace; all subjects are taught to mastery; review is minimal unless needed, and it's hard to beat the teacher/pupil ratio.

I regret that you evidently disagree, but thankfully enough, homeschooling is legal and will probably remain so as long as its results demonstrate, as they consistently have, that homeschooling works.

Thank you,
Adso of Melk

I think the ad hominem attacks are quite inappropriate. They have been used on both sides of this argument, illustrating that most of these comments do not deal with facts, even when complaining about the lack of fact-checking. I would like to see people cite some actual studies about home-schooling, from peer-reviewed journals. It is not enough to say "I read a study once..." I am not saying I completely agree with everything Mr. Lessenberry has said, but your attacks regarding fact-checking are inappropriate if you only provide anecdotal information about your own stellar children. Most of the comments have probably come from parents who have done an excellent job teaching their children. The bad examples to which Mr. Lessenberry refers probably have not bothered to comment.

Former public school teacher here - high school physics, biology, marine science, environmental science... I value public education. I believe it's necessary in a civilized society to give opportunities for all children to acquire an education. However, it was the very experiences in the realm of public education as a credentialed master's level teacher that led me to the decision to homeschool my own children.

I grow weary of the uninformed casting stereotypes of homeschoolers as unqualified, ignorant, and bigoted. I know that there's nothing I can say to convince you. Perhaps, one day, you'll gain some firsthand experience with homeschoolers to give you a more robust picture. I have firsthand experience in both arenas, and I speak with whatever level of authority that affords me. Homeschooling works!

You're right. The attacks on character are inappropriate. I apologize. In my defense though I must say that Mr. Thrasher left me little to go on and angered me greatly with his stereotypes.

Bottom line is, home schooling my children just feels right to me. I know all to well that to some people that one thing alone makes me a terrible person in their eyes. It hurts me greatly to have people judge me based on the fact that I love my children so much that I am willing to give up many things for myself, my husband, and them in order to follow my heart to what my husband and I honestly feel is the right thing to do. It is not enjoyable to have to be on the defensive everytime I utter the words "We home school" to some random person because I have to feel out their reaction thanks to the ignorant stereotypes and stigmatisms placed on it by people. Such as those that are fueled by the writer of this essay as well as Mr. Thrasher.

I am so very proud of my children and like I said before I could quote all day their accomplishments. Their test scores make me proud and assure me that all is well on the education side. But the most important thing is that they are happy and healthy and well rounded. They respect all people of all ages, all religions, all races, and all classes. They know they can choose to live a life of any choosing they wish and if that doesn't include college their dad and I will love them no less. John Lennon said it so eloquently "A working class hero is something to be"...

As I have posted my mind remains open yet I will object, reject, defeat all paradigms that are racist 24/7..

Thrasher, my greatest homeschooling mentors are an African-American homeschooling family who have just graduated their youngest daughter. I find it personally offensive that you equate homeschooling with racism, and I would wager that my African-American homeschooling friends would find it offensive as well.

I searched the Free Press website and couldn't find anything about Hillsdale and a science deficiency among students. I really wish Mr. Lessenberry would address this for those of us who look up to him as a journalist and are perplexed about his journalistic integrity being questioned.

@ Sharon since it is obvious you are not Black please refrain from speaking on our behalf this includes even your greatest homeschool mentors!!

Since I am Black there is no question that many Black homeschoolers would not only agree with me about my profile of the racism in the homeschool movement but many no doubt would provide me with more information to butress my premise.

It is obvious my comments are on the money given the defensive and emotional reactions by many on this site, of course as a Black activist it is never a surpise when I get attacks by whites becuase I offer no apologies when I confront, reject and defeat white racism.

Truth is at the end of the day the homeschool movement profile is full of myopic insular racism it is a natural result of white people who isolate themselves from the mainstream. The people of color who homeschool understand this truth . The objectives of people of color who homeschool( Rosa Parks) are often not the same as the whites who homeschool especially wih regard to the religious and social objectives.

I have no reservations about calling out the racism in home schooling . I hope more whites and people of color join me in this regard..

The only thing obvious about you, Mr. Thrasher, is that you are the one who is racist. I also have no reservations about calling out racism when I see it. Yours is seething and disgusting.

I see now that your arguement really has little to do with homeschooling. Your hatred goes far beyond that.

I wash my hands of this and this will be my last post. I pray that perhaps one day you find the courage to embrace people as a whole and then perhaps you will find true passion for your own race. I leave you with a quote.

"It is never too late to give up our prejudices."-Thoreau


Clarification: The comments Jack Lessenberry makes about "the Honors Program Director" at Hillsdale College

are inaccurate. I just spoke with Professor Don Westblade, the current Honors Program Director at Hillsdale
College, and he said that he did not make these statements. In addition, he said that the statements
referred to by the author of the WKAR homeschool essay, regarding a Detroit Free Press article were
completely inaccurate, and taken out of context from an interview by the DFP with the former Honors Program Director 6 years ago.

If you wish to see the correct and accurate comments and further clarification, please contact the
Hillsdale College public relations office, or go to their website.

Professor Westblade told me that there are many homeschooled students in his
honors program at Hillsdale, and that those students are excellent. He also said that
he is very chagrined that this author obviously misused comments and took positive
comments that Hillsdale made 6 years ago about home schooled students, and turned
them around so as to make them look like Hillsdale does not support home schooling.
In fact, Professor Westdale said, Hillsdale does greatly support homeschooling.

Cecilia Tombelli
CHURCH Moderator
(Celebrating Home Under Rome-Catholic Home schooling)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CHURCH_Lansing


cecilia-tombelli.blogspot.com

@Mtn Mama, I am sadden that you would take a chat discussion on a provactive issue and make it personal by calling me a racist.

I have no hatred for human beings but I do have a great disregard for racism and bigotry of institutions and cultural conventions.

As a person of color I understand why whites and others who are a part of a movement would get bent out of shape over critical objections about one's industry, professional etc yet for you to wage this personal attack on me for daring to have a factual base on my views is again disheartening.

Your notice to me that you cannot measure up to my objective remarks and you are going to move on but you will call me a name before you retire from this discussion simply confirms my premise..

I will pray for you of course but please do not expect to see me at the next Homeschool Convention..

"I will always reject myopic backward cultural paradigms than have contempt for me as a person of color."

Can you please tell me what backward cultural paradigms homeschoolers are teaching that have contempt for people of color? Apparently I am hanging out with the wrong homeschoolers. Can you tell me where you're getting this empirical data from?

I'm sorry, Thrasher, but I just don't see it. In my experience, yes anecdotal, homeschoolers are accepting of other homeschoolers. That's it. They don't care what color you are. All that matters is the desire to educate our children to their fullest abilities. Granted, there are SOME homeschoolers who are not open minded. But, oh my gosh, there are public school and private school families that are not open minded. I know. I was raised in one. But, that, contrary to your opinion, does not tipify homeschool attitude.


"I will always reject ideas which seek to take funds away from the public education."

So, taking my children out of a school that refuses to provide them with the education they need takes away funds from the public education. Since my children would not fit into a regular classroom and would need special considerations to educate them well, I think I'm actually saving the school money. Oh, sure, they don't get my kids' test scores, but they can focus on the other kids left there.

I had 2 public school teachers tell me I needed to homeschool my children. Then, when she found out I had made the decision to do so, my oldest's private school teacher was ecstatic. She said he was wasting his time in school. It was not an easy decision. Who wants to be completely responsible for their child's education? It is so much easier to send them to school and then blame the schools.

Don't give me that. I have to do what is best for MY children. While I would love to send them to a public school and not have to worry about their education, I can say unequivically that that cannot happen. I can't wait for the school to change to give my children the eduaction they need. They have to have it now.

In the meantime, I'll continue paying my taxes and buying stuff from the fundraisers going around the neighborhood.

I made it personal? Oh no, no, no. YOU made it personal when you decided to lump every single person who homeschools into a catagory of a "myopic backward cultural".

Then you sealed your contempt for white people with this:

"The objectives of people of color who homeschool( Rosa Parks) are often not the same as the whites who homeschool especially wih regard to the religious and social objectives." -Mr. Greg Thrasher

Are you saying that only black people can homeschool for the proper religious and social objectives? Because lets face it, ALL people homeschool for various reasons. You, however, are the first I have ever seen put a boundary on the reasons based on race. It is ridiculous and you have NO facts to back up such ignorant statements. Not a single one. This so called "empirical data" exists only in your own myopic mind.

I stick by my assertion that you are indeed a racist and I am also beginning to assert that you are a classist as well. What is really sad is you naively confuse ignorance and delusion for passion. You are a hinderance to the race you claim to love so much.

By all means, continue to prove me right with another post of mindless, racist drivil. Continue to embarass yourself....

Seeing as the article in question regarding Hillsdale was written in 2002, it is hardly "recent." And David Steward hasn't been the honors program director for years. He actually hoemschools his own children and what didn't make it into your essay here is that he also said that homeschoolers are generally more prepared in math, English, history, et., than other students. When pressed, he said that if they had a weakness, it was in science.

Hardly a ridicule of homeschoolers or a call for greater control.

@ Mtn Moma,

I will continue to reject your personal attacks on me in a chat forum for daring to have a discussion about racism in the homeschool movement. Yes I will continue to object to myopic white people like you who told many other Black people inclduing MLK, Rosa Parks how they were a hinderance to our race becuase they dared to speak out and act out..

The sole reason for the creation of HBCU was the racist and segregated behavior of whites which created the need for my people to create HBCU's.

Sorry to disappoint you but the opinions of Blacks on a number of fronts including our opinions on homeschooling is not high on the list of the white dominated MSM outlets..BTW the absence of a fortune 500 office tower does not mean our country's orginial people were here after the country's original illegal aliens( pilgrims & puritans)from europe..

But more importantly your need to attack me on a personal level is not going to stop me for relating my truths about the profile of the home school movement sorry but I am (pick one)one negro/colored/afro/boy/african american that does not bend over or genuflect to the personal attacks of those who cannot measure up..Again my cultural DNA does not allow that

May God grace you one day with the ability to see beyond black and white as He did Rosa Parks and MLK.

Would it ease your fears to know that both my children are very aware of what the Civil Rights Movement is as well as the great people you speak of and their roles in it? I doubt it....after all, it is all to clear that you see me as a "myopic white person". To you, all white people are just that. To me, your just an uniformed, racist bigot. Nothing more, nothing less. If you feel the need to justify my assertion by injecting one of the names YOU used then know it is YOUR words....and NEVER mine.

Here is how deeply my children feel and how much learning about such issues has affected them. I am a huge Bob Dylan fan and one day while listening to the song Hurricane (a protest song written for Hurricane Carter) my 9 yo says to me, "Mom, I don't like this song". I asked her why. She says to me, "It speaks badly about black people." (Hence, it uses the "n" word in it) I asked her if she remembered us talking about Civil Rights. She aknowledged she did and I went on to explain the meaning of the song and that it was not being "mean" to black people, but in fact it was a protest to the injustices aimed at them. That eased her little burdened mind from fear she was listening to a song demeaning people. A mind that I intend to build with a strong foundation of knowledge before she one day has the burden of crossing paths with racist white people as well as racist black people(as yourself). And this is one small fraction of hundreds of examples I could give. I could also tell you about the first time my daughter heard the "n" word. From a black girl in her pre-k class(oh yes, they learned many, many things in the public school system...this being just one of them). If I am lieing then may God strike me dead as I type.

I will continue to reject your attacks on the homeschool movement as racist. I will continue to reject your ignorant opinions. You have no merit or facts to back up anything you say. For that matter, you can't even find a single quote I have given to label me racist....and you never will.

@Mtn Mama,

Please spare me the cum ba ya tales and stop using your children to butress your weak and shallow arguments..You are truly pathetic offering up your kids to make point....The reason why you are obessed with my posts is because I nailed the racism in the homeschool movement..deal with it and please do not tell another good cum ba ya story what's next a post that 'some of your best friends are coloreds"..

Step up or get stepped on..again I have no problem dealing with ignorant white folks in denial and making excuses about thier racial pathlogies..

BTW you also speak with a forked tongue I thought you were never going to post about me..so much for your promises..get over me cause I am not leaving..your obession is making me blush..

@ Mtn Mama,

This is my last comment with you I do not want to be a part of a discourse with you that involves you having kids fight your battles..

My cultural DNA does not approve of that...

At least I have talking points. What do you have but your desperate pride that has you blind to a world of colors?

Ha! Just as I predicted....you could never and would never understand anybody who embraces diversity. It crushes this thread of "woe is me" you cling so desperately to. Get over yourself. Get over your sickness of racist hatred for white people. It's sick and you are a disease on the plight of the people you claim to respect so much.

BTW, I did finally find something pertaining to a "Greg Thrasher" that is presumably this HUGE alter ego you have for yourself...but it came from this very website. How pathetic. Newsflash, commenting on blogs does not equate "published". Lol...that is so funny I about spewed my coffee. I quote a Mr. Jose Santiago who seems to have pegged you very well:

"Greg Thrasher has been a tiresome presence on this and other sites. He is a Birmingham resident but would have you believe that his roots are in the black community but alas he hides in a lily white upper middle class community. He likes it that way because he is a bully. Very scanty resume-no real challenging preparation. What is it Greg a BA in "Communications" from MSU. Think tank-please. This guy is a legend in his own mind. Brings no real insight or intellectual capability to the affairs of state. A very real race baiter, racial arsonist and real life scumbag. Ignore him-all talk and no action except countersigning that public sector paycheck."

Wow. lol. Right on, Mr. Santiago.

You wish I had never posted back. You should have left well enough alone. But then that is a fools pride for you. What's that swooshing sound? Must be the sound of the winds being taken out of your sails....

Oh, I believe you will stick around. While you do....please read and re-read every word I have written. Perhaps it will begin to sink in just how utterly ridiculous you are and make you dig deep to change your sick sick mind.


And for the record...I don't have to tell a story about having "colored friends" (your words, not mine). I don't have to look beyond the walls of my own house to see a very diverse set of people. I myself am German/Italian and I am married to a man who has a mixture of Irish/Native American Indian/Portuguese decent (most mistake him for a hispanic man though). One daughter clearly got the Irish decent in looks as she is pale skinned with freckles and my other daughter got the Portuguese look with dark hair and dark skin. Ignorant people such as yourself assume them to have different fathers....but nope...one dad, one mom and a "mutt" mixture of DNA.

Mr. Lessenberry,

In your essay you stated, "Educational malpractice should be illegal as well."

To understand your perspective more clearly, could you please define your term "educational malpractice?"

And for the sake of argument, let's assume that the Michigan legislature adopts your definition of educational malpractice, what would be a suitable penalty for those that are guilty of such an act?

And once "educational malpractice" becomes illegal in our state, it will become insufficent to say that we must "fix" the public schools. If "educational malpractice" is truly illegal, we must apply the standard across the board, and prosecute ALL who are guilty of such malpractice.

Your essay asserts that the parents' role is to "supplement" the school so they are, at best, an accomplice to the alleged malpractice. Consequently, this leaves the teachers and the admininistrators primarily culpable in the alleged educational malpractice currently occuring in our Detroit public schools.

Further, considering that your wife is an educator, would you accept that she could be prosecuted for "educational malpractice" because a child who sat in her classroom and under her teaching every day for 180 days, failed to meet the educational standards set by the state?

Also, assuming your wife has done all within her power to teach her pupils, but the parent fails to "homeschool" him after school hours and the student flounders and fails the MEAP, would your wife be required to file a charge of "educational malpractice" against the parents so that she is not liable in the child's academic failure and thus guilty of "educational malpractice" as his teacher?

Lastly, your analogy between medicine and education is an interesting one if you consider, that as a parent, you are not required to report to the local health officials every year, because you MIGHT do something as stupid as take out his appendix on the kitchen table. No, the state assumes that you are diligently applying proper medical treatement to the various maladies your son acquires; that which require home treatment you provide, that which provide more knowledge you solicit outside help. But in Michgan, we are not required to report that as parents we are doing the right thing regarding our child's health in the state approved way.

The state does not require you to report annually to them, because they assume that your are doing the right thing until it is alleged that your are not. That's traditionally been considered "innocent until proven guilty." As a parent, would you accept a law that requires you to report your to your local health offical and follow their prescribed nutrition and medical procedures and if not be considered guilty of "medical malpratice?" Perhaps so.

However, I suspect many parents would find it outrageous to annually report to the state and submit to the their prescribed regiments for our children's health. To say that every child requires the same diet and the same care denies the basic fact that children are unique and cannot be treated equally for all diseases and that certain diets are better for certain children.

The state recognizes and accepts this truth and acknoweldges that the parent will do the right thing in most cases, thus no state mandated annual reporting is required. The state affords complete freedom to the parent. They provide nutrition and health guidelines, but do not require that they be strictly followed under penalty of presecution for medical malpractice.

For many parents, we believe the same is true in our child's education. There isn't a "one size fits all" standard that can be applied to ALL children. Therefore, just as in medicine the state must assume that we are acting appropriately until it is shown that we are not.

If the state is willing to risk the fact that we won't do an appendectomy on our children (or any other life threatening procedure) without yearly reporting, then it becomes easy to see why allowing them the freedom to teach them their ABC's and times tables without reporting to their local public school.

Lastly, any reporting requirement is absurd because the parents are NOT under the authority of the local school system. The schools are a service that the state provides because the people of this state gave their consent. The parents are (in theory anyway) the boss and the school personnel the employee. The employee can ask the boss to do something, but they do not have the authority to require the boss do anything. This is supported by our state law which says,

"Section 380.10: It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil's parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil's intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive manner."

State law rightly recognizes that the parent has the natural and fundamental right to direct their child's care. The state's role is to cooperate with the parents, not the other way around. This means that unless they state can demonstrate probable cause that criminal activity has already taken place in the home, they do not have the authority to intervene or put upon the parents any further requirements that would include mandatory annual reporting to the local schools.

I would really, REALLY like to see Mr. Lessenberry respond to those from Hillsdale who have refuted the out-of-context and out-of-date quote used to 'support' this essay. It would also be refreshing to see any kind of support for his assertions that home educators aren't competitive in a diverse and technologically complex society.

In spite of the fact that public education is the new kid on the block, those who believe that homeschooling is a fad that just popped out of nowhere and require data to prove that parents really do honestly care about providing their children with a well-rounded education and social life can check out the study done by Dr. Lawrence Rudner or check out the National Home Education Research Institute website. Five minutes with Google- is that too much to ask?

I have heard the analogies tossed around for the 13+ years that I have home educated my kids- the idea being that only 'professional educators' are 'qualified to teach'. Licensing may be required for those who provide a public service, such as household repairs, medical treatment, beauty treatments, nutrition, child care etc..., but one does not require a license or advanced training to perform the basics of these in one's own home. I don't consult with a doctor every time my child has an ache, fever, or injury. I make that call as the parent. Ditto haircuts, manicures, and meal planning and potty training. Those who have been thoroughly institutionalized can't imagine how a parent could be so arrogant as to think they are able to determine and direct their childrens' educations, in spite of the fact that most parents have spent at least 12 years being taught by professional educators. But those same people don't even think about clipping their kids toenails or giving first aid without training in cosmetology or going to medical school.

The home education movement is evidence of what is great about America- people are free to find solutions to the problems they face, express their individuality and creativity, and discover-often through trial and error- what path is best for them to take. Of course, this means people are free to be ignorant, bigoted, delusional, or greatly mistaken. But we can't outlaw making mistakes, or being clueless. The universe couldn't contain the legislation needed to control every aspect of human behavior, nor do we desire such controls if we really think about it.

Why are only 26 of the 63 comments listed?

oops i just found the arrows

If you're doing your job, you shouldn't have anything to hide. The legislation is non-invasive and for the welfare of children.

Methinks all these homeschooling parents should get back to raising and teaching their children.

Rebecca said, "f you're doing your job, you shouldn't have anything to hide. "

Thankfully, That isn't the way our country is set up. In America, we are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the state to demonstrate probable cause that a specific parent is doing something criminally wrong in order for them to intervene. It is NOT the responsibility of the parent to report to the state and assure them that they are doing things correctly.

In a free society we are not required to report to the court house if we are not accused of a crime. We do not report to the Department of Health and Human Services if we are not on welfare. Likewise, we do not report to the Department of Education if we don't use the public schools.

The state of Michigan recognizes that the PARENTS not the state has the natural and fundamental right to determine and direct the care and education of their children. The parent is not in partnership with the state nor does the state rule over the parent in this regard. Therefore, it is not because homeschoolers have anything to hide that we refuse to report to the state, but because we have the natural and fundamental right to do so.

This isn't fascism. It's common sense. Your obstinence is frightening and shows your delusional grasp on the law and American history. So glad you're teaching young minds of tomorrow to be as closeminded and sanctimonious as you. Praise Jesus!

Rebecca-

If you would be so kind as to point out the inaccuracies of Karen's post, it would help others understand your position. "You're delusional" doesn't really address the issues at hand.

Rebecca,

I have not stated or implied that this is facism nor have I stated or implied that the state is attempting to deny ALL individual rights. But I have said that the requirement of parents to submit to the state in the education of their children violates their natural and fundamental right as a parent. A right which is recognized by Michigan law (see citation in my first comment.)

I am not closed to opposing viewpoints. If you would like to tell me where I am wrong or "delusional" in my thinking or my knowledge of history that would be helpful and welcome. But making such assertions without any further information to support them is not.

Frankly it isn't any of your concern, nor the concern of the government, who is "simply letting their kids run wild". Too many of our liberties are being stripped away by people like you...who should be minding your own business.

Prescribe a curriculum? I think it is YOU who are nuts. Big box, cookie cutter education is failing our society and our children. Parents who create their own curriculum and encourage children to develop their strengths and not focus entirely on their weaknesses, as public schols do, should be commended. Praise to them for not raising mindless, brainless drones.

And the social interaction you mention is a joke. Homeschool kids get heir interaction from REAL life.

And why should parents send their children to school for 6-8 hours a day to be educated "properly" and then be required to homeschool in the evenings. Either the schools are doing their job or they are not. You can't have it both ways. Homework and parental involvement is so important in public schools because they are NOT doing a good job educating our children.

I would rather homeschool my children, give them one on one attention, and make learning a fun experience for them. Since our country is filled with morons and lead by elected morons I think some fresh perspective from kids who are not "conditioned" by government schools is a GOOD thing.

I have had the mispleasure of acessing a number of homeschool sites and it is truly an excercise in fiction, disinformation, deflection, right wing religious propaganda and devoid of anything of value and significance regarding diversity and a honest discussion of racism in the homeschool arena..

I remain amazed at the depth and degree of white racism in our country and how it is so pervasive and lethal in every manner and aspect of life here in America..

Given our country's continued legacy of contempt for people of color I will do my best to deter parents and others from homeschooling. The staggering failures of our public education still do not warrant children of color to engaged in the insular, myopic, unproven academic venues of homeschooling ..It is the most uneducated position and posture any family of color should pursue..

First of all, there WAS something I said in my essay that I would like to amend. I quoted a recent Free Press story as saying that Hillsdale College’s honors program director recently told the Detroit Free Press that the home schooled children he sees are deficient in science education. In fact the man who said that, David Stewart, actually said it in 2002. I do not think that is ancient history, nor do I think the situation is likely to have radically changed since then.
But I would not have used the word “recent” if I had to do it over. Mr. Stewart is also no longer the honors director, and I apologize for that error. What I actually did was take that statement from another article. Here is what that article said. “David Stewart, director of Hillsdale College’s honors program, told the Detroit Free Press that home schooled children are typically deficient in science education: ’I can generally count on them for having almost no science and virtually no lab science.”
Incidentally -- there is nothing wrong with totally disagreeing with me on this topic. Many of the postings, however, seem to be from people who did not do a very good job of reading my essay.
I did in fact say that there were cases where home schooling makes sense. It is clear that many of the people posting here have done an excellent job home schooling their children, or at least are convinced that they have, though the defensiveness of some of the comments makes me wonder. However, I have seen examples of home “schooling” failures as well; students whose home schooling included no biology and lots of religious fanaticism.
Students who are insufficiently socialized.
Hats off to those parents who do in fact home school their children and somehow give them a well-rounded educational and social experience. But very few parents can do that in today’s economy, where two-earner families are the norm, and everything that weakens the public schools financially weakens our democracy.
But I have no sympathy for home schoolers who oppose even letting the authorities know that they are home schooling their children; that makes no sense in today’s world. And I remain unalterably opposed to allowing uneducated and unqualified to home school their children, for the same reason I should not be allowed to practice medicine. And I think the state SHOULD prescribe some basic curriculum, and require home schooled children to take tests to demonstrate they are performing up to capacity. All of the people who have posted here that their home schooled children are performing far ahead of grade level should scarcely fear this.
Pennsylvania prescribes a strict curriculum for home schoolers, by the way, and education policy experts tell me it works very well. And no, I am not talking about filling their little heads with liberal orthodoxy. I am talking about competence in most basic subjects, without which no child in Michigan stands a chance of survival.
***

Jack,

Again you display your very poor research skills. You said, "Pennsylvania prescribes a strict curriculum for home schoolers, by the way, and education policy experts tell me it works very well." Tell me, did you bother to compare that to students test scores from states that do not impose such laws? Obviously not or you would learn that laws have little to no influence on the performance of homeschool students. I could provide you a link if I had the time or patience to search for it for you But you are the "so called" journalist so do yourself and all of us here a favor a show some competance and pride in your job.

Though I wasn't homeschooled myself, I must say that the most important life lessons I learned were through my parents and thankfully they taught me that if I wasn't going to give something worth doing 100% then not to bother doing it at all. Something that you neither learned at home or in school....

Thrasher, Thrasher, Thrasher...

"I have had the mispleasure of acessing a number of homeschool sites"

Excuse me???????

Oh, so you indeed were blowing smoke about this "empirical data" after all. (Not that we didn't know that already *wink*)

You admit that you just now, after days of comments against homeschooling, decided to take a peek at what it actually is?

*shakes head and sighs deeply*

Seriously, if this is the best you and Jack can do then I am shaking....with laughter that is.

Thanks Mr. Lessenberry for the clarification. I didn't really expect you to give one, considering all the negativity & defensiveness surrounding this discussion.

Mtn. Mama, why don't you take your hysterics and go back to the other barefoot rubes in the mountains? And quit antagonizing Thrasher. Everybody around here knows he's crazy, yet he always posts. Just ignore him like we do.

"I have no sympathy for home schoolers who oppose even letting the authorities know that they are home schooling their children; that makes no sense in today’s world...everything that weakens the public schools financially weakens our democracy."

Michigan law recognize the right of the PARENT to determine and direct the care and education of their offspring. Our democracy is weakened when the state mandates that parents must comply with their determination and direction as to what would comprise a suitable education for children in violation of the natural and fundamental rights of the parents.

Without freedom to exercise our natural and fundamental rights, our country doesn't stand a chance of survival.

(If possible, I would like to know your definition of educational malpractice and the penalty for such a wrong and how it would apply to our Detroit Public schools.)

I love a bunch of illiterate Jesus freaks criticizing one of the top journalists in the state for his poor research skills. I wouldn't let any of you ignoramuses near my kids with a ten foot pole. Best get back to teaching your kids dinosaurs walked the earth with people. We need the next generation to be as close-minded and ill-informed as you. So get offline and do your duty for Jesus.

"We need the next generation to be as close-minded and ill-informed as you."

Ummmm....you do realize that we, you and I, got our educations in the same place, right? So one can say that perhaps the indoctrination of the public school system worked better on some than others? In that case, praise Jesus I fell through the cracks...

Will Mr. Lessenberry respond to Prof. Donald Westblade and Chris Bachelder, the Associate Vice President of Hillsdale College?

Prof. Westblade's quote provided the spine of part of Mr. Lessenberry's argument. Now it seems it was an out-context remark from 6 years ago.

Whoops, just saw the clarification.

Janet - A lot of the people commenting here have blogs. One click on our names and you could have learned that a lot of us are anything but Jesus Freaks. Research skills.

"And I remain unalterably opposed to allowing uneducated and unqualified to home school their children..."

What would be the qualifications you'd imagine would be needed to homeschool? If you have a sense that qualifications are needed you must have some idea of what skills and knowledge a homeschooling parent needs.

The other things is that I can't find any evidence that homeschooling parents without qualifications, or who may seem uneducated, are failing their kids. Studies, though there aren't too many, don't seem to even hint at a problem in this regard. Are you proposing a solution to a that really exists?

"But very few parents can do that in today’s economy, where two-earner families are the norm, and everything that weakens the public schools financially weakens our democracy."

If (and that's a big if) homeschooling weakens public schools financially then why not look at how we fund public schools?

As for weakening democracy, that's a non-sequitur, at least as you stated it. Make that case.

"And I think the state SHOULD prescribe some basic curriculum, and require home schooled children to take tests to demonstrate they are performing up to capacity."

What would the basic curriculum be? What kind of choice will that remove from a homeschooling family? And do you mean curriculum or, as I suspect, scope and sequence? The problem is that you, and other critics, say it lightly, as if there could be no problem with this but we look at schools where curriculums are often bloated, subject to politics and completely removed from community or student interest.

Maybe you mean just basic things, reading and math? And yet this would still pose problems. Many homeschoolers delay formal academics until 8 or 9 (there's some evidence in favour of this), many use very different curriculums where different concepts and skills may be learned at different ages (sometimes this happens within a family. It will in mine where I have two very different learners)...How will testing account for this? If it doesn't, is it really not about being concerned about homeschooling kids' education and simply about standardizing them?

This makes me wonder about the critics. Why are the solutions to your worries so...bland? Why are they simply the same uninspired and barely useful tools we saddle schools with?


The problem with Mr. Lessenberry's essay, is that he articlates a problem, "educational malpractice," but he has yet to define educational malpractice. And yet he purports to know the solution to this undefined problem. We must "fix" the public schools (our democracy depends on it) and severely regulate the homeschoolers where only the most qualified are allowed to participate and the rest of the dolts should send them off to school and "homeschool" them in the evening.

However, until we can adequately define exactly what constitutes educational neglect and conversely educational success we'll be like Michgan construction workers filling pot holes on I-75. We'll spend a whole lot of money and a whole lot of time doing what we always do, but we haven't fixed a thing.

Interestingly, during a symposium unveling the new graduation requirements in Michgan a few years ago, I asked the Michigan Superintendant of Public Instruction Mike Flannagan for his definition of a well-educated child. He stammered and sweated on the podium for a few minutes and then said that no one had ever asked him that before and he really hadn't considered the question! The audience gasped and so did I. How can an educator (and father) create goals and requirements for our state's children and not know what he's even aiming for? He eventually stammered out something, but it had little resemblence to the graduation requirements he just layed out. (The only thing I remember from his answer is that a well educated child should visit the Detroit Institute of Arts and read the classics!)

Similar to Mr. Flannagan, how can Mr. Lessenberry articulate a solution for educational malpractice when he has yet to adequately define the problem?

Do ANY of you regularly read Lessenberry's column, or do you all just Google "Homschooling" to find your soapbox du jour to spout your fanatical views???

One thing I have noticed in the comments is that the homeschoolers are discussing the issues while the detractors just call them names. Curious...

I am a Detroit resident and have always been. I am familiar with Mr. Lessenberry mostly through his editorial work at the Detroit News which I delivered and read growing up. I have occassionally read his column at the Metro Times.

I first read about this particular essay on another blog and clicked over to see if it was the same Jack Lessenberry. I read his bio and found that it was. In his concluding paragraph of that bio he said,

"Jack has always said that the thing he loves about journalism is the fact that it's all about people-about connecting with and learning from them.

I want to create intelligent dialogue about the problems we face. I think we need to think about and talk about who we are as a country and people, and explore those things."

As a writer for a large homeschool magazine, The Old Schoolhouse, I share Mr. Lessenberry's desire for connecting with people and intelligent dialogue on the problems we face. So, I took him at his word and decided to connect and offer a comment.

I am an educator interested in education. I look for articles and blogs that reflect on or discuss my interests. I comment on the articles and blogs that discuss the issues I think are important. What is strange about that?

Are folks seriously suggesting that conversations about home education should not be commented on by those closest to the subject? How can you have an intelligent discussion about homeschooling without the participation of homeschoolers?

There is a difference between defending one's choices and being defensive. It would still be interesting to see some actual discussion of some actual educational issues instead of name-calling and off topic rants.

BTW, I am currently reading the Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (122 page .pdf file at www.ed.gov) which states something very interesting on pages 65-66: "Overall, findings about the relationship between teacher certification (i.e.,
licensure) and student achievement in mathematics have been mixed, even among the most rigorous and highest-quality studies. Research in this area has not provided
consistent or convincing evidence that students of teachers who are certified to teach mathematics gain more than those whose teachers are not. The relationship between teacher certification status, the most inexact proxy for teachers’ content knowledge, and students’ mathematics achievement remains ambiguous."

There has yet to be a proven correlation between teacher certification and student success in any area of education. Most studies seem to indicate that verbal ability is the most important factor in teaching, but even that element can't be quantified. Assuming that an uncertified parent is unqualified to teach is inaccurate, because even the NMAP can't pinpoint the factors that make the most effective teachers. Parents certainly can't do much worse than the current system however, and the available research into home education supports the fact that parents do BETTER.

Which is why the home education option is so valuable for parents. We are free to find the resources that are most effective in educating our kids- whether it be curriculum or online instruction or a mentor. We aren't 'stuck' with whatever teacher the school assigns, regardless of their actual teaching ability.

Thanks for the clarification, Lessenberry. But it still doesn't address the fact that the Detroit Free Press apparently originally quoted Mr. Stewart out of context. That wouldn't be your fault since you are just relying on second-hand information. But since Hillsdale's student body consists of a lot of homeschooled and private schooled students, and they see no need for this regulation, I think it should be taken seriously.

This is what Mr. Stewart said to me in an email:

" Yes, there was more to my conversation with the Free Press than the single-sentence quotation. I am generally favorably-disposed towards home-schooling (indeed, two of my own children are currently home-schooled), and my 2002 comments to the reporter were positive. He was looking for balance, so I said something to the effect that if homeschoolers have a consistent weakness, it’s laboratory sciences: students are typically better prepared in math, history, English, etc. than in laboratory sciences. I also said that many parents recognize that deficiency and enroll their children in a local community college during the senior year of high school (which would be the short version of my advice to you as your children grow. The same solution also helps some parents with advanced foreign language studies.)

So, I asserted in 2002 that the Free Press reporter mis-quoted me and, more significantly, took my comments out of context. I also believe Lessenberry mis-represented his facts by stating I “recently” commented to the Free Press and failing to note that I have not been the Honors Program Director for several years."

He homeschools his own children.

I don't know why Lessenberry would do a hot button discussion like this. I've never seen so many people come out of the woodwork.

It wouldn't matter even if he quoted Stewart perfectly. If he said anything less than homeschooling is a perfectly viable solution, the Homeschool Moms would throw out all kinds of research to refute it. Because these people are dealing with double the insecurities. Nobody wants to feel they are being called bad parents AND bad teachers... or that their kids are inferior or stupid because of it. Total hot button discussion.

"If he said anything less than homeschooling is a perfectly viable solution, the Homeschool Moms would throw out all kinds of research to refute it."

Yup. Because we've generally done a lot of work before coming to our decisions and we know the research.

I've been thinking about this lately because the homeschooling crowd is getting to be known as quick to pounce on critics. It could and likely at times is defensiveness. A lot of us simply keep up on discussion surrounding the topic and are eager to engage in discussion. We're an active and engaged crowd. I don't think that's something to avoid.

In fact, I'm beginning to find it weird that people don't expect this response on more topics. That they don't expect or even want challenges and reasoned defenses when talking about other issues and don't find the lack of a passionate reponse in other subjects a little appalling.

Mr. Lessenberry's essay is based on a single anecdote from one liberal arts college. It may be enough for him but should not be enough for anyone willing to reflect on the nature of a public institution that shuts children up from the outside world for years and years, forcing them to pursue one abstraction after another. Even if the observation of a single educator in one corner of the state could stand in for hard scientific data about the preparedness of home school students for college science, it doesn’t follow that the whole enterprise is questionable. Of course older kids need to learn science in laboratories and most parents can’t teach it well. Why should Mr. Lessenberry’s wife and her cohorts need my child eight hours a day from birth on in order to accomplish that?

It’s strange that a man like Jack Lessenberry, who must enjoy his broad working knowledge of human affairs, would ignore the frightening fact that most young people come out of our K-12 schools bored, distracted, ignorant of history and with little or no use for knowledge. They don’t know where Iraq is. (Are his students any different from those of Mark Edmundson? http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i27/27b00701.htm.) Instead, he employs a lame political framework about rigorous science education that foolishly assumes education is jobs training. Can he not see the danger of a populace bereft of convictions based on wisdom and knowledge? Maybe it’s okay with him if students riot in East Lansing over sporting events so long as they keep up with their organic chemistry in order to create a life-sciences job someday. Who’s running wild here?

Since sweeping conclusions based on a single anecdote are standard in this forum I’ll make one myself. As I write, ninety-three people have commented on this essay, many to say how out of touch with reality the author happens to be. Generally, Mr. Lessenberry’s pieces elicit a comment or two. Let that be warning to his friends in the managerial class. If they try to meddle with our right to make our children into serious adults by keeping them free of their mind-numbing education system with its insane tests and benchmarks, they will have a revolution on their hands. People who’ve been let out of cages don’t go back quietly.

"It wouldn't matter even if he quoted Stewart perfectly. If he said anything less than homeschooling is a perfectly viable solution, the Homeschool Moms would throw out all kinds of research to refute it. Because these people are dealing with double the insecurities. Nobody wants to feel they are being called bad parents AND bad teachers... or that their kids are inferior or stupid because of it. "

I'm fine if Mr. Lessenberry or anyone else feels that that homeschoolers are inferior, bad parents, or bad teachers. It's just an opinion. That's all. But when opinion is used to enact policy that violates the rights of parents it's a whole different matter all together.

At the heart of the matter it is not the insecurities of homeschool parents, but of the established educational beauracracy that thrives on the notion that only those with a teaching credential are capable of teaching a child to read and write the same way as only a person who's an MD can practice medicine. Think about it, if a parent without a credential is doing as well, or better, than a credentialed professional the unions and teacher's colleges then become suspect. That's why the NEA has a homeschooling reolution every year. Here's the resolution for 2007-2008

"B-75. Home Schooling
The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice
cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience....Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used."

So while it's easy to say that a group of dedicated parents are insecure when someone speaks poorly against them, the reality tells us that it is likely the other way around. The established education beauracracy becomes insecure when what they perceive as their domain is being threatened.

Homeschoolers with thier fictional data and anecdotal proofs at the end of the day remain in denial.. the facts about student academic outcomes and the facts about the inherent insular underdeveloped social aspect of home schools will not be changed by the nasty emotional rants from the home school apologists in here..

On a separate note people who are intellectual cowards and hide behind keyboards and post under anonymous will always be dismissed by me.. I have zero respect for people who hide behind sheets and children..

At the end of the day not one homeschooler apologist on this thread has provided any demonstrative data , study, proofs that reject my premise about the myopic and segregated nature of homeschoolers the bulk of which are white and have contempt for racial diversity and inclusion..

The fact is like many whites after the Brown v Board of Ed case and the integration of our public schools whites have always ran away and hid thier kids in private and religious schools, the homeschool movement is just another version of white flight ..

Thrasher-
That is the most hypocritical piece of writing I have seen in a while.

I asked you for evidence of your opinion. You gave none. Yet, you talk about us not giving evidence. Well, I can't speak to any research, because I'm not that kind of writer-I DO deal in opinion.

However, I CAN speak to the homeschoolers I know. In my homeschool group, we have Hindus, atheists, Pagans, Christians, and I am in the process of converting to Judaism. We have liberals and conservatives. We have dads and moms. We have unschoolers and classical homeschoolers. We have single moms, traditional families, and not so traditional families. I don't THINK we have any black families. That is not because they are not welcome, but rather because there are not as many black homeschoolers as there are white homeschoolers. But, hello!, there aren't as many black people in America as there are white!

I don't know how you can say that something that is open to anyone, is so individual, and is a way of life that allows you to be what you want is racist. IF you can explain that, PLEASE do. Otherwise, I'm getting a bit tired of your rants about something you obviously know nothing about.

Mr. Lessenberry,
I'm a bit confused about your assertion that George Washington had slaves to do his 'heavy lifting' for him. My confusion rests in the question of whether you meant this physically or mentally. If you meant physically, then I cannot see how this has relevance to homeschooling. I also don't see where how he died has any relevance.

We are indeed a diverse society. Fortunately, homeschoolers have the ability to be out in that diverse society and meet people across all spectrums, not just the ones that go to the school where they live.

Others have spoken to why the bill is not necessary. I'll let you answer THEM.

People have repeatedly asked what curriculum you believe should be prescribed. The idea that one curriculum would fit all students is amazing. Once the schools have figured out which curriculum that is, maybe our children (in a very mobile society) will be able to move from one school to another (in the same county) and still be learning the same things at the same time!

You speak about a situation where two kids the same age have wildly different educational experiences. My family has lived in 4 different states since my oldest started school 6 years ago, thanks to my husband's job. I can guarantee you that there is no continuity in education in this country.

One of the BEST things about homeschooling is the ability to tailor the education to a student's abilities. You would have us ruin OUR children so that they can be like everyone elses'? That is one of the reasons homeschoolers don't like testing. We don't teach our students at the same pace as public schools. Sometimes we go faster. Sometimes we go slower. It all depends on what that particular child needs at that time. Besides, most teachers will tell you that testing does not accurately measure a child's learning. They hate testing. They don't like the fact that funding is tied into testing. They think that it is wrong to have as much riding on testing as they do. Really, the testing is not for the teacher. It is for the parent to be able to see how the student is doing. It is also for government oversight to know where tax dollars are going. I can guarantee you I don't get any of those tax dollars. And don't get me wrong. I have my children tested. They just don't take the normal tests that students their age take. It would, quite frankly, be a waste of their time. I have teachers in my family. All of them feel that testing is a waste of their time, and their students' time. Well, homeschooling families feel that way, too.

You are right that social interation is important. However, putting children in a group of age peers is not the solution to this problem. How many teachers do you know will search throughtout the country to find like minded friends for a 'quirky' student? They don't have the time. Do you really think the cliques present in school are teaching students anything about anything other than hatred and prejudice?

As to science, my sister was homeschooled from 6th grade on. She told me that the most important thing homeschooling taught her was how to learn. She felt she had some deficincies in her learning. However, she says that within the first semester of college, she was able to make up those deficiencies because she knew how to learn. She was a straight A honor student in college. So, I guess those deficiencies didn't come back to bite her.

As for homeschooling be necessary as a supplement, why should I teach my children after they've already spent 8 hours in school? Why can't the school accomplish in 8 hours what it takes most homeschoolers 3 or 4 hours to accomplish? After that 8 hours, my son has to come home and do 2 hours of homework? Homework that is just busy work for the sake of having homework? People wonder why their children are so tired, have little focus, and are overweight. Sure, watching TV and eating unhealthy has something to do with it. But, so does the inability to PLAY.

As for losing our identity as a people and a nation, it sounds like you're asking for conformity rather than diversity. If you want people to conform, then I can see why you want us all doing the same thing. But, please don't make a case for diversity while making a case for conformity.

@ Kristina,

I am tired on white folks like you in denial and making apologies for a racist movement. I do not need to seek your approval nor validation to have an opinion about racism in this country.
It is very apparent and obvious that my comments have hit a embrassing aspect of the homeschool movement..you and others who have wage personal atacks on me is not new for Black activists of note like me in reality it is an occupational hazard... I will not be silenced..
At the end of the day the home school movement has a deliberate blind spot about the issue of inclusion,diversity and racism in the home school movement.. I am so happy I have posted on this issue and I encourage others inside and outside this movement to discuss the issues of social isolation in this movement especially with regard to race and racism..

Ah, Thrasher. Still, you bring no proof. I can't see where I attacked you! Of course you don't need approval for opinions, so long as you understand they are opinions and not empirical data.

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