Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see – Neil Postman

A response to the completely asinine “7 reasons I’d never homeschool my teen”

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Sigh. This kind of stupid list is published a lot. It’s a bit of a joke, ged it?? ha ha chortle chortle, at the expense of home educators who do a tough job made tougher by the fact that it questions the normativity of schools.

Anyway, now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s explore the list. It’s not from a ‘reputable’ source, in the sense that it’s a cafepress.com list. The article is called “7 Reasons I’d Never Homeschool My Teen” and it’s a “hot list” along with other truly earth shattering lists such as, the 5 reasons I could never live without my iPhone 5 and Kate Middleton’s 5 most unforgettable eye makeup moments. The seven reasons are:

  1. I could probably get him through algebra and geometry, but we’d both need a tutor when it came to calculus. Sure, I took it in high school but it was in one ear and out the other as soon as the final was finished.
  2. I can’t imagine his first intense classroom setting being a college lecture. Talk about intimidating.
  3. We’d get sick of each other by week four two.
  4. When he complains about his bitchy teacher, he’ll be talking about me.
  5. When I complain about my crappy job, I’ll be talking about him.
  6. I can’t teach him the same survival instincts you learn navigating your way though mean girls, jocks, geeks, or whichever else cliques exist these days.
  7. I’m not a trained educator. Parents love to complain about their kids’ teachers but it’s a tough job. Probably one of the toughest. It’s a combo of instructor, counselor, soother, conflict resolution expert, and motivator. How exhausting is that?!

I will address each one because it’s really easy to pull this kind of thing down. I know it’s all meant in jest but, as a researcher into home education, I see the kind of damage this kind of list does. So, here goes:

I could probably get him through algebra and geometry, but we’d both need a tutor when it came to calculus. Sure, I took it in high school but it was in one ear and out the other as soon as the final was finished.

Two responses. One, does your child (I’m assuming son but girls can be homeschooled too!) really need calculus? Seriously? What about if they aren’t going into pure math, engineering or some other field that requires calculus. If so, why labour the point and study it? Two, if they do need it, why can’t they get a tutor? You’re saving all that money on private schools in New York, after all, you stated “with the cost of private school in New York City, the idea is an attractive one”, so you can probably afford one

I can’t imagine his first intense classroom setting being a college lecture. Talk about intimidating.

For most of us who went to uni, the first lecture was intimidating, it had nothing to do with being homeschooled.

We’d get sick of each other by week four two and When he complains about his bitchy teacher, he’ll be talking about me.

This is easy, it seems that you would want to be in your child’s hair. A good homeschooler provides all the resources the child needs and then gets out of the way (Hunt, nd). If your kid is sick of you, you’re doing it wrong. And, if you don’t want your child to complain about their teacher being a bitch, don’t be a bitch. Simple.

When I complain about my crappy job, I’ll be talking about him.

Why would you complain about your crappy job? If you trust your child to learn about whatever it is that interests them, and is of importance to them. Your job is merely to provide them with what they need and to leave them alone. As Holt (1995, p. 293) argues:

[B]y nature people are learning animals. Birds fly; fish swim; humans think and learn. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing, or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do – and all we need to do – is to give children as much help and guidance as they need and ask for, listen respectfully when they feel like talking, and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest.”

Possibly, home education isn’t for you.

I can’t teach him the same survival instincts you learn navigating your way though mean girls, jocks, geeks, or whichever else cliques exist these days.

Not sure that teaching children about the awful aspects of the world through school is an end goal. They will see people who are mean, people who are geeks (why they’re a problem, I’m not sure) and about cliques will happen naturally. They’ll meet mean people, they’ll meet geeks and they’ll meet cliques (after all, aren’t the friends their parents choose likely to be ‘people like them’ as that is generally who people gravitate towards and thus, they’ll meet cliques in the sense that their parents will choose friends who are like them) in real life. As Gatto (2005) argues, a lot of the time, bullies et al. are really bored. He states that schools resemble prisons and, as a result, they mimic the cliques, the meanness, the dispirited nature of prison life (Gatto, nd). So, if you don’t want your child to live like it’s in a prison, and you’re worried that it won’t be able to cope in a prison, then don’t send it there.

I’m not a trained educator. Parents love to complain about their kids’ teachers but it’s a tough job. Probably one of the toughest. It’s a combo of instructor, counselor, soother, conflict resolution expert, and motivator. How exhausting is that?!

Not sure this is any different to the role of the parent anyway, particularly up to the age of 6, when children are sent to school. And, parents complain about their children’s teachers because, they’re told to complain about their children’s teachers, because teachers are constantly being sold by the media as inept, lazy, illiterate, innumerate and as having a whole host of other bad attributes. However, this is not the case. In spite of this, as research indicates, home educated children are actually performing better than their traditionally schooled peers.

The question is, can you afford to not homeschool your teen?

6 Responses to “A response to the completely asinine “7 reasons I’d never homeschool my teen””

  1. kmcg2375

    Bleurgh. If someone wrote a similar list “7 reasons I’d never send my kid to public/private school”, we’d see it as just plain rude. This is no different.

    Amen to number 5: if any teacher thinks their job is ‘crappy’, it’s a sign that the job really ain’t for you!

    Reply
  2. suzanne tobin

    I loved this oneBec.  Suzanne xx

    ________________________________

    Reply

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