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Looking for part 1 of VP Epistula's The Problem with Homeschooling. Anyone have it?

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Does anyone who receives Veritas Press's Epistula remember seeing Marlin Detweiler's Part 1 of "The Problem with Homeschooling"?


I've just read his most recent article The Problem with Homeschooling, Part 2 and would love to read Part 1 but can't find it. He touches on some real problems and offers some good advice. I, like the Detweiler's have seem homeschooling on both sides. As a 20 year homeschooler, I've experienced the down-and-dirty of it. Now, as a private school teacher, I see the results of all kinds of attempts at homeschooling when parents decide to enroll their children in a traditional classroom school after spending some years homeschoolings. Boy, could I write a book about this.


At any rate, I'd like to read the first part of his article.


Many thanks to anyone who can link it!


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LOL! Well this will fill your ear! Quickly, students we get who have been homeschooled are, more often than not, poorly prepared. One reason for this, I believe, is that parents who embark on the journey think it will be a lot easier than it really is. And, in some respects, it is easier when the student is younger. But when the student gets into harder material--about middle school age--that's when the parents realize someone else must take the reins. That's when we find out what they can and cannot do. Most common is grammar. Most have no inklings what the parts of speech are. (But, then, students we get from the public school don't know either because the PS does not teach grammar at all anymore.) Many do not know capitalization or punctuation. And many are woefully weak in math. Besides all this (and there is more), many of these home-to-classroom students have difficulty at first with technical things like learning to write on the front side of notebook paper, using pencils and not markers, and following directions. I surmise that's because "it doesn't matter" during homeschooling days. And I completely understand that--I experienced this when I homeschooled. Anyway, this description isn't for all home-to-classroom students. I've had a few who have come from stellar homeschooling situations who are better than our best students who have always been in a traditional classroom. Oh, one more thing--many homeschool students do not understand how to study for tests and cannot take tests very well at first because they have never been given proper tests.


It's interesting because whenever we learn of a new student coming and find out he is a homeschooled student, we groan because we know we will be doing a lot more extra work to get the student to grade level. And parents don't understand why their child who is 11 (and normally in 6th grade) can barely do work at 5th grade level. Instead of wanting the child to back up and really learn, they always insist that he be enrolled at his age grade level. Then we really groan. :)


Told you this would be an earful!

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Guest Frenchcoffeepress
It's interesting because whenever we learn of a new student coming and find out he is a homeschooled student, we groan because we know we will be doing a lot more extra work to get the student to grade level. And parents don't understand why their child who is 11 (and normally in 6th grade) can barely do work at 5th grade level.

I'm not always in favor of responding to criticisms of home education in the spirit in which they are given, because I think misconceptions easily abound in such a discussion. However, you have seen fit to very directly wax eloquent on the pitfalls of home education, with very little to remedy your rather abrasive viewpoint beyond a couple allocating remarks about plausible merits of homeschooling, even though they must be earned by the skin of one's teeth. Rather, it would seem, as though you were doing a double-take and throwing us disgruntled home educators a bone. :lol: I feel compelled to throw a couple points in reply to your statements, and pray that they are taken in the spirit of humility and honesty with which they are proffered.

I do not think that anyone who has given home education a serious study would discount it as sketchy, unilateral, bigoted or unsuitable to prepare a child for such strenuous technical skills as writing on the same side of the page. Surely such skills, basic necessities, are such that come after the child has mastered such things as respect. Or a knowledge of God. Or empathy. Shall we throw away a good standing about home education, simply because bubble-in tests attempt to measure the mental capability of a child who may perhaps be brilliant in their given field, but perhaps more inclined to that field instead of the uniform test-taking drudge of public and, yes, even conservative, classical private schools? Character is what counts. Begin with that, and you have a foundation upon which to cultivate necessary intellectual skills. But do we call a child stupid or unprepared, just for writing on the wrong side of the page? Did Einstein's mother cease to encourage her son when he refused to tie his shoelaces?

The very nature of home education demands an emphasis placed upon the family-centric lifestyle, and a transcendent fertilization of character qualities that point towards a loving and just Creator. Home education is not a legalistic set of jussives, exorbitant technical skill, or a plodding climb up an unnecessary mountain. Do I believe that basic skills are necessary? Of course. But I do think that garnering a child's self-confidence, encouraging them to seek knowledge on their own two feet (even if they write reports on their findings on the wrong side of the page), and emanating a love for their Designer must come before technicalities. If education is nothing more than a grade, or a letter by which to judge original thoughts and creative expressions, why should any parent bother to put their time and energy, tears and sweat into a child? Because they, the children, are worth it. Because they have value as an individual. Getting a little basic, am I not? ;) But even the hallowed hallways of education trace its roots back to the fertile ground of purpose, meaning, morals, reason, ethics, and the knowledge of right and wrong.

That a child should engender groaning amongst his teachers frankly sickens me. Were I to receive such disregard for my education from my teachers, I should shut down quite easily! No wonder so many children have no motivation to learn--their teachers are apathetic.

Even in a private school setting, flaws abound. Why? Because parents should teach their own, if they are conceivably able to. Unless you live out in the wilds of Africa with no mail and no way to buy curriculum, and were unable to communicate with your child, and your child was wasting away from some disease for which there was no cure...unless this, teach them. Why? Because it's a duty. It's a precious right that parents have, to draw the hearts of their children closer to them in correction and instruction in the academic as well as the parent-to-child relationship. Parents don't teach their children solely for a good grade, or a brain full of useless trivia that they will never fall back on as one-sided, unbalanced adults. They slave day after day, stay away night after night, blow cash on curriculum, and duke it out with flighty Amazon sales so that their children might grow up to debunk such a narrow view of education, which you have presented here and which I dearly hope and seriously doubt you truly adhere to. Home education is by no means a panacea; it doesn't automatically fix problems, teach your child to read in ten easy lessons, equip them with test-taking strategies to score high on every single college test they might face. It rather presents them with a fascinating world, unshackles their minds, and tells them, 'Have at it--it's yours.'

I can't tell you how many blatantly idiotic comments and actions I have seen in just one semester at a public college (at which I have a 4.0--I was in no way stunted on account of my education at home, all twelve years ;)). I have spoken with some brilliant professors. One, a history professor who has traveled the world and earned a reputation as somewhat terrifying. This man sees home education for what it is, a reversion to the old methods back when men were men and women were women, when "education" meant something, meant more than a bunch of mechanically bubbled-in answers. That he would see its merits proves that I do not rely on sentimentalism. My French teacher, who has two middle-school aged sons, is realizing the pitfalls of public education and confided to me that she would homeschool, if she could do it all over again. How many more parents must wish for that chance, to do it over again, before the home education myth is blown out of the water? It's the parents' hard work, the child's responses, the moving of the Holy Spirit, the materials used, and the brains behind those materials that makes a great education, which in turn makes a great person. It's also the character qualities that must be taught at top priority, so that the child will, when asked what constitutes a good, sound education, honor those and He Whose names are to be accredited with giving him the tools he needs to be educated and then to educate.

Do we want robots who write on the correct side of the page? Or bold, truly humble men and women who not only have education, but wisdom as well?

I pray that I've given you, and anyone else who might be curious, food for thought. :lurk5: Because I am not looking for an argument, merely stating my thoughts, I probably will not respond to anything antagonistic because I am not seeking to make you or anyone else angry. But I do believe that truth, when it has an opportunity to be stated, must be stated. You may ask anything you like, should you feel the need to.

I also believe that someone who is criticizing the tenets of grammatical expertise as evinced by home educated children probably shouldn't follow that observation with such a sentence:

Most have no inklings what the parts of speech are.

Especially if you advertise the fact that you are an English teacher.

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Thanks for your reply, frenchcoffeepress. As we all try to express our thoughts and responses without the presence of our actual beings, difficulties arise, especially when it comes to topics that are dear to people's hearts.


I appreciate your thoughts and do not disagree with one of them. If you read my signature line (which you obviously did -- and yes, I fail to catch all mistakes while proofreading), you will see that I homeschooled four children for twenty years from the beginning through high school graduation. I am not unaware of all the positives of homeschooling. I believe, and encourage those who can, that homeschooling is *the best* way to raise and educate our children.


But after walking in shoes on the opposite side of the track for several years, I have found that not *all* homeschooling is done in the way you were homeschooled, or I did it, or most on this board do it. Many homeschool with great seriousness and resolve. But there are many more who begin homeschooling for, what I have found and call, knee-jerk reaction reasons. In ways, these parents sort of remind me of the two who jumped over the wall in Pilgrim's Progress, wanting the result without the journey.


Your well-formed and articulate reply seemed from the standpoint of a student's advocate which I appreciate and agree. You have been given given a good-and-proper education (your parents have done a great job!). My comments, however, were from the standpoint of the teacher of any educational pursuit. Not everyone takes takes the task of teaching their children as seriously as your parents did. :)


I also realize that some of my comments may have sounded rather abrasive in this form of quick, presence-less communication, but they were not intended to be abrasive. Causing others to become defensive is not my ploy; I was only offering a quick, though public, response to Snickerdoodle because both of us have been on these boards a long time and I "knew" her. Had the question come from someone I was unfamiliar with, I would not have replied because of the unintended responses this sensitive issue can elicit. Be confident that I am not bashing homeschooling. :)


I have no doubt that if we sat down for a person-to-person conversation over a cup of coffee (and maybe we can one day), we would find what kindred spirits we are. :)

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I can see both sides. While I am fairly sure that my kids are working at or above the level of their schooled age-mates, they might actually struggle if I were to now put them in school due to their lack of understanding of how school culture works. I can understand how frustrating it would be for teacher to get a new student who needed a lot of remediation on simple tasks that all of the other kids knew.


Many people homeschool to avoid having their child(ren) standardized, but when it doesn't work out for whatever reason, it can be a disservice to the child to hand them off to the school without some basic preparation for what they will encounter.

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