What is your first reaction to the term home schooling? ( Do you think home schoolers are religious or political radicals?)
Home schooling is a good way, for a family who can afford to have one parent stay home and teach, give a child more indiviualized attention and allow them to learn at a faster pace. I think the biggest problem with homeschooling is it doens't give the child as much direct exposure to ideas and attitudes from people outside the family.
Are you insulted by home schooling? no
Are you offended that what we do may be in question
by the parent or student that wants homeshooling?
No. If the school's achievement or graduation rate is low I would have questions about the school environment
Who do think home schools? and why?
People who do not have access to a good school system, religious and/or political radicals, intelligent people who feel the school makes learning a chore and don't feel the school is challenging, and people who had horrible experiences in school when they were young.
Do you think home schoolers have any district or state mandated requirements? Are you
aware of any requirements?
Yes, I know at least two states that have requirements. I know they are inforced in PA because my sister homeschools her kids and her stepdaughter didn't pass the efficieny test so she had to start attending the local school again.
Should homeschoolers be allowed to to participate in curricular(classes) or extracurricular
activities that the public school provides?
Yes. I think it is good for the homeschooled kids to interact with others and its also good for the school kids to interact with someone who is being taught differently than them. If the school is public then anyone should be allowed to particpate. I know that most school districts are paid by the state based on attendance, so if the school is paid for that child being in just one class, there shouldn't be a problem. As for extracurricular activities, the child should have to pay the normal fees. I only see this as becoming a problem if there are large amounts of homeschooled kids who start to form either an elitist or outsider group at theschool. I had a good friend in HS whose mother pulled her out sophmore year (along with her younger siblings) for homeschooling. Fortunately, she was still allowed to come to orchestra class and so I still got to see her twice a week!
Why are the numbers of home schoolers increasing? (what needs are we not meeting?)
I think the answers are varied but mainly: not enough individualized attention; less than challening curriculum; teaching students to quell creativity and think in the box (hopefully not in a school with a good arts program!)and people who want their children to be taught in a religious context and don't have access to religious schools of their choice.
My local survey indicates that teachers think that the home schooled child misses out on the
socialization aspect of attending school. Is this valid?
Yes. I think its a big problem and can lead to problems with social development. But on the other hand the main reason my sister decided to homeschool is that she was mercilessly teased and tormented throughout her school years. She feels, and I agree with her, that this type of social interaction is detrimental to the child's well-being on a longterm basis. Educators and parents and ultimately the student need to learn how to address this type of situation. But if its not addressed and the parents or students don't know what to do then it doesn't make sense to simply leave the child in the situation. My stepnewphew is very small for his age and was getting beat up at the busstop by a bully. The school principal wouldn't punish the bully or address the situation so my sister and her husband pulled my nephew out for homeschooling. They eventually moved to a new neighborhood that had a better school. My nephew wanted to attend the local school to be with other kids so his par
ents enrolled him. So far, he's been going for a couple years. He has a couple friends and is doing average in academics.
I spent an hour yesterday interviewing a child that comes weekly to my video production club , but is otherwise home schooled. He is doing incredible stuff with video and computer stuff. He is motivated to work all day on what compels him. He is faithful to my club. His special needs don't fall into the categories so home schooling is working for him. His reasons are pursuit of interest and I am respectful of what he feels the school was not giving him.
Can we embrace all alternatives to educating all children and, perhaps, disregard our notions of what we regard as tradition?
As long as a child is educated, alternatives are fine. I think its a good idea for even regular school teachers to disregard certain notions of "tradition". We should all constantly evaluate what we do and how we teach. Anyway, much of the status quo in schools today was a break with tradition in the past.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your research. -Ellen