What is the best way to educate our children? There are two ways of educating children, formally through traditional public or private institutions, or informally through home schooling. The primary issue is which, if either, is more effective or correct.
The other problem is in defining home schooling as informal. Is home schooling always informal? Is traditional schooling always formal? Sub-problems Secondary issues center around the problems that people have with home schooling or formal schooling.There are potential legal problems with home schooling as there is no standard federal law and is subject to individual state interpretation. There are presumed social problems including home schooled children’s lack of social skills and the possibility of being victims of domestic violence through extreme parental control. Another problem is the potential for lack of critical and analytical thinking skills due to being shielded or sheltered from important social issues or stimuli.
Problem Environment The primary stakeholders are the children that are completing their primary and secondary education. Secondary stakeholders are the parents.Tertiary stakeholders include everyone that these children must interact with as they become adults including peers, employers, and eventually their own children.
Proponents and opponents describe the the problem from differing perspectives of the educational environment. Proponents of home schooling define the formal educational institution as a problem environment based on the way in which formal institutions present and address morals, ethics, and values. Opponents of home schooling define the home as a problem environment based on the lack of social structure that does not expose children to social learning situations.
Factors to Consider Demography and characteristics of home schooling families. Consider the type of families who choose home schooling. Of equal importance is to provide a fair comparison to the types of families that choose traditional schooling. The goal is to determine if there are any significant differences in parents that choose home schooling that can be adequately assigned as some risk factor or legitimate reason to oppose home schooling. Goals and objectives of education as defined by the primary educator. What is the motivating factor behind the education?Is it to teach morals and values in a religious context, or is it to provide a safer more convenient environment for learning? What information and skills does the primary educator want the children to learn or what information and skills do they not want the children to learn? The general goals of education are to impart basic academic skills such as reading, writing, math, and sciences. Other goals include preparation for college and/or preparation for vocations and teaching specific vocational skills that allow graduates to immediately enter the workforce.If the traditional school system is focused on vocational education, it may be reasonable for parents who wish to focus on college preparation to home school.
The same applies if the school system focuses on college preparation, parents may use home schooling to impart vocational skills. Challenges, weaknesses, and barriers in providing education. Dealing with disabilities is a significant challenge in education. If the traditional school is not equipped provide for a special needs child, home schooling may be preferred by the parents.On the other hand, if a school system has a program for children with specific disabilities there may be greater opportunities in a traditional school because equipment and other supplements are readily available at no cost to the parents. Curriculum development is an important consideration. Home schoolers may use material and curriculum that closely match the traditional school system but in a different setting.
Parental attempts at creativity or targeted learning may be to the exclusion of basic skills required and tested by state exams.Ambiguous Words or Phrases “Home education may be a sensible choice for a minority of children who are deeply unhappy at school or whose needs are so extreme that they cannot be met by mainstream education, but it cannot be the sensible option for most children. ” (Bodwitch) The author uses the phrase sensible option as if it is quantifiable and qualifiable. The viewpoint proposes that home schooling leads to a lack of social learning without properly identifying what social learning is, or what options, methods, or information is sensible for social learning.“For make no mistake, when you assume that the Federal Communications Commission’s job is to make sure your kids don’t hear bad words on the radio, you are falling down on the job as a parent. In my opinion, parents are much better off in a world where there are no legal restrictions on what radio stations can play. That way, all of us will have to engage our kids at an early age to discuss what is out there and why. ” (Fagin, 2006) It is difficult to determine if the author is proposing that learning works best, or has the best chance of occurring when children are exposed to things that are illegal and immoral.
Theories or Models One prevailing theory that is mirrored throughout the readings is that home schooling provides a drug and violence free environment and that Home schoolers achieve a level of academic excellence not found widely in traditional schools. The other prevailing theory is that Home schoolers are taught better values and morals than in traditional schools. In short, the theory is that traditional school provides negative influences while home schooling provides positive influences.Assumptions Home schooling is the result of desire for excessive parental control.
The choice of home schooling is driven by prejudices such as homophobia. Children who are home schooled lack social skills. Home schooling is monitored by all state education boards. Evidence According to Lyman (2004), 42% of parents who home school do so because of dissatisfaction with the level of safety, presence of drugs, and amount of peer pressure in schools as reported by the Florida Department of Education.
According to Lyman (2004) just over 10% of participant in the national spelling bee where Home schoolers, which dispels the idea that Home schoolers lack socialization opportunities. Kevin Jennings supports the idea that learning gay lesbian issues in school enhances critical thinking and understanding based on his personal experience at a school board-parent meeting about the subject where parents displayed basic misunderstanding about the subject. Potential SolutionsMy solution is that all public school systems should have a certified curriculum for Home schoolers and allow the children o participate in school based extra curricular activities. One theme throughout the readings is to allow children exposure to objectionable material in media and though the internet for creativity sake and to create social learning opportunities. Another solution is for parents to develop greater understanding of peer pressure and parental influence so they can be more comfortable sending their children into those situations.Limitations or Drawbacks Including children in extracurricular activities with the traditional school puts them into the environment and subject to the influences that parents object to. Exposure to obscene and objectionable material may not enhance children’s learning and critical decision making skills especially is they are attracted to that material or if parents don’t object and teach the downside of such material. Parents can be as influenced by peer pressure as their children.
Some parents provide a level of peer pressure to their children. Other parents may not have the time to learn or ability to understand and apply approaches to combating peer pressure. Different Views Traditional school systems seem to be neutral about the home school debate. Other than conducting surveys and compiling information many state and local boards take no specific approach to the debate.
The children who receive home schooling have not been surveyed well for their viewpoints.There could also be more surveying of traditional school students to gauge their opinion of home schooling. Few instances exist where children want to return to traditional school but no clear consensus on what children think.
Parents of special needs students often see a benefit in taking children out of traditional school for special or needs based education, but many don’t go as far as home schooling although they identify a clear benefit in separate education.ReferencesA Parent Advocates Engaging Children About Media Indecency. (2006). In Jill Karson Contemporary Issues Companion: Civil Liberties Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
11 Mar. 2009, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center via Gale. Deaf Children Can Benefit from Mainstreaming. (1997). In Brenda Stalcup Current Controversies: The Disabled.
San Diego: Greenhaven Press. 11 Mar. 2009, Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center via Gale.