Home Schooling can be a travesty of Education.

It is about time that the government got to grips with the home schooling fiasco. While some parents have their children’s interests at heart few can provide the range of expertise to deliver good all-round education.

But the real danger lies with the Religious and Political extremists who want their kids at home so they can indoctrinate them!

Home schooling is a pit of religious and political extremism that requires dealing with.

It is good to hear that something is being done about it!

We need:

a. A register – so we know who is being educated at home and no child drops off the radar.

b. A full inspection – to ensure that the education is appropriate and good enough.

c. Or we need to stop home schooling altogether!!

38 thoughts on “Home Schooling can be a travesty of Education.

    1. I agree. Sadly kids miss out on a lot of valuable social interaction! I reckon that is extremely important in the development of the young mind.

  1. If done right it can be a wonderful thing. My daughter went to public school until 6th grade. She couldn’t do basic addition or subtraction and could not read more than a dozen words. I had numerous meetings and it made no difference. Her social anxiety was just too much and she mostly cried all day. So, I am thankful we do have options. The school let her enroll in choir and orchestra and she was able to attend other school functions as well to be part of a group. But, home schooling is brutal and hard work for the parent for sure. But, in three months time after removing her from school, she could do math and was reading the Lord of the Rings series. So, it does have its place. She still struggles with social anxiety and always will but she was able to learn better at home away from the intense fear and has a job!

    1. Thank you for sharing that. I would agree that in certain circumstances, such as you have outlined, with the right parents and right support home education can be very effective. I would suggest that in most cases this is far from the reality. The majority of parents are not equipped to provide the range of skills necessary. What concerns me most are those children who receive no education, very poor education or are indoctrinated by fanatical parents.

    2. Hi Granny K. Well done to you and your daughter. Our daughter had similar struggles and I didn’t particularly want to home school her myself but when she became distressed and suicidal because of issues at school, I knew this is what I had to do. After a while, my daughter began to regain her confidence and I found that I enjoyed the experience. The local council kept in regular touch and we had to submit examples of her work at regular intervals. I’m happy to say that she’s going to university this September and is greatly looking forward to it. All the very best to your daughter.

      1. Ellem – a great success story and well done you. That really takes a lot of commitment and hard work to educate well at home. In my experience very few manage it well. And good for the local council too. I’m glad they checked standards regularly. That is what is needed.
        My real gripe is with those parents who withdraw kids in order to either indoctrinate them into their cult or religion or leave them uneducated. Unfortunately I believe there are a lot of them.
        Home education done well requires exceptional parents. It sounds like you and Granny K have what it takes.

      2. GrannyK – it’s great if you have the skills to do it and I’m sure it is a valuable learning experience for both of you. You are right – it is incredibly hard. So well done!
        If home ed is done well and for the right reasons I would fully support it. It is does who don’t, or can’t do it right or do it for the wrong reasons who worry me.

  2. It’s an interesting question. From what I see here in Los Angeles, the home schooled kids do not seem to lack socialization and seem to be educated perhaps better than the average schoolkids. But the larger issue is the inadequacy of the public schools. The contracting out of education (just like so many other municipal services contracted out to private non-unionized companies) via what they call charter schools here has served to weaken public education. Hurray for the teachers. And hurray for those kids too.

    1. I’d second that Hurray!! The teachers and kids are great. It’s the politicians and system that fails them. Privatisation is a scandal. Selling a cheap product for profit is not worthy of being called education.
      I taught in Los Angeles for a year. The kids were great but the drugs and gangs were a real problem. The education standards were extremely low. But I did teach in a very deprived area – Norwalk.
      I think what was lacking was a system of good inspections to standardise practice and a national curriculum for people to work to. It did not seem stringent enough, financed enough or scrutinised enough.

      1. Ah. An LAUSD alumnus! Right, low budget. But tons of scrutiny, monitoring, statistics and numbers. Like most large institutions, the greatest headaches come from the institution itself.

      2. Hey Bumba – I don’t know what that means. But I sure don’t like bureaucracy. However, I think that we do need checks on standards. A happy compromise.

  3. This was interesting to read, Opher. My worry about home schooling is far different. Here in New England children who are home schooled are bright and cannot get a superior education in their public school. It has nothing to do with religion. The parents who homeschool have their own community. One parent does well teaching math, one science, etc. So, the children go to the homes of those parents for specific classes. I have many of these kids in my library reading group. I worry because they are not getting the social and emotional experiences that are life skills. They’re not accountable as well, meaning sleeping in an extra 30 minutes is no big deal. Well, it is a big deal, because (again), those are life skills. A rich education is a wonderful thing. Being able to work and play among your peers with some structure is a necessary life skill. These kids often have a hard time in high school.

    1. Thanks for that Jenny. You raise a number of valid points.
      Firstly, I think public education should be funded and given the priority to ensure that it is of the highest standard which, I think, would obviate the need for those parents to teach at home.
      Secondly, I would agree that home schooling can be very effective, particularly if parents pool their resources, but might not teach the social or life skills that are so valuable.
      Thirdly, so much of what goes on in the home in terms of education is below the radar. Standards are not checked. Kids remain unseen and could be abused in many ways with nobody knowing.
      Fourthly, the religious fanatics do very much use home schooling as a means of indoctrinating their children. We have Jewish, Islamic and many Christian sects using home schooling in this way. I find that scary and an abuse of the children.
      What I would really like to see is top quality state schools.

      1. You are right on every count, Opher. The religious part scares me, and so does the potential for abuse. Yes, top quality public (same as state) schools.

      2. I just hope that we get this sorted. A register of kids being home schooled is a step in the right direction. We can hope can’t we Jennie?

  4. The moment I read the title and saw the first few lines, I realized to have a dialogue one aspect at a time. To begin, children are the responsibility of the parents. Two parents, working together, raising their children. Even though I am a teacher, I applaud any parents who take educating their children seriously, and as long as their kids can read, write, and perform basic math, then work on improving their learning, I get it.
    Regarding religion, again, that’s for the parents to decide. A major reason so many parents left Europe, a major reason so many braved the dangers in a new country, a major reason we have a constitution, is so individuals and families can choose to follow religion as their consciences lead. What gives many hope, what makes growing up easier, what makes the difficulties of life when everything seems to be falling apart, is people’s religion. And hope brings the promises of better tomorrows. If a child, in my class, prays, say before starting their work, that is for them. And if their religion is different from my own, again, that is for them. That’s why America is the greatest country ever, though we’ve seen very difficult times in recent decades, but the framework has held true.
    Regarding quality of education. What is the purpose of education? To prepare. If parents’ children can read, write, and solve arithmetic problems…. I have heard of children learning at home, but also helping out with the parents’ businesses, say a restaurant. When the child is old enough, they will have the business sense and experiences to run their own businesses if not to continue their parents’. What a great preparation! To have real life experiences that last a lifetime!
    I do see a strong need for a historical understanding. I do see a need for our youth to understand how this country came to be. But again, I applaud parents when they take education on their own shoulders.

    1. So you are in favour of parents indoctrinating their children before they are old enough to even think or reason?
      Do you think there should be inspections to ensure children are being adequately educated?

      1. As a teacher, my concern is managing a group of students and educating them to the best of my abilities. If parents take this responsibility on their own shoulders, I can only commend them. Wow! Good for you. **I also know that children belong to the parents. They’re the parents. They had the children. And in an effective society, parents taking responsibility means better households, better opportunities for the youth.Unless there is a meth lab or training for thieves and that sort, what business is it of mine?

      2. Thanks for that Dolphin.
        I have no complaint if a parent has the skills and time to do the job properly.
        I suspect most don’t have either and the kids suffer. Teaching, as you know, is a hard, exacting job.
        Yes I can see your point about parenting. But I weigh it against the rights of the children. That is a difficult one. If parents are of a particular religion, cult or politics, does that give them the right to indoctrinate the children (to the exclusion of any counter-argument)? Or does the child have the right to be able to choose for themselves when they are old enough?

      3. I can understand the argument in a rhetorical fashion, but in practice, I would never want any over-riding authority to interfere with the family. Parents are the ones responsible for their children. Only when we see serious abuse, and I’m not talking spankings or the worse I got when I worked hard for those punishments (If my parents knew half the things I did out of their field of view, I certainly would have deserved much harsher punishments.), should the police step in. When I was growing up, we understood this simple concept. I had friends who sometimes complained of their harsh punishments, but when I look back, I know my friends “earned” those punishments. And regards instructing at home, that’s for the parents to decide, whether the children are prepared enough or otherwise. I will always hold to parental rights.

      4. Dolphin – I fear that by coming down for the rights of the parent you may well be ignoring the rights of the child. I would suggest that children have rights:
        a. Not to be physically or mentally abused
        b. Not to be brainwashed
        c. To be given good education.

      5. You’re walking down a path that leads to the removal of the very framework that is freedom and liberty. Would we like to be able to solve every social ill? Of course. Can we? Absolutely not. It’s kind of like saying don’t let your kids play outside because they might get hurt. As a kid, I did things that I’ve wondered how lucky I was to survive. But what’s the alternative? To be kept indoors? To be watched well-into young adulthood. To never experience independence and the consequences of my own actions? Then, I would never have grown up. Are there going to be parents that need serious counseling, and in some cases, separation from the home? Absolutely? Do I want to have a watchdog over every home, making sure the parents follow what over-riding entity thinks is best? Absolutely not. I would prefer liberty over some watchdog entity. I would prefer freedom over socialism.

      6. Dolphin – I can see the problem and there is no easy answer. At present 40,000 children are being ‘home schooled’. I wonder how many of them are being indoctrinated and brainwashed with some cultish religion? How many are receiving a good all-round education? How many are receiving no education? How many are being horribly abused?
        Once brainwashed you are never free.
        I value freedom as much as you. I don’t want to see children having their freedom removed for life. I don’t want to see them being abused or having their life opportunities greatly restricted.
        I don’t want an over-bearing system but one that checks they are alright and are receiving a good education – not abuse and brainwashing.
        I don’t see this as a socialist issue. Socialism does not come with restriction of freedoms. It is merely about a fairer more equitable society.

  5. There is the consideration of perspective and what I (and many others) view as a free society, one where it’s up to the people to decide how to pursue happiness. If I could remove all problems, would I? Yes and no. A perfect world? No, but as close as we can get to it. That comes with freedom. And with freedom comes responsibility, which also means consequences which is a great teacher. From my vantage, and most of those who began this country, I would much rather parents being responsible for their own, but this also comes with accepting consequences, then dealing with them, for in that, there is learning. In a free society, will there be mistakes? Will there be parents that don’t prepare their children better than others? Absolutely. But do I want an over-watching entity going into each home, determining what is best for the children rather than the parents taking on their own responsibilities as they see? Absolutely not. I suppose, in a sense, it can be the difference between freedom and individual responsibilities (liberty) and others telling everyone what is best (socialism). Neither is perfect, but I choose freedom.

    1. Dolphin – are you not putting the freedom of the parents over that of the children?
      Freedom is relative. I value my freedom and express it freely and regularly. I am for tolerance, compassion and liberalism. But I also think that one has to compromise in order not to intrude on the rights of others.
      Whose freedom are we protecting? The child or the parent?
      How does one protect the freedom of both?
      In my view the child comes first. His or her liberty of mind, thought and freedom from indoctrination takes precedence over the wishes of the parents.
      Many strictly religious people bring their children up in straitjackets.
      Many undereducated kids are unable to reach their potential.
      Many children are under the radar because they are being abused.
      Whose freedom are you after protecting? The right to abuse, neglect or brainwash your own children?

  6. It’s a matter of perspective and knowing the results of regulations. Let me put it this way. Let’s say, I know (or believe I know) the best way to raise and educate children (Of course, with each succeeding year, I see more that leads me to know I don’t know everything.). Then, based upon that belief, even evidence, I require every parent to follow my “book of rules,” and we come into homes to verify following the regulations. Do you see the problems?

    1. Yes I do. I personally think the way forward is to allow parents to make the decisions within clearly stated parameters and to check regularly, to monitor to see they are neither being abused or brainwashed. If it is deemed that the children are at risk then action needs to be taken.
      This is not a black and white area is it? I think it is very difficult.

  7. The thing I would never want, and that’s why we started this nation with an excellent constitution, which was designed to protect individual and family right over the state, is anyone else telling a family how to raise their children. With this comes parents being responsible for both the good and the consequences. When a country embraces this responsibility rises and people must learn from their own mistakes.

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