Homeschool Apologetics

An interesting article popped up on the web recently, and thanks to “Spunky spotting“, I’m doing a response.

Dave Arnold, head custodian at Browstown Elementary in Southern Illinois, says that homeschools are run by well-meaning amatuers.

“Certain jobs are best left to the pros, such as, formal education.”

Quickly, I would like to point out, that to administer a standardized test, all you have to do is have the ability to read. Then you can do anything.

Most people don’t take their kids out of schools because of teachers. So, strike one. Mr Arnold doesn’t tackle the issues of the curriculum and the enviroment.

He believes that only handicapped, bedridden, and farm kids (who live far from schools) should be homeschooled. Nonsense!

Mr. Arnold uses a number of statements that he found at a homeschool website, and states some valid concerns.

The webisite states that “It’s not a difficult as it looks.”

Arnold: “Let’s face it, teaching is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabees have no idea.”

Now, before you get riled up saying that you have every idea in the world and that he has no clue what he’s talking about. Take into consideration that this website is talking about prospective homeschoolers, who might not know what they’re getting into. But what else does the website say? What’s the context other than the fact they’re talking about prospective homeschoolers?

If you have to send your kids to school because you can’t control them enough to teach them, then you have some problems. Will homeschooling them help? I don’t know, I’m not a homeschooling mom.

When we have to send our kids to teachers to raise them how they want, and how the government wants, we may have some issues. No, we DO have issues.

Then the website makes a statement that can be taken wrong very easily:

“What about socialization? Forget about it!”

Arnold: “Forget about interacting with others? Are they nuts?”

Sure sounds that way, doesn’t it? That statement almost sounds sarcastic, or like a joke. Not interacting with others–ever–is a bad idea. Of course, Mr. Arnold’s definition of “socialization” could be different than this website’s defintion.

Let’s remember, you don’t have to go to public school to be “socialized.”

The website has this response:

“Okay, once again the socialization issue comes up. If this gentleman had spent 5 MINUTES learning about all the socialization that homeschooled kids get, he wouldn’t have bothered including it. But that would be too easy! Better to just assume we’re all backwoods wierdos isolating our kids from the world.

My kids are OUT in the WORLD. They play with other kids, not just the one’s their own age. By the way, how many original ideas are 7 year old’s boys getting from one another? Different ways to make fake noises with their bodies? Hardly enlightening.

My kids talk to grown ups, little kids, the elderly. They ask questions, take advantage of opportunities to meet new people. My kids don’t think it’s “gross” to play with their siblings, and will make new freinds every time we go to the park.

Homeschooled children are out interacting all the time. The difference is not that our children aren’t being socialized, or are “social misfits” but that more of their socialization experiences are positive. Even when there is conflict, there is more direct adult involvement to help them develop better resolution techniques than can be offered in the public school setting no matter how involved the teachers, simply because of adult to child ratios!”

That’s what I’m talking about!

Then the website makes a statement that Mr. Arnold grabs like a kid after candy:

“Visit our online bookstore.”

Arnold: “Buying a history, science, or math book does not mean an adult can automatically instruct others about the book’s content.”

No, it doesn’t. But, like I said, if you can read, you can probably pass on the information. With all the resources we have today, it’s not hard to teach. Anyone can do it.

But Mr. Arnold continues to call homeschooling parents gullible, dumb, inadequate, and making their children unsocialized.

Then Arnold takes, what I would consider, some desperate measures.

“Another website asks for donations…It’s obvious to me that these organizations are in it for the money.”

Conspiracy theories? Let’s not go there.

These organizations are responding to responsible parents who are making good decisions for their kids. In a business, you try to make money.

Then he goes to a better “argument.”

“One web site that I visited stated that the best way to combat our nation’s “ungodly” public schools was to remove students from then and teach them at home or a Christian school.

I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children our schools is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been fought be retreating.”

By homeschooling we’re combating. Some homeschoolers may have used homeschooling as a way to retreat, I know. But that’s not the general case.

Public schools are now being forced to reconsider their curriculum, which is absolutely “ungodly.” They’re trying to find out what they’ve done wrong. Losing students=losing money. Not good.

Homeschoolers can have just as much an opportunity, if not more, to affect the culture and government.

We’re not retreating–we’re attacking in a way you didn’t think of.

“Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary, and behavioral skills?”

Stop. Notice he says, “Parents have [the] job [of] teaching social…skills.”

No explanation necessary.

“They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible.”

Knowledgable? Then what are homeschoolers?

Trained? Do you need special training? I guess that’s debatable. I certainly don’t think so.

Motivated? I believe that homeschoolers most certainly are motivated to teach their kids the best that they can.

Ask the majority of homeschool mom’s and dad’s if they feel equipped. With all those money-grubbing businesses we have plenty of resources–resources that are making the public schools lose money because we’re not in them.

(On a side note, the article was only the author’s opinion, and not necessarily the NEA’s)

If you’d like to contact Mr. Arnold, I believe you can write:

451 W. Cherokee, Brownstown, IL.

If you’d like to contact me:

Or comment. Thanks!

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