Home Schooling's Defenders Reply to LetterIf Steve...


April 10, 1994

Home Schooling's Defenders Reply to Letter

If Steve Childers of Aberdeen had written his comments about home schooling (Harford Viewpoints, March 27) 10 years ago, they might have been understandable. Now, however, with the research that has been done since that time, his ignorance is inexcusable.

First, he notes that most teachers have master's degrees in education, whereas most parents do not. Although this is true, studies of home schoolers' standardized test scores show that there is absolutely no correlation between the parents' training in education and the achievement of their children.

Second, he contends that home schoolers only conduct two hours of instruction at home, whereas the school provides six instruction-packed hours in which all major subjects are covered. I taught for nine years in public and private schools, and I cannot remember a single year where I was able to cover all the material in the curriculum. (My home-schooled students consistently do.)

The six hours allotted to a school day are woefully shortened when you deduct time for collecting lunch money, distributing materials for fund-raising, collecting homework, listening to announcements, disciplining, reteaching for students who didn't get it the first time, traveling between classrooms, attending assemblies, preparing for holiday programs, etc.

In contrast, although fewer hours are spent on formal instruction, home schooling really occurs around the clock. My home-schooled students are involved in many educational activities after school hours, such as private lessons, plays, concerts, library visits, etc. They are receiving more education in more subjects than I was ever able to give students in a traditional setting.

Mr. Childers goes on to state that traditional schooling better prepares a student for life. Studies that have been conducted of home school graduates indicate that all have successfully gone on to higher education and/or career -- and not one is on welfare. Mr. Childers further contends that traditional education provides the socialization needed to succeed in the working world. I challenge Mr. Childers to find one work setting where 30 adults of the same age are together in an environment that is centered around them. In reality, home education teaches children to work together under a designated authority with people of all ages and differing abilities, which more adequately reflects the "real world." . . .

Home-schooled students have a vast network of friends of all ages, made through church, community, recreation centers, Scout troops, etc. Studies have shown that home-schooled students actually demonstrate higher levels of self-esteem and maturity and are less aggressive and competitive than their peers from traditional school settings.

M. Jean Soyke

Ellicott City

The writer is a board member of the Christian Home Educators Network, Inc.

I am writing in response to a letter titled, "Home Schooling," which appeared in The Sun for Harford County on March 27. Steve Childers wrote a letter expressing his concern about home schooling.

If he does not think that home schooling would work for his children then he has the option to send them to public or private schools. I went to a private kindergarten and public schools, and I am completely satisfied with the education that I have received. . . . Does certification mean that that person is a good teacher? It means that a person has a nearly complete if not complete understanding of that subject. That knowledge cannot help anyone unless it can be shared in such a manner that other people can understand.

In home schooling, a child is allowed to develop at his own rate. Many days may be spent on a difficult subject, while minimal time is spent with easy subjects. A child who is home-schooled can go away on vacation without worrying about missing school work. Also, if a home-schooled child becomes ill, the work can be adjusted accordingly.

As far as meeting other children goes, there are parks and recreation teams and athletic centers and many other public places where children can make friends. Just because someone is home-schooled does not mean that he is locked up until he leaves for college. Also, if a child wants to play an instrument, lessons are available through local music stores and musicians.

I find no need to question or doubt the abilities of parents who decide to home-school their children. Obviously, the parents who home-school care so much about their children . . . . How necessary are free time and finger-painting and basic home ec classes? I guess dodgeball has helped my reflexes in driving.

Darlene Papier


Take Politics Out of Policing

The recent decision of the grand jury not to indict detention center guards in relation to the March 1992 death of inmate William Martin Ford in the Harford County Detention Center has brought about a flurry of political accusations and name-calling. A very serious issue has become a political football.

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