More Support for Home SchoolingIn response to Steve...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 24, 1994

More Support for Home Schooling

In response to Steve Childers' letter to the editor on home schooling (March 27), he missed the point. His failing to comprehend the point is understandable; he was responding to a biased article in the very biased Sun. The issue at the heart of the home schooler's disagreement with the teacher certification law was governmental control of individual choices. This may seem minor and silly, but if you look closely at the arguments presented by Mr. Childers and the law in question, there is one theme -- the government knows better than you how to raise and educate your children. Any individual who believes this failed to learn the lessons taught to us by the book, "1984," by George Orwell.

It is nonsensical to consider that having a master's degree or passing a certification test makes a person a good educator. Having six years of college certainly implies being educated, but not the ability to educate. Teaching requires many skills, including the self-honesty to hold yourself open to learning from your children; the skill in being flexible in how, when and what is taught, and the ability to be creative in designing education.

Another point raised in Mr. Childers' letter questioned the quality of education afforded a home-schooled child. Any teacher will tell you that the teacher-to-student ratio is a vital factor in learning. Home schoolers win hands down when the public schools have teacher to student ratios around 20-something to one.

Mr. Childers also questioned home schoolers only being taught for two hours a day. Conservatively, our family's experience with home schooling is that with our teacher to student ratio and undistracted independent learning time, two to three hours a day allows us to accomplish in a week what the public schools can do in a month in all subjects.

Statistics over the past number of years unequivocally state the public school systems are educationally failing our children. I can understand questioning the efficacy of home schooling and recent studies show home schoolers do as well or better than publicly educated children. However, given the government's miserable record in educating our children, I would recommend you demand better performance from it before you allow it to legislate away an effective alternative.

The argument most often cited by critics, and one raised by Mr. Childers, is one of socialization. I personally have found this argument as hollow as most other arguments against home schooling.

When I was in public school, parents worried about their kids having sex and taking drugs. In the current public school socialization process, the school encourages premarital sex, drug use remains high and exposes our children to violence similar to what is seen in our prison system. . . . My children play with other children in our neighborhood, go on field trips with other home-school children, participate in local recreation council sporting activities, go to Sunday school and participate in various club activities. I am not an isolationist and neither are most of the other home schoolers with whom I am acquainted. I simply find the socialization process of the public schools more destructive than positive. There are many studies that support my view, from adjustment studies to studies that indicate relying on peers from an early age impairs independent thinking and lowers self-esteem. . . . Given the choice I would rather influence (not control) my children's choice of peers rather than giving that influence to the government.

. . . Home schooling is not for everyone. It demands much of a family. Teaching children can be extremely rewarding; ask one of the many excellent teachers we have in the public schools. I believe when asked why they teach, their answer will not include the pressure, the demands of patience, the low pay or the bureaucracy. Somewhere in their answer I believe you will hear the message that being a part of a child's learning process is an incredible and indescribable reward. Home schoolers enjoy this reward every day with the most important children in the world, their own.

hawn M. Loftus

Edgewood

Don't Forget

The headlines for April 5 are quoted as follows: "Budget easily gets OK -- Assembly approves $13.3 billion without new taxes."

If you accept the above statement as truth, you should be very pleased with the efforts of your legislators on your behalf.

Well, once again you have been duped, hoodwinked, led down the primrose path and grossly misinformed. What you haven't been told, and what you are expected to forget, are some of the real facts.

In 1987, we were taxed by $120 million with the enactment of a 5-cents per gallon gasoline tax. We were also taxed by $400 million more in personal income taxes when previous deductions were eliminated.

In 1991, our taxes were increased by $93 million in various sales taxes and capital gains taxes.

In 1992, a banner year, our taxes were increased by $70 million passed through state only Medicaid costs to hospitals.

We also were taxed by $341 million in various sales and income taxes. Another $120 million more because of an additional 5-cent increase in gasoline taxes. We were also taxed an additional $160 million on local "piggyback" taxes.

Now, that is quite a record for the Schaefer/Democratic team -- a real measurable tax increase which still burdens our life everyday -- a total of $1.3 billion, and nobody wants you to remember. What they want is for you to overlook their inefficiencies, their excess spending, their ineffective programs, inadequate control of your money and re-elect them to office.

They want to be rewarded for making a critical situation much, much worse.

You should remember that there is a tremendous power in your "voting finger." Identify the culprits, one click and they are history. . . .

Fred C. Lange

White Hall

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