Thursday, May 20, 2010

Home Schooling: It May Not be What You Think

I wrote about home schooling a little over a month ago, after reading a particularly ill-researched bit of news from The Associated Press. Summarizing some of the major points of that post:
  • Being concerned about the religious or moral instruction of your kids is not the same as
    • Thinking Bishop Ussher was right
    • Being a Protestant fundamentalist
    • Disliking 'real' science
  • Not all Christians are dolts
It's hard to shake the impression that America's dominant culture is convinced that parents who home school their children are uneducated (possibly ineducable) religious fanatics. You know, those people.

I suppose some are.

My wife and I, though, home schooled (and are home schooling) our kids from grade seven through high school graduation because they chose that alternative. I'll admit that we didn't try to talk them out of it.

"Socialization" was a big deal a few decades back, when it came to reasons against home schooling your kids. Denied the many experiences available in the social milieu of America's government schools, they might reach their eighteenth birthday without
  • Using controlled substances
  • Contracting a sexually transmitted disease
  • Experiencing an out-of-wedlock pregnancy
    • Or getting fixed with a simple medical procedure
I'll grant that I'm painting a rather grim picture: and the local school system only occasionally has Minnesota's drug-sniffing dogs checking out the parking lot.

We've really got it pretty good here.

Still, I'm not sorry that my wife and I decided to give our kids the home school option.

Some folks here in Sauk Centre have asked me how home schooling works. They've got reasonable questions - and I appreciate being able to share. Here's a sort of Q & A list:
  • Is home schooling legal?
    • Yes: but local school district leaders may not believe that
    • Check it out, using the resource link after this list
  • Will it warp the kids?
    • No guarantees - just like the government schools
    • Home schooling parents do spend more time with their kids, though
      • Which may head off some crises
      • Or, not
    • Let's face it:
      • Life doesn't come with a money-back guarantee
  • Do homeschooling parents have to have a formal classroom in the house?
    • No, although that would be very cool
    • About all you need is
      • Textbooks
        • Or their equivalent
      • Writing materials
      • A flat work surface
        • Like the kitchen table
  • Is home schooling easy?
    • No
    • But I think it's worth the time and effort
My wife and aren't quite on the 50th percentile, when it comes to home schooling parents. She's a computer science major with a good background in math; I'm a history and English major with some background in library science and art history - and did the time in academia to get a teaching certificate in English. Shop class? My wife has a modest set of power tools and can call on the resources of her father. Home Ec? That's pretty much covered by household routines. This household isn't a hotel with the kids as guests.

And we depend on existing curriculum materials - some geared specifically for home schooling Catholics. Speaking of which, here's that list of resources:Related post:

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.