I was just reading a response Tim over at SpyJournal had written to a Herald Sun columnist, Cheryl Critchley about her article on home schooling and the benefits it may or may not have for kids. I realise I’m a little bit late with this, but I’ve been busy and only just read it so I think I have a pretty good excuse.
Now, I realise that Tim is not attacking the regular school systems be it public or private, but as someone who has been at both public and private schools I have some thoughts that I think are worth adding.
I agree with the majority of Tim’s points, however I do have some different opinions on them. There is a paragraph discussing the differences of learning in school to learning in a work-place environment, which I completely agree with, however, at the end of this paragraph he has said, “To the contrary a homeschooled child has learnt to learn from mentors and usually can self learn and look after themselves.” I think this is a bit of an unfair statement to those in school. Sure there can be a pack mentality of people who studied in a school environment, but I self learn far better than I do in a group, and I am quite capable of looking after myself. I moved out of home straight after year 12 while I was still 17 so that I could start uni in Brisbane and thus far have not had any trouble at all. I think that it is not just about the schooling system but about how the parents raise their kids. My parents were teaching me to read before I started school, taught me how to manage money, how to treat others, how to behave in general. My parents taught me as much as my teachers did, just in different area’s. I can see this is one reason why home schooling would be appealing, but I really don’t see it as a necessary way to impart this extra knowledge.
“Most homeschooled children are disciplined at home by their parents in a way a school or teacher never can and as such are usually far better behaved.” Again, this is not something that I think is up to the school to do, but the parents. My parents disciplined me as a child, as Tim says, in ways a school/teacher never could, but my parents didn’t have to home school me to do it.
“What happens to a child who has grown up in the public school system and had everything handed to them on a plate – routines, timetables, courses of study, homework, goal setting? How do they manage a job where they must set their own schedules, work to self imposed deadlines and choose their own further education in order to get ahead? You probably have these same people in your office as I meet in offices around QLD. They cannot self manage, cannot handle a diary, are rarely punctual, and are propped up constantly by their co workers.”
I wouldn’t say you have everything handed to you, in fact, school helped me develop time management. Keeping a diary, keeping track of deadlines, making my own deadlines, organising and doing my own study on top of work and uni study. I will admit that on occasion I am late to casual events, but as far as work and work related meetings go, I am almost always early, and occasionally on time, but never late. Now, yes I agree, there are plenty of people who went through the school system that do have the problems mentioned, but by the same token, I think this is largely due to parents. School provided me with the tools to learn to manage time and deadlines, but it was my parents that enforced the deadlines, pushed me to get work done on time for school and do study outside of school and to read outside of school. For example, by year 3 or 4, I was reading 6 or 7 80-200 page books in a week. I read the Wheel of Time book 4, the biggest book in the series at 1400+ pages in 2 days. I started learning web design when I was 7. School definitely didn’t teach me that. Then there is my regular week day during a uni semester that is planned down to 5 minute intervals, any change in my mentally timetabled day and I have to adjust it on the fly, down to 5 minute intervals, I don’t have any trouble with that at all, this is because school showed me how to timetable things, and my parents made sure I learned it. Now that’s just a couple of examples. So again, I can see how this would be a reason for home schooling to be appealing, but I don’t see it as a problem with a regular school system either. I think it is largely affected by how parents choose to raise their children.
“What happens when a public school child who has learnt safety in numbers, travelled in a pack of kids at school, succumbed to peer pressure in their dress, language attitude and behaviour, learnt that its cool to make snide, cutting, taunting remarks to the “uncool” kids gets exposed to the real world outside. None of that behaviour is tolerated in a workplace.”
Nope, it isn’t tolerated in a workplace, and yes, I agree with this to an extent. However, I again think that this is affected by how a kid is raised by their parents. I didn’t learn those things. I spent all of my high school years either on my own or with 1 or 2 people. Yeah, I do see people maintaining that mentality, but by the end of year 12, the majority of my grade had gotten beyond these sorts of things.
“How many wild and crazy homeschool leaving parties have you heard of that the police had to turn up to? How many homeschoolers do you hear about causing a ruckus at schoolies week? On the contrary homeschooled children are largely polite, well mannered, excellent achievers, motivated to excel and perform, well read and able to hold intelligent conversations with adults. Yes public school children can do this also.”
Just some thoughts on this, I spent schoolies week with a group of friends, we didn’t cause a ruckus, we had no complaints, in fact, the place we stayed at even thanked us for how well behaved we were and for looking after the facilities so well. Nor did we have police called to our school leaving parties. Yes, there are plenty that cause a ruckus and have police called, but the vast majority don’t. Similarly, there are many, many, excellent achievers in the school systems that are well read, can hold intelligent conversations and are motivated to excel and perform. However, I think that much of this drive and success is affected by the parents and how they teach and push their kids outside of school.
“…public schooling is the poor cousin to homeschooling, where the richness of our lives and the interactions we have with other people, families, businesses, government officials, public institutions (like galleries and museums) are shared with our children so they can learn from us…” Again, I think this is vastly up to the parents anyway. As a kid, my parents took my siblings and I to so many different places. We went to the Australian War Memorial Museum in Canberra, the Royal Australian Mint, the Science Centre in Brisbane, Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast, all of the theme parks at various times, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Kings Park in Perth, the Southern-most tip of the Australian mainland in Western Australia, Freemantle, Lightning Ridge and down in some of the mines, the Botanic Gardens up at Mt. Cootha in Brisbane many times, Bundaberg and the rum distillery, Dubbo Zoo, Toowoomba and the Australian Gospel Music Festival, the oceanic museum at a place on the South NSW coast that I don’t remember the name of, and thats just some of the places we all went as a family, not to mention the hundreds of places we have stayed at.
I learnt heaps from my parents on our many trips all over the place. So while I am sure that there are benefits to both home schooling and the regular schooling system, I think the main difference is how the parents raise their kids and what they do with them. As such, I can see that home schooling would have an advantage there since parents would have more time available to spend with their children and do these sorts of activities with them. However, I don’t think it is a matter of one system being better than the other, but simply how parents choose to raise their kids. I know that many of the people I got along with at school, their parents took them all over the country to various things the same way mine did, and I have no doubt that there are many others who’s parents manage these activities as well.
Anyway, this isn’t an attack on you Tim, or on home schooling (I know you stated at the end that school kids often behave no different to home schooled kids etc), this is just the way I see some of the advantages of home schooling being had along with attending a regular school affected entirely by how the parents choose to spend their time around school with their kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a parent, so I have never had to make any of these decisions and I don’t really know what affects the decision making process, but I do know how I was raised and how my parents educated me, and maybe I’m biased, but I think I turned out pretty good.