Last night my husband and I were at a company dinner and were discussing homeschooling with a coworkers wife. She happens to be a school administrator up north in the Big City. We have talked about public school/homeschool before and are on very friendly terms, although it is obvious we have very different viewpoints and opinions. (Sometimes I just don’t share my opinions and instead listen to others. I promise I’m never rude about it, but it probably helps in keeping the relationship friendly, if you know what I mean.) She is very positive about my homeschooling adventures because she says she knows I actually take it seriously and actually teach my children. She talked about how most of the homeschoolers she knows just don’t do anything at all and so when those kids come back to school they are far behind.
I got to thinking, where are all those failing homeschoolers she’s talking about? All the homeschoolers I know are at level, if not above grade level, and their parents are very serious about their children’s educations and put in 100% to what they do. I go to a state wide homeschool conference every year and these parent’s blow my mind with their knowledge, experience, and huge successes with their children.
And then my husband wisely pointed out that this woman probably only knows the homeschoolers whose mothers/fathers/teachers at home have, for whatever reason, decided homeschooling wasn’t going to work out for them and sent them back into the public school system. (No judging here, its definitely not for everyone, although I hope to show that more people can do it than think they can.) Why would anyone in the public school system know or keep tabs on all those ridiculously (or even just slightly more than average) successful homeschoolers?
It is unfortunate that her perception of homeschoolers is from the kids who end up back in the public school system and academically behind the other children – from her vantage point. Obviously that is not indicative of the homeschooling population in general, who have been studied and recorded to score higher than their public school peers in just about everything – and are sought out by ivy league universities (here, here, and here and here and here. That’s probably enough. I hardly follow any blog links myself anyway).
Sometimes, even me, people just believe what they have been taught to believe. Obviously the education establishment (please research Arne Duncan, Head of the Dept. of Education) do NOT like it when children are not part of their system. Although I know many teachers and greatly admire them and the wonderful and important work they do, the pervading opinion of homeschooling in the education world is not positive and I’m not sure how to change that. Or if it even matters if it changes at all.