In the interest of honesty I should mention that I am a public school teacher and I send my child to a relatively inexpensive Catholic school. Sending my child to private schools is one of the few times that I have had to compromise my moral standards. There are several reasons that I have done this but the most compelling is that my wife told me that we were going to do this.
Honestly, the public school that my kid would attend is woefully under performing and has been taken over by the state. Ironically, this the same district that my wife teaches in. So, I guess what I am saying is that I am glad I can blame my wife and not have to make the decision about where to send my child to school.
One thing that we both agree on is that we are not qualified to teach our child though both of us are certified secondary teachers. As teachers we both realize that amount of work that goes into preparing, administering, and assessing lesson plans. With one child this time would be manageable if one of us stayed home. Home schooling is an endeavour best suited for the egotistical, the hopelessly elitist, and the paranoid.
Anyone that thinks that they are qualified to teach all the relevant coursework for a student grades K-12 should drop what they are doing and donate their time to the local public school. These natural born teachers have an obligation to society to share their expertise with less fortunate students and intellectually stunted public school teachers. Seriously, after spending 3-4 hours a day in the teacher's lounge and repeatedly pulling on a door that is clearly labeled push, I don't really have the time or visual acuity to teach students. Having access to an omnipotent aid would be like, I don't know, having the Internet in the classroom or something.
Ironically, it is the Internet which has allowed the proliferation of lesson plans and curriculum that some of the more successful home-schoolers have adopted. It is for this reason that I propose that we strictly enforce copyright over our materials. We live in constant fear of software companies scouring our computers and the music industry vetting student power points for snippets of songs longer than 3 seconds. Let's take this frustration out on home-schoolers. Beat down the doors, demand to see the curriculum, and black out any information that is remotely copied from another source. If the lesson has already been taught, then demand that the student unlearn it.
Perhaps in order for the student to unlearn we could send them to unschools. Unschools: for the parent that feels that learning should be a natural free flowing experience directed by the learner. Unschooling is a specific type of home schooling in which there is no set curriculum. Parents guide the students on the exploration of the world and mind. Just think of the movie Accepted.
As Bartleby (Justin Long)
You know what? You're a criminal. 'Cause you rob these kids of their creativity and their passion. That's the real crime! Well, what about you parents? Did -did the system really work out for you? Did it teach you to follow your heart, or to just play it safe, roll over? What about you guys? Did you always want to be school administrators? Dr. Alexander, was that your dream? Or maybe no, maybe you wanted to be a poet. Maybe you wanted to be a magician or an artist. Maybe you just wanted to travel the world. Life was full of possibilities. A - and isn't that what you ultimately want for us? As parents, I mean, is - is that, is possibilities.
'Cause there are so few truths in this world, that when you see one, you just know it. And I know that it is a truth that real learning took place at South Harmon. Whether you like it or not, it did. 'Cause you don't need teachers or classrooms or - or fancy highbrow traditions or money to really learn. You just need people with a desire to better themselves
Because we'll never stop learning, and we'll never stop growing, and we'll never forget the ideals what were instilled in us at our place.
Admittedly after hearing this speech one is likely to jump out his seat screaming, "YES" and dumping popcorn and Jujubees all over fellow movie goers. However, as an actual real world teaching philosophy is would cause most educators to be ridiculed and eventually let go. Parents that put all of their fish in this basket are thumbing their collective noses at American culture and society. The underlying belief is that we as a culture do not need a common base of knowledge. The cultural touchstones discussed, deconstructed and analyzed in the traditional school setting are base and common. They do not deserve to be studied.
American culture merely deifies violence as is evidenced by the increasing number of violent episodes in our schools. Fears of bullying, both regular and cyber (Have you ever noticed that the prefix cyber immediately makes things seem more frightening?), are heightening tension between home schoolers and normal society. "Predatory teachers" trolling America's schools for a date are spooking parents nationwide. Internet stalkers lurk behind every blog and email. The solution? Keep your kids locked in a closet, both a real one and a cyber one.
Parents have a responsibility to educate their children, but they also have an obligation to create good citizens. Whether they are socially adjusted or some sort of flash-card spelling-bee freak the nations needs to be assured that these home schooled students are invested members of our society not elitist, arrogant, paranoid cyber-closeted racists.