Sunday, August 21, 2005

Homeschooling on Long Island-NYT

Another somewhat snooty NYT article, this one called "More School Bells Ring at Home" by Natalie Cavenor.

I was irritated at what appeared to be anti-homeschooling bias on the first page, i.e. "It is a legal option in New York..." (Duh!);

"Jennifer Dentry is the complete faculty for her children..." (A, if they're homeschooled, that's not true, and B, so what?);

[Dentry quote] "'He did fine, was learning, loved his friends and teachers," Mrs. Dentry said. "But I had that nagging feeling that I wanted to home-school." [italics mine]

"...homeschoolers say they don't think a lack of credentials mattered."

A definite "They're hurting their children for their own selfish reasons" kind of slant, supported by the head of the state teachers' union calling homeschooling parents "Well-intentioned but misguided."

But as I continued reading, I realized that the "officials", Iannuzzi from the teachers' union and William Brosnan, superintendent of the Northport-East Northport schools and president of the New York State Council of School Superintendent, were doing nothing but spouting party line. They want homeschooling parents credentialled. Of course they do, they they'll want them to join the union! For those who don't know, I used to be a teacher and I can tell you the pressure to join the union is immense, even before graduation. We can't expect them to accept non-union teachers at home or at school anymore than we'd expect Northwest Airlines Mechanics Union to accept non-union mechanics.

Mr. Iannuzzi's last quote is the one I find most ridiculous, since it goes exactly against my experience: "The stories [about homeschoolers beating public school students in spelling, science and math competitions] don't demonstrate that home schooling works, just that there are some really good students being home-schooled," he said. "They would probably perform even better in the public schools."

HA! I say to you, HA! Even if a student is lucky enough in their twelve years of public schooling to find a teacher who is really on their same wavelength and has their best interests at heart, that teacher is gone within a year. A homeschooling parent always has the child's best interests at heart and is there throughout school. A homeschooled student who finds a mentor in the community has a friend and ally for life, not just the duration of high school.

Yes, some students are brilliant and self-motivated and perform very well in high school but I believe this is despite the school, not because of it. Some students are brilliant and less self-motivated because they spend all their energy fighting the system at school and have nothing left with which to learn. And more and more teens turn their anger at the system against themselves because beating their heads against a brick wall doesn't hurt the wall. This is why I homeschool.

I'm not entirely sure how I got from the New York Times to Pink Floyd and teen suicide, but there you have it. Once you see the "official" quotes for nothing more than the same old union talking points, it's really not a bad article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved your blog. I am interested in finding a home schooling teacher for my child who is now in 10th grade. How do I go about doing that? I cannot home school him myself. Thanks for any help you can give me.