Cafe Mom; Andrew Cardon

Look at what dude wrote…

“””My wife is a teacher. An Earth Science teacher. For the eighth grade. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Super boring subject. Worst grade in the world to teach, what with all those insanely raging hormones. But that’s where she ended up, and I’ll admit, it is pretty cool when she points out something I didn’t know about the weather or the stars.

When we first got married, she was going through all the training necessary to become a teacher. A ridiculous amount of studying. Planning. Student Teaching. She even had to videotape herself giving a lesson, as well as undergo a number of classroom observations. In other words, it wasn’t as simple as grabbing a ruler, heading to the front of the classroom, and, BAM, you’re a teacher.

Which is why I’m completely baffled by the entire homeschooling arena. I’m not trying to bash anyone here, but I really have no clue how homeschooling works. I mean, how are regular parents even qualified to teach their kids, when public school teachers need to go through such rigorous training?

Just because you can read doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach your kids. Sure, every parent is a teacher in his or her own right. We all teach our kids morals, hygiene, and the ways of the world. But I’m talking about a full-fledged education here. The kind of learning that will help them master the English language, conquer Pythagorean’s theorem, and understand exactly why volcanoes erupt.

Then, of course, there’s the entire social aspect of school. Yes there are bullies, and food fights, and detention, and way too many cliques. But school really is just a microcosm of the real world. It’s one thing to protect and shelter your young kids from harm, but what happens when these kids grow up, get a job, and face the same type of obnoxious people in the real world? Will they be able to cut it?

Half of school is actual book learning; the other half is social skill learning. Learning how to make friends. Learning how to deal with or ignore enemies. Learning responsibility, cooperation, team building, independence, etc.

Home also offers a place of refuge from school. Had a tough day? You can just head home after school and relax a bit. Out of sight, out of mind. But if you’re homeschooled, you actually live in school! There is no escape from it. You don’t even have homework, or rather, EVERYTHING you do is homework. There is no escape.

I’m not saying I’m completely against homeschooling; I just don’t understand the benefits of it at all. What makes it a better experience over a public school education? How do you round out your child’s social interactions? How do you separate home life from school life, or is it eternally linked?

I guess the biggest thing I don’t understand is how any parent can just grab a book and a curriculum and start teaching their kids at home. No observations, testing, licensing, certifications, etc.

This might be a bit extreme, but if you needed to have surgery, would you go to a doctor who taught himself medicine purely on his own at home? Or would you prefer going to one who graduated from a top medical school and learned from experienced hands-on teachers?”””

After you are done laughing at the fact that he compared a teaching degree (8th grade science teacher degree can be earned online in 2 years- not saying that’s what his wife did, but it’s all anyone has to do) to a graduate from a top medical school, here’s my response to this nimrod…

Real educators do not measure success by how much children can memorize for a standardized test. Schools must use a method of teaching called “spiral education” so that everyone is on the same page. When kids move to a new town or switch schools they can pick up without too much of a problem thanks to spiral method of teaching. Unfortunately, it’s not ideal for the student. Homeschool education usually employs a mastery approach of subjects before moving on. It’s like reading a yard’s worth of books on a topic (mastery) instead of a twelve-page snippet in a textbook (spiral). If and when hs’ers do measure success using the public institution of education’s test scores, we typically blow all other student’s scores out of the water with our silly reading above grade level, higher order thinking science skills, and rich knowledge of history at 8 years old. But we are not surgeons… wait, I mean teachers (sorry, I compare the two often also)… so it must happen by osmosis. We have visited the local public school and walked the halls and while the teachers were kind, it was obvious to me and my husband that we provide far more in-depth, superior curriculum. Nothing I have seen in the local public schools has compared to the education we provide for our children. The school’s curriculum is out dated and their standardized testing is unimpressive and ineffective for anything other than gaining the school more money. That’s right, I am not impressed with spending a year focusing on one test (which is what the Dep. Of Ed has decided) instead of mastering skills kids come out of school NOT knowing. Also, a teaching degree can be gained online these days. It took more college for me to earn my educational consulting degree so I could sell books to libraries.

We do not eat the “fast food” of today’s educational system, rather we use literature rich, intelligent, curriculum full of culture. Many public school teachers would hardly be qualified to do what I do. Ivy League colleges seek out homeschooled children and, very rarely, public schooled children.

The homeschoolers I know are experts in their field. I am educated in homeschool teaching. I have written articles, am in the process of writing a book as I recently homeschooled through cancer treatments and want to encourage others, and I speak to educators about the decline of literacy in American schools. Our nation’s children are leaving “school” dumber than ever before in our nation’s history. Even Google knows that.

John Taylor Gatto is a retired American school teacher with nearly 30 years of experience in the classroom, and an author of several books on education. He was named New York City Teacher of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991. Here is the infamous quote by John Gatto, taken from his book, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling:

“After a lifetime of teaching school, I believe that the method of mass schooling is its only real content. Don’t be fooled into thinking that good equipment or good teachers are the critical increments of your son or daughter’s education. School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.”

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