Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

More parents opt for home schooling


Luke Thomasson asks his mother, Donna, a question as she tends to her 5-month-old son, Chip. Donna Thomassons home schools her three boys - including Nick, at far right - in their house near Wellsville.

Luke Thomasson asks his mother, Donna, a question as she tends to her 5-month-old son, Chip. Donna Thomassons home schools her three boys - including Nick, at far right - in their house near Wellsville.

May 13, 2007

Editor's note: This article is part of a series examining the rise of home schooling in Kansas. <a href="/news/education/home_schooling/learning_outside_the_lines/">See the entire series</a>.

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Ballard

Ballard


Sisters Celie Davison, 10, left, and Bess, 6, burn wood as their father, Doug Davison, repairs a roof at his Vinland Valley Nursery. The two girls and their older sister, Emma, 11, are home schooled by their parents and between studies the girls help out around the nursery.

Sisters Celie Davison, 10, left, and Bess, 6, burn wood as their father, Doug Davison, repairs a roof at his Vinland Valley Nursery. The two girls and their older sister, Emma, 11, are home schooled by their parents and between studies the girls help out around the nursery.


Donna Thomasson enters a grade into the Lawrence Virtual School computer system as her son Luke looks on and holds his brother, 5-month-old Chip. The school day usually lasts from 8:30 a.m. to around noon for the Thomassons.

Donna Thomasson enters a grade into the Lawrence Virtual School computer system as her son Luke looks on and holds his brother, 5-month-old Chip. The school day usually lasts from 8:30 a.m. to around noon for the Thomassons.


Home schooling for the Davison sisters sometimes means working together as a family in their parents' business, Vinland Valley Nursery. From left in the greenhouse are Emma Davison, 11, Celie Davison, 10, their mother Amy Albright and Bess Davison, 6.

Home schooling for the Davison sisters sometimes means working together as a family in their parents' business, Vinland Valley Nursery. From left in the greenhouse are Emma Davison, 11, Celie Davison, 10, their mother Amy Albright and Bess Davison, 6.

Donna Thomasson: "Our home schooling story"

Donna Thomasson of rural Wellsville talks about why faith concerns drove her family's decision to home school. Enlarge video

See more in our home schooling series
Learning outside the lines

Barbara Ballard realizes it's a bold move.

Her daughter, Katie, is 4. The state says she should start kindergarten in the fall.

But Katie won't be boarding a school bus and making macaroni art projects with 25 other children. Instead, she'll have "school" by herself at her mother's office in southern Lawrence, where Ballard owns a technology company.

Ballard plans to home school her daughter, and in doing so joins a growing number of families who choose not to send their children to public or private schools.

"It's a strong statement: I don't think the professionals can do as good a job educating my child as I can," Ballard says.

More parents are agreeing with that assessment, according to government figures and groups that advocate home education.

A study by the National Center for Education Statistics said 1.1 million students were being home schooled in 2003 - the most recent year data was available - and the U.S. Department of Education estimates the number is increasing by 7 percent to 15 percent each year. Home schoolers make up 1.7 percent of the 50.2 million K-12 students in the United States.

The National Home Education Research Institute, an advocacy group that conducts its own research, estimates the number of home-schoolers to be closer to 1.7 million to 2.1 million.

In Lawrence, one longtime home education advocate estimates there are between 300 and 400 families home schooling in Douglas County. No official tally exists. Lawrence Virtual School enrolls about 590 students; ninety-two live in Douglas County.

With the Internet making it simpler to find home-based curriculum, experts expect those numbers to continue to climb.

Despite the growing figures, Kansas is one of about 25 states that has little or no regulation of home education. There are no specific requirements for curriculum or qualifications of teachers.

Why they do it

In some ways, the home education community represents two camps that are polar opposites.

J. Gary Knowles, a home school researcher and author at the University of Toronto, says while some families have educated at home because of geographical isolation, the modern push for home education in the United States started in the 1970s. At the time, several liberal activists were pushing the idea, so it became more of a "hippie" thing to do.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the movement started picking up steam among conservative Christians.

Lawrence, being a fairly liberal city in a conservative state, certainly has its share of both secular and religious home-schoolers - and home-schoolers along that spectrum.

While their motivations differ, families interviewed by the Journal-World for this series tended to cite a few common driving factors:

â Gaining the benefits of one-on-one instruction.

â Spending more time with family.

â Avoiding bullying and peer pressure at school.

â Focusing more on individual strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum.

â Having a more flexible school schedule.

â Providing, especially for Christians, an opportunity to avoid teachings about topics such as evolution, sex education and homosexuality that disagree with their beliefs.

Parental influence

It's 9 a.m. on a Monday, and Donna Thomasson is getting her children ready for school.

Her three older boys, ages 7, 11 and 12, are ready to make the trip to their classroom, which is just downstairs in their basement to study math, English, music, science, spelling and other subjects. Thomasson is feeding her 5-month-old son, Chip. The Ten Commandments are posted nearby.

Soon, the basement will be filled with the sounds of a classroom - one boy working on grammar, while another does math, while another memorizes Scripture. Thomasson will be bouncing among the three, helping each one. School's often over by noon, though sometimes they finish subjects after lunch.

Thomasson and her husband, Tim, pulled their two older boys - Luke and Nick - out of Wellsville Elementary School three years ago, both to spend more time with their children and over concerns that the school would teach topics in a way that went against their worldview. They started home schooling their son Tyler when he turned 5.

"We knew there would be times they'd come home talking about something and we would say, 'That's not what the Bible said,'" Thomasson says. "We knew the time would come when what they were learning would go against what I believe. We didn't feel comfortable saying, 'Don't put that in your heart, and don't believe that, but still get an A on that test.'"

Specifically, she says, she was concerned about teaching of evolution and homosexuality, which she says is presented in schools as a "normal lifestyle."

This year, Luke and Nick are enrolled in the Lawrence Virtual School, a popular choice among some home schooling families. Tyler still does a book-based curriculum.

Luke would like to go back to public school his freshman year, mainly to play sports. His mother thinks "that would be a shame," considering sports seasons last only a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Donna Thomasson is looking forward to home schooling her infant son from an early age.

"He's my little science experiment," she says. "... I haven't done one through preschool. I'm excited. It's this little empty mind, this little blank slate."

Flexible life

It's a drizzly spring morning at Vinland Valley Nursery, and Emma, Celie and Bess Davison are tending a fire in front of the greenhouse. Unseasonably cold weather has stalled the previous week's surge of customers, but their parents, nursery owners Doug Davison and Amy Albright, still have lots of work to do to get ready for the growing season - which means the intensity of the girls' home schooling has dipped a bit.

"This time of year, they tend to do a lot of work on their own," Albright says of her daughters, who are 11, 10 and 6. "In the summer, they're probably doing schoolwork when most kids are not."

From the fall through February, they stick to a regimented schedule - studying math, science, history, literature, art and other subjects that will prepare them for college.

"It seems to fit naturally because it's warming up, so they want to be outside (in the spring)," Albright says.

The girls started out at Vinland Elementary School, but Albright pulled them after the Baldwin school district made what she considered some questionable budget cuts that, among other things, eliminated the elementary art program.

Like other home educators whose children started in brick-and-mortar schools, Albright says it took about a year for the girls to get used to being self-learners rather than being told what to do every minute of the day.

Aside from the scheduling flexibility, Albright loves the opportunities home schooling provides for imparting practical knowledge.

Emma, Celie and Bess spend time watering, pulling weeds and planting, as well as tending to the family's 13 cats, two dogs, seven fish and nine chickens.

"If Emma's trying to figure out something she can sell in the greenhouse, suddenly she's doing all these multiplication problems," Albright says. "So she's not as frustrated, and she can wrap her brain around it."

Celie says she likes home schooling better than public school.

"I don't have to wait for a whole class to finish their work, too," she says. "I also like being able to come out here when I'm done and run around."

Her sisters agree.

"It started out as a dissatisfaction with what was going on in the school district," Albright says. "But at this point, I'm not sure, if someone came up with an almost perfect district, what we would do because we just sort of like what we're doing."

Comments

bmwjhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully, the closed-minded kinds of homeschools were produce adults that stay at home, too.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

"Thomasson and her husband, Tim, pulled their two older boys - Luke and Nick - out of Wellsville Elementary School three years ago, both to spend more time with their children and over concerns that the school would teach topics in a way that went against their worldview. They started home schooling their son Tyler when he turned 5.

"We knew there would be times they'd come home talking about something and we would say, 'That's not what the Bible said,'" Thomasson says. "We knew the time would come when what they were learning would go against what I believe. We didn't feel comfortable saying, 'Don't put that in your heart, and don't believe that, but still get an A on that test.'"

Specifically, she says, she was concerned about teaching of evolution and homosexuality, which she says is presented in schools as a "normal lifestyle."

I try not to get angry about things like this, but I think depriving your children of the opportunity to socialize and view alternative opinions on life and worldviews, because you are afraid that you're worldview, apparently, won't be able to compete in the real world without heavy controls put on information input, to be horribly unfair to your child. Such actions will not create a person who has a deep faith, the type that can only come with questioning and seeking answers. It will, instead, create a small-minded, inflexible, and inexperienced person. And with many, as soon as they get out from underneath your protective shell (assuming that you ever let them do that) will encounter something that they can't factor in, and their whole belief structure will shatter.

Limiting inputs is censorship. Censorship rarely, if ever, leads to anything good.

I think I'll add that saying that public schools are preaching evolution and homosexuality as normal lifestyles is something of a stretch.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Socialization usually is the first concern mentioned. When are children not socializing? They are always socializing in their neighborhoods,some at the art center classes,riding bikes or playing with other children in the parks. Homeschool children do not live in caves. Usually homeschool children play together no matter what ages.

Lawrence is a great resource for homeschoolers and the public school system will work with homeschool familes thus additional support.

sourpuss 8 years, 1 month ago

I disagree with home schooling for anyone. Every child should be mandated to be in a classroom unless there is an extreme reason why that would be impossible. Being in school teaches students far more than addition and grammar. It allows children to build relationships with authority, to operate within complex social boundaries, to form relationships with peers and non-familial adults, and prepares them for what the rest of their life will be like.

As far as Christians homeschooling, they can do that after the regular day is over, or send their child to a Christian school. Gifted children often have additional classes at home at the end of the day to supplement what they are not given in school. For the bullying, any teacher or administrator that tolerates bullying should be immediately fired and have their teaching certificate revoked.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Should everyone homeschool? Only those who are prepared to devote time and lots of energy.

gccs14r 8 years, 1 month ago

The problem with homeschooling is that there is no guarantee of a quality education, regardless of the curriculum.

moveforward 8 years, 1 month ago

Jonas -you are exactly right. But there is more...

There are few parents smart enough to teach the gamut of topics covered in schools. Add to that, that teaching is a skill, one that many many people do not possess.

The parents that I have met that are home schooling their children out of theological concerns - are so obviously ill equipt for the task. Between the devotion of time, the content knowledge and understanding of teaching methodologies, they are saddling their children with a sub par education. Why cipple your childrens future?

Purchasing a curriculum is no substitute. Socialization and breadth of perspective is important, and a positive influence in a global world. I feel for many of these children.

Tanetti 8 years, 1 month ago

"He's my little science experiment," she says. "... I haven't done one through preschool. I'm excited. It's this little empty mind, this little blank slate."

Eek! Yes, a blank slate for teaching intolerance. That quote sends chills (of horror) down my spine.

"Instead, she'll have "school" by herself at her mother's office in southern Lawrence, where Ballard owns a technology company."

So Ballard will be home schooling this child as well as working full time/owning her own company? I can't figure out how any of her projects will get her full attention. At least Albright's children get to apply their schooling in the family's business and spend time outdoors.

The socialization is a big concern but a lot of home schoolers form a sort of cooperative and do field trips, but I have to wonder whether any of their cohorts are outside their "worldview."

karensisson 8 years, 1 month ago

If my children were young enough to be starting in school, I would home school them.

Schools are not what they used to be. No Child Left Behind is hurting the schools, hamstringing them and burdening them and making it impossible to teach a full curriculum. Teachers are reduced to teaching for the test, and the majority of students suffer because teachers are unreasonably supposed to get the same result from 100% of the students regardless of individual circumstance and we know that's impossible.

Southwest Junior High, my daughter's extremely fine school, with teachers that impress me in the extreme, didn't make Annual Yearly Progress, for heaven's sake!!!

Something is wrong with the schools and No Child Left Behind is a new problem, not the solution.

It's another Bush administration tactic of pretending to support an issue while really trying to destroy it. Remember Social Security and Bush's promise to "fix" it? No Child Left Behind is to education what Bush's Social Security "fix" would have been to the nation's elderly-to-be.

The only group benefiting from No Child Left Behind is that CETE group at KU that landed the lucrative contract to provide the testing and reporting. Students are hurt by NCLB.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

The-Factor: Christanophobe? Maybe if YOU read my post, and then read your own, you'd actually understand that mine was fairly reasonable, and yours was a rediculous over-reaction. Kindly point out which line in my post would make me afraid of Christianity, or show that hate or disdain it in any way? The part where I say that a variety of viewpoints and questioning leads to a STRONGER faith? Criticizing certain Christians for their actions does not equal criticizing Christianity.

As for this: "Jonas, you must not be aware of the curriculum being indoctrinated in public schools. Evolution is taught as fact, not as theory."

How do you know this? Did you just say it because you really want it to be true? Do you know the difference between the scientific definitions of theory and fact? It doesn't seem like you understand any of this with any accuracy.

"This is why many Christians dislike public education today. Homosexuality is believed by many to be abnormal, not normal. Imposing your values upon others when you abhore and acuse them of the same is unreasonable."

First, what does that have to do with your previous sentence? Second, what does that have to do with public schools? Third, where was I "imposing" my values on anyone? Pointing out potential and likely flaws and ramifications of a particular lifestyle are not "imposing" values on anybody. Imposing is creating laws, or otherwise forcing people to do something.

Understand, by criticizing your position, I am not in any way trying to reflect negatively on Christianity. I fully understand that your errors are based in yourself, not in the relatively benign faith that you embrace. And if that stings a bit, then maybe next time you should actually consider my position, before jumping to a knee-jerk reaction and spewing character slurs of one sort or another. Or not. I admit that it's fun smacking folks like you down.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

"moveforward (Anonymous) says:

There are few parents smart enough to teach the gamut of topics covered in schools. Add to that, that teaching is a skill, one that many many people do not possess. The parents that I have met that are home schooling their children out of theological concerns - are so obviously ill equipt for the task."

I don't think qualifiers are necessary. The couple of parents I know who are homeschooling for the opposite reason, the evilness of the government, and an unwillingness to "buy into the system" etc. etc., I fear for their children just as much as the other. As I said earlier, without exposing those children to alternative views while you're still there to guide them is just begging for their whole world-view to collapse as soon as they leave the nest.

As for qualifications of parents vs. teachers, couldn't agree more.

Nick Yoho 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm so happy My Daughter goes to Hillcrest.She gets to interact with children from around the world on a daily basis.I do think homeschooling can be a good thing though,if the parents are up for it.Public education tends to indoctrinate rather than educate.Its the winners who write the History.

Nick Yoho 8 years, 1 month ago

SourPuss :(with German accent) "You MUST Conform to de System!!"

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 years, 1 month ago

Public schools are measured by their success on state assessments, and children whose home schooling is supplemented through virtual schools are required to take those same tests. Let's see how well these students compare to those in school. I'm not saying that there aren't successes in homeschooling, but on the whole I think you'll find a lot of kids being left behind in skills that the public schools are required to excell.

As for people who home school for religious reasons, I wonder how long they are going to hide their children away. They will eventually be exposed to other views. If they truly believe what you have taught them, then they will continue to believe. If you hide them away and only indoctrinate them, without learning about other viewpoints, you are not allowing them to think for themselves, and they may rebel. I know a devout atheist who became that way because of his mother's "concern". She tried to keep him away from knowing anything outside her faith, but it backfired. Now he doesn't believe at all. I left the church I grew up in when I was a teenager. Up until I was 14, girls and boys were taught in separate classes. When we were finally put into a coed class, we had a wonderful teacher who answered our questions. One Sunday we asked what were the differences between Baptist, Methodist, Jewish, Catholic. He explained a few difference that he knew, then said he would research others and let us know next week. Word got to the preacher, and the next week we were back in our separate classrooms learning the cutesy children's bible stories, and our teacher wasn't teaching Sunday school. I never went back after that. Not being exposed to other viewpoints only weakens your beliefs. People should come to their faith through introspection, not indoctrination or it's phony.

oxandale 8 years, 1 month ago

Back in college, I had a roommate that was homeschooled. It was rather interesting because of a few things that were taught to her that seemed to perpetuate some stereotypes and create some aslo..such as catholics were not christians, southern baptists were the only christians,and that all homosexuals will turn out to be either hair dressers and home decore designers.She was taught a few other stereotypes about other groups. When she went to college and lived in the dorms, she was uncomfortable there with the livng situation because of some of the things that she was taught about minority groups. In some ways, she feard/was intimitated by anyone who wasnt white because of what she was taught to believe by her parents. What made the situation even sadder was that when she slowly began to she that some of the things that she was taught was "less than correct"..she would go home to share this with her family she would be ridiculed and threatened. So, at school she would be ridiculed and threatened and the same thing at home. If such things can be avoided while being homeschooled, heck i am all for it. I would hate for another person to go thru everything that she went thru.

TheEleventhStephanie 8 years, 1 month ago

I hope that somewhere along the line someone taught these kids about fire safety!

Jamesaust 8 years, 1 month ago

I really have to worry about people who say things like, "It's this little empty mind, this little blank slate."

Anyone who thinks they can control some child's mind is rushing towards disappointment.

Its certainly one thing to homeschool because you believe you can do a better job for your kid than the public schools; its quite another when you believe you can shield your kid from the world.

"...home schooling provides for imparting practical knowledge: watering, pulling weeds and planting" and tending livestock.

Hmmm....yes, practical knowledge. Those town-schooled kids know nothing about tending to chickens or weeding a garden. They'll probably grow up to do impractical things like medicine or business or gasp evolutionarying or whatever evolutionists do!

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

Well I tried this with one of my kids and no, not happening here. Just could not handle it, If a parent can teach their kids and do it good and right with out losing their mind good bt it was to much.

woxy 8 years, 1 month ago

I disagree with home schooling for anyone. Every child should be mandated to be in a classroom unless there is an extreme reason why that would be impossible.

If you disagree with it, don't do it. You don't get to make choices for everyone. Parenting choices, short of abuse and neglect, are for the parents to make, not the government.

Being in school teaches students far more than addition and grammar.

You are assuming school does teach students addition and grammar. While I disagree with NCLB, there are students in school who are not learning addition and grammar, for whatever combination of reasons (not all of them due to the quality of the schools or teachers). Teachers simply do not have the time for one on one instruction (or one on five, etc.) that homeschooled children can get from their parents. Nor is it reasonable or fair to expect it.

It allows children to build relationships with authority, to operate within complex social boundaries, to form relationships with peers and non-familial adults, and prepares them for what the rest of their life will be like.

School (as it is currently structured) prepares kids for what the rest of their life will be like? In a room with people within a year of their age, no matter what their ability level? I don't know about your job, but that's not what mine is like. And there are authority figures out in the world besides teachers and administrators-coaches, art and dance teachers, pastors, friends of the family, employers, leaders of volunteer groups or projects, etc. There are a great many kids in public schools who have no idea how to deal with authority, who have no understanding of complex social boundaries, etc. School is not the only place this is taught, and a great many children never learn it at school. Friends are fine things, peers are not necessarily what kids need more of all day long.

As far as Christians homeschooling, they can do that after the regular day is over, or send their child to a Christian school.

Or they can homeschool. See my above comments about choice.

Gifted children often have additional classes at home at the end of the day to supplement what they are not given in school.

That seems fair. After a full day of doing what everyone else is expected to be doing, they should then have to do more? There is something deeply flawed about that idea.

For the bullying, any teacher or administrator that tolerates bullying should be immediately fired and have their teaching certificate revoked.

But as long as that is not the case, people should just leave their children in situations in which they are being bullied or harassed? And given the student:teacher ratio, there is a great deal of bullying that can go on out of view of teachers. Not all bullying is physical, loud, or leaves evidence.

Jamesaust 8 years, 1 month ago

oxendale: "...she slowly began to she that some of the things that she was taught was "less than correct"."

Exactly. When you indoctrinate your children into a "worldview" with no doubt and absolutes, and then they grow up and conclude that some of that "truth" isn't so much truth as opinion those types of children are much more likely to question everything their parents believed rather than just accepting that different people (including relatives) believe differently.

Guiding your children with your moral values and helping them evaluate matters for themselves is far more likely to result in a morally centered child than is keeping them in ignorance about the world - such as "and homosexuality, which she says is presented in schools as a 'normal lifestyle.'" What, pray tell, was this 'presentation' of homosexuality in gradeschool? I suspect, if the subject came up at all, it was limited to an acknowledgment of existence with no particular moral label attached ("Heather has Two Mommies"). So, the objection is either: (a) the Two Mommies - and by extension, Heather - were not presented as Evil; or (b) the Two Mommies - and by extension, Heather's life - were presented at all and not erased from existence. Great, figurative genocide presented as 'moral' education.

Strontius 8 years, 1 month ago

If you want to socially retard your child and cast doubt on their ability to interact with large groups of diverse people, then by all means, home school them.

I can't believe so many people are defending statements like: "He's my little science experiment". That's just sick. Children should not be a "science experiment", they should be children, exposed to the world as it is.

As far as shielding your child from beliefs you are ill-equipped to rationally counter, how long do you think you can keep your child away from such things? The home school kids I knew when I was in high school 4 years ago all ended up rejecting their religion and behaving in ways that were totally counter to their parents' intentions. Whether a conscience decision or an act of rebellion, it was just sad. Not because I agreed or disagreed with what they did, but because they had to make really hard decisions suddenly that most of us slowly make over 12 years of education. It wasn't fair, and their parents were to blame for keeping them from learning about different ideas, world views, ideologies, and everything else that didn't run exactly parallel to their conservative Christian agenda. And in the end, it accomplished nothing and the child was worse off.

No matter how much you might pretend otherwise, there's no way that a typical parent has enough time to devote to teaching their child. There's so much information to learn it would just be impossible to do anything else. That's why we have a giant public school system, and why most democracies devote a huge portion of their budget into it. There is nothing more important than a quality education, and it's sad that parents are allowed to throw the dice on their children's education and future opportunities.

Some things you learn on the playground. Some things you learn in the class room. Some things you learn in after school activities. But it's not until all of these things are taken together that you have a well-rounded person. Think carefully before you decide to mortgage your child's future.

staff04 8 years, 1 month ago

I'll just speak from my own experience with my homeschooled peers. I've never met one that became a well adjusted, societally functioning adult. I'm sure there are some out there, but I confidently say that, of the dozen or so people that I have encountered (and spent enough time with to make this judgment) who were home schooled, each possessed character/personality issues that prevented them from being able to interact successfully with their non-homeschooled peers.

Homeschooling will not be an option for my children. Any imposition of my own values that I want to make on my kids will be done as supplemental education by myself and my spouse.

JayViking 8 years, 1 month ago

I think Strontius just hit the nail on the head.

lelly 8 years, 1 month ago

As both an educator and a parent I've met GREAT kids, both homeschooled and public schooled. The key to a good education? Involved parents who ask questions and are lifelong learners. Whatever your child is learning about at home or in a traditional classroom, follow along and everybody gets so much more out of it! Parents who are participatory in every aspect of life, not just one (be that church, tv, sports...etc). raise children who become role models themselves for a well-rounded, healthy life.

Personally, homeschooling isn't for our family. But, by all means, I wish every success to every parent. Parenting is hard.. in every way and every day.

KsTwister 8 years, 1 month ago

Just because home schooled adults watch Jeopardy instead of "are you smarter than a Fifth grader" is no reason to blast them. If home schooled was not so successful I would doubt most celebrities and congressmen and others would continue to educate their children at home. That myth was laid by the wayside long ago. A building does not make you smarter nor more sociable. And a bonus is not having to deal with sicko bomb threats either.

My question is am I paying school taxes for the other 498 virtual students who don't live in Douglas County?? How many of those are given education dollars from our State?

rabb 8 years, 1 month ago

"Thomasson and her husband, Tim, pulled their two older boys out of Wellsville Elementary School over concerns that the school would teach topics in a way that went against their worldview."

Remember kids, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law.

So if you don't "believe" in evolution, you don't have to teach it to your children? If you don't "believe" in dinosaurs, does that mean the kids won't learn about them? What about Greek and Roman Mythology? Probably wouldn't want to be bogged down with that bogus information. Besides, those Greeks were all gay.
What happens when one of their sons turns out to be gay? Then who can they blame? Not themselves because they taught them Homosexuality is a Sin. Doesn't Fred Phelps homeschool??

blackwalnut 8 years, 1 month ago

I would think that even if a family didn't personally believe in evolution, they would want their kids to be aware of it. It is a huge part of the science culture and literature and a person would be ignorant not to be aware of it. They certainly would not be equipped for further study in science if they were not familiar with it.

What bothers me is the culture of suppressing information. If intelligent design, or creationism, or whatever else you believe, cannot stand up against the awareness of another viewpoint out there, it isn't worth much in my opinion.

Much criticism is lobbied at Muslims and some other faiths because they want to censor information from nonbelievers. Christians are often guilty of exactly the same thing - and the position of many regarding evolution is an example.

southerngirl 8 years, 1 month ago

I know the Thomasson family. They are a very nice, respectful family who are very involved in all aspects of the Wellsville Community. Mr. Thomasson has been in law enforcement for years. I have not lived in W-ville for a couple of years, but did live in the community for over 11 years and I certainly would not characterize them as "out there" . Tammy's "blank slate" comment comes from education theory that was taught in both my bachelors and master's education classes (two different universities) and is still taught to college students today. It is a part of the larger nature vs. nurture theory. Her science experiment comment is being taken in a tone that I am certain is not in the manner that Tammy intended. The family is relatively new to homeschooling and they did not provide homeschooling early childhood experiences for her other children. She is only saying that she is excited to see the difference that homeschooling in early childhood will provide for her youngest child. My children attend public schools and always have. I am a teacher, my mother was a teacher and my father was a college professor. We are big supporters of the public education system. This family is trying something that works best for their family situation, and their values. Disagreeing with homeschooling is fine, but lumping this family with every other bad homeschool story and trashing what is a really, really nice family is sad.

FormerCentralKansan 8 years, 1 month ago

"The school day usually lasts from 8:30 a.m. to around noon for the Thomassons."

I imagine bible study/brainwashing or babysitting their 5 siblings while mom naps finishes out the day for these under-educated children. This seems to be all about the parents and their warped beliefs and NOT educating the kids properly.

drewdun 8 years, 1 month ago

"The Southern Baptists are beginning to prepare church schools as alternatives to home schooling, anticipating a well-justified mass exodus from leftist-dominated public schools that are attempting to indoctrinate children against Christianity and against American heritage." - parkay

Yeah, at my grade school we sang the Soviet national anthem every morning, and learned of the greatness of our fearless leader Comrade Stalin [Rolling eyes x 1.000.000]

Sheesh. Just when you think that the righties on here can't get any more obtuse.....

And if this 'mass-exodus' of Southern Baptists does occur, I think it will benefit everyone involved. The fanatics can teach their children about Jesus riding dinosaurs, while my kids learn things like 'reality' and 'facts' and 'history' and 'logic.' Children of normal people won't have to be subjected to the fear of and objections to reality and legitimate school subjects like science, social studies, human sexuality, etc, by the children of the fanatics, as I and others were at my 'leftist-indoctrination center,' otherwise known as public school. Then, when the new, divided generation reaches adulthood, the fanatics' children can form an under-educated sub-class, which will give the Christian fanatics what they've always wanted - definitive proof of the 'oppression' that they scream about constantly. Of course it will all be of their own making, but believe you me, they will find a way to blame it on the government or 'leftist-indoctrination' or 'libruls' or some other such rot.

Gareth Skarka 8 years, 1 month ago

Let's go one step further: Block off a chunk of the US, and hand it over to the Evangelical Nutjobs to set up as their own country. They can have schools that teach that Science is Evil, Gays Are The Devil, and The Baby Jeebus Is The Magic Sky-Pixie.

...and the rest of the country can make a huge amount of money any time that the residents of The Holy Republic of Jesusland are in need of medicine, technology or anything else that they're incapable of producing on their own.

It's a win-win!

Sara Garlick 8 years, 1 month ago

Lelly hit the nail on the head "The key to a good education? Involved parents who ask questions and are lifelong learners." You can have some great home school programs and some not so great, just like public and private school's programs. You can have people go through public education with narrow-minded stereotypes instilled in them, just as some would say that home school programs instill in people, for example what Staff04 wrote about. I think the more experiences a person can encounter, the more educated they will be. People are different so let them raise their families how they see fit. But for me, I enjoy experiencing new things so I don't see a problem in doing both. Home school and public and/or private education. I don't have any children yet, but if/when I do, I would probably have my kid(s) be home schooled for maybe pre-k, k, 1st and maybe 2nd grades. Then go into the public/private education system. That why my kid(s) have the foundation I want them to have while still learning in a classroom setting. As a parent, if a classroom setting is teaching something you disagree with, you make your opinion known, or refuse to sign the agreement for them to partake in that activity. If you still feel that the school is teaching the "wrong - in your opinion" subject matter, then find a school you feel examplifies the best educational environment for your child.

I was raised in a public school setting and there were some activities that my parents didnt feel that I should do (especially carrying the robotic baby around for a week) and they refused to sign the permission slip. I think I turned out to be a well-rounded, responsible adult. There was another girl in my school that felt strongly in biology class one should not disect animals because she was an animal rights supporter. So she wrote, as a junior high student, a well agumented paper on why she felt that way and the teacher gave her credit for the disection without her ever touching a knife.

So in essence, find what you believe to be the right path and go for it. If you disagree with it, explain why or take action and removing yourself from that situation.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

I see a lot of projection going on here. Many say they cannot be a homeschool parent, and therefore no one should. Others believe that it should be mandated by force of law that children be warehoused with like-aged children for seven to eight hours per day, in order to promote "socialization", despite the fact that social skills are ill developed in such a limited situation.

Others have stated that they don't know any well-adjusted home schoolers. Such anecdotal evidence is surely conclusive, just as it is in science, right?

It's a pity that those who see fit to condemn these parents who have chosen a different way forward with their children cannot see that their very own attitudes are deliberately endemic to the socialist school systems across the U.S. today. Socialist?!? Yes! The modern American school system was created to mimic the Prussian socialist school - to produce good citizens of the state, rather than strong individuals who will propel themselves through life.

I also see a propensity for many commenters here to paint every homeschooler broadly with the most tainted brush possible. Yes, many homeschoolers dislike, and often distrust, the non-educational agendas being pushed in public schools today. Yes, many homeschoolers wish to teach their children without the "anti-moralizing" seen in so many public schools, where a "day of silence" in support of the homosexual agenda is encouraged, but wearing a T-shirt with a biblical rebuttal to the mandated celebration of homosexuality is met with suspension. (has anybody else out there been reading about California?)

But NO, homeschoolers, by on large, are not phobia-ridden societal basket cases. Neither the parents nor the children.

Finally, for those who insist that teaching is a skill that cannot be met by mere parents, I have a question: Why is America slippling so badly in the world rankings for education? (As a follow-up, why have homeschoolers fared so well in academic settings such as national spelling bees?)

Ragingbear 8 years, 1 month ago

I knew a family that was homeschooled. They were all well behaved, socially adept and intelligent individuals. I remember having a conversation with the father who was having trouble getting his kids tested for a High School diploma. The problem was not about grades, it was about age. The kid already had passed (with a 98%) the test, but it wasn't the official test. Just a series of test used in preparation. But being 11 caused a major problem. He would have to wait until he was 13 to get his diploma, just like his 2 sisters.

Some extremist use this as a way to indoctrinate and control their kids to become a perfect little hate-bot when they grow up. There is also another demographic that use this system to take their kids out of school so they will stay home and live with their parents until they are 30 and have no education. With proper home-schooling laws in place, that is a rare occurrence in most states. The other 90% are usually outstanding individuals that can find themselves graduating college with 4 and 6 year degrees before they are even old enough to legally vote. Do you realize what type of advantage that gives somebody? An 18 year old with a 6 year degree, clean criminal record, and not having flashbacks to the days when teachers would assign bullies to "teach them a lesson" when they were unable to do 50 pullups in gym.

Ragingbear 8 years, 1 month ago

Let us not forget that school across the board is just crappy anymore in this country. Not only do they teach history and sociology courses that are so slanted that they could easily be called lies, but how often has your kid come home with some project that took a total of 8 hours and consisted of home-made playdoh, twist ties and paper bags? 3 day weekends are nearly standard, half days are also commonplace. Then they are shuffled off into a room that has some of the nastiest food you ever remember eating, told they have 5 minutes to eat because they were in line for 20 minutes, then go back to class and sit for another 3-4 hours? We then wonder why obesity is a problem. I still remember biting into pieces of meat that were pure fat.

It's also good to see parents take a more active role in their children's education. For so long, the only education our kids got was from 2 sources. TV and the public education system. You know, the one where the science teacher tells kids that there is no cure for common bacterial diseases and the computer teacher proceeds to teach your kid how to make a program that prints "This class is teh suk!" infinitely across the screen on their state of the art Apple IIe.

Also, I would like to point out that many areas are forming home-schooling communities, where a particular parent only teaches a small group 2 or 3 hours a day twice a week. It can even be possible to homeschool under those grounds and hold a full time job.

I have decided that if I were to ever find myself with some sort of offspring, that they would probably go to preschool, perhaps kindergarten, then be homeschooled from there.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

FormerCentralKansan (Anonymous) says:

I imagine bible study/brainwashing or babysitting their 5 siblings while mom naps finishes out the day for these under-educated children. This seems to be all about the parents and their warped beliefs and NOT educating the kids properly.

MortMan responds:

I imagine that even vivid fantasies are not reality. I also imagine that the poster has no understanding of what "brainwashing" is.

But enough imagination...

Because the poster disagrees with the perspective of the parents in this story, those parents' beliefs are labeled as "warped". Such tolerance and diversity in action!

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

gl0ck0wnr (Anonymous) says:

Rather amusing that if one questions homeschooling in a rather narrow Christian setting, one is labeled a "Christophobe." Would the reverse be a "seculaphobe?" It's particularly amusing because these same people become so enraged if they are tagged as homophobic.

If you feel the only way to instill your own values in your child is by totally shielding him from other ideas and values, then your values must not hold much weight or you are ill-equipped to teach them.

MortMan responds:

It's called a "straw-man". One poses for one's debate opponent a skewed scenario or hypothesis in order to more easily defeat the deliberately flawed position. It's a convenient method for disguising the weakness of one's own position.

As for the phobic labels, it can be argued that trotting out "christophobe" here is merely retaliation for the omnipresent "homophobe" garbage that is slung about so recklessly. I will not espouse that position, however. Using labels to demean one's debating opponent is as useless a tactic as the much-abused straw-man previously discussed above.

As for instilling values, I dare say that most people would object to a teacher propagating the idea that two plus two is equal to five. Clearly, getting the misbegotten error erased from the child and helping them learn that two plus two is actually four would be a useless task, and unlearning the "false fact" would not give back the time and effort spent in learning the error to begin with.

But, when the subject is oh so much more important that the sum of two and two, then we should all celebrate every one's beliefs but our own, of course. Or is that only if we disagree with what is being taught?

Perhaps the poster has heard the phrase that "if you have nothing to hide, then the police searching your house should pose no problem".? But that pesky fourth amendment gets in the way.

Or perhaps the poster has heard the one about "no private citizen should own a handgun"? Oops - that's the second amendment.

Now, shall we discuss the first amendment, too?

denak 8 years, 1 month ago

"It's a strong statement: I don't think the professionals can do as good a job educating my child as I can," Ballard says......"

So, since she doesn't believe that the professionals can do a good job she is going to leave it to herself..... the unprofessional. The person without the history degree, without the math degree, without the science degree, without the health degree, without the art degree, without the physical ed. degree, without the music degree, without the English degree, without the phsycology degree, without the special ed degree, the early learning degree, the secondary degree etc....

Wow, there is a whole lot of arrogance in that statement and quite frankly, I feel sorry for her child.

People like to kick around our public school system because is an easy target. People think they can do the job of the teachers but I would love for those people who think they can "homeschool" their children to actually work in a classroom..any classroom.. for a year as a paraeducator. Not volunteer, not just pop in for a few hours here and there, not just come to the PTO every once in awhile, but actually work to try to educate a child. Until I was a para for a year, I didn't fully realize and appreciate the HUGE amount of work that teaches and staff go through to teach our children. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement but every teacher I met was there for one reason...to educate our children. They weren't there to indoctrinate our children. They truly believed in our children and wanted the best for them. What I didn't met in those schools was a teacher who thought he or she could do it alone. They knew that in order to teach our children they needed help from the parents, the community and most important from the other teachers. No teacher knows everything about every subject. That is why there are so many teachers with different backgrounds in different subjects.

Ms Ballard and these parents, for all thier well-meaning, are deluding themselves if they think they can teach their children the same as the professionals can. When one of their children turns up with a learning disability, will they be so arrogant to believe that they can teach their special need's child? No, I hope not. Once it gets really hard, when it is no long a fun experiment, they will have their children in public or private schools, why....because then they will realize that teaching is not about spending quality time with your child, or teaching them your religion, it is about educating the child to live in a complex society that is demanding more and more skills. I would like to ask Mrs. Ballard just where she learned the skills she has to run a technology buisness. I'm almost willing to bet she didn't teach herself. She was taught by a teacher and more than likely one in a public institution. To bad, her child won't get the same benefit. Dena

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

Gareth said:

:and the rest of the country can make a huge amount of money any time that the residents of The Holy Republic of Jesusland are in need of medicine, technology or anything else that they're incapable of producing on their own.

MortMan responds:

May I safely assume you make all your own medicine, technology, automobiles (including all parts), etc.?

Or do you already have to call on others, in exchange for your own hard-earned money?

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

Kudos to the home schoolers. They have taken on an awesome responsibility requiring much expense and hard work; and, by looking at the ACT test scores of children who were home schooled vs children who went through public education, it is well worth the effort.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

Funny how "the hippies" (quoting the JW article) started the home schooling trend in the 70's when the teachers and administrators were "old school" and emphasized traditional values. They had the freedom to teach their children their own way, and a few took advantage of it. The rest chose to become teachers and administrators so that they chould change the system from within.

And that they have done.

Now that the hippies are in charge of the schools, their grown children (duly trained in "the way" by public education) are the teachers, and traditional values have been thrown out the window, school leaders (aka former hippies or their children) denigrate those who choose home schooling, or even claim that no one should be able to home school.

Those hippie types (aka liberals) publicly advocate for freedom of choice, but only for people who agree with them; for those who choose not to do what the hippis proclaim to be "the way," freedom of choice becomes an aberration from the social norm, and, therefore, is unacceptable.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

"People like to kick around our public school system because is an easy target. People think they can do the job of the teachers but I would love for those people who think they can "homeschool" their children to actually work in a classroom..any classroom.. for a year as a paraeducator."

The problem appears to be not the parents who choose to "knock the system", but, rather, the concept of classroom teaching.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

I would love for someone to come and meet my home schooled children, and then tell me they will be making bomb threats one day. Give me a break!!

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education (Anonymous) says:

It doesn't matter how "nice" any family that homeschools is. They can be the "nicest" people in the world, but that does not make homeschooling right. I submit that some of the "nicest" people are also some of the "dumbest" people. There is not a single defensible position that I would accept in favor of homeschooling. The system is an atrocity.

MortMan responds:

Agreed the (school) system is an atrocity, for many. In some cases, those who find it atrocious choose to homeschool.

I submit that those people who cannot be nice display their lack of intelligence on their sleeve.

4th_grade_education (Anonymous) says:

Anyone who dares treat their own children as "science experiments" are reprehensible human beings. I know a few professors at KU who intentionally try to eliminate gender roles of their children by making the boy dress in pink and play with dolls while making the girl do the opposite. I can only imagine how screwed up these kids are going to be. You can't force anyone to be anything that they don't want to be without some backlash.

MortMan responds:

Then why is it that prospective teachers study "education theory"? Why do we have "new math" instead of tried-and-true arithmetic? Or do you simply object to parents undertaking educational experiments, just like the school systems do?

But you are correct when you say that "You can't force anyone to be anything that they don't want to be without some backlash." Homeschooling, in many cases, IS that backlash.

4th_grade_education (Anonymous) says:

As to bullying: if the kids don't learn to deal with it at an early age, it will be a sad wake-up call later on. It does not magically go away once high school is over.

MortMan responds:

How does one "learn to deal with it" when one cannot defend oneself? It is amusing to see the horror on the faces of school administrators when a parent states that their child has been instructed to walk away from nearly all situations, but if a bully hits them, they can defend themselves.

The sad wakeup call is that the "self esteem" theory of education is busily creating bullies and their victims - because the bully cannot be held to account and the victims cannot be allowed even basic self-defense.

4th_grade_education (Anonymous) says:

And, to KsTwister: you are right, they won't have to deal with "sicko bomb threats" because they will be the ones making them.

MortMan reponds:

Such a libelous statement! A pity that you cannot be bothered to even think through your own statements, much less think through someone else's.

oxandale 8 years, 1 month ago

Homeschool vs public school Both sides had the advantages and disadvantages. Both sides have some really great points and less than great points. Personally, I wasnt homeschooled, i went to public school and it prepared me wonderfully for college and also life. Like many of us know, there are many things we had to deal with in public school that prepared us for the outside world. Stress, timelines, difficult personalities, bullies (yes bullies even exist outside of school), expectations, not making the grade, getting the promotion/not getting it. I wonder, if a child spends there time being homeschooled, how do they learn how to deal with such things? Education is one thing, but how do these kids gain knowledge and the coping skills whith such things as dealing with difficult personality, the bullies, stress? I cant imagine those things would "come up" in the home school environment, while they would show up out in the everyday world, like on the work place, education beyond highschool, military. And if they do learn on these things, would it be to late on putting those things to use when they are in thier late teens/highschool graduates? By that time, many of their public school counterparts have dealt with those issues for quite sometime, and have learned what works/doesnt work.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

denak says:

So, since she doesn't believe that the professionals can do a good job she is going to leave it to herself:.. the unprofessional. The person without the history degree, without the math degree, without the science degree :

MortMan responds:

In what state does one need a mathematics degree to teach math? Or a science degree? While I am not a native Kansan, each state I have lived in, with the possible exception of Kansas, has required an EDUCATION degree.

I feel sorry for anyone who believes that a piece of paper is a requisite for performing a specific job.

denak says:

People like to kick around our public school system because is an easy target. People think they can do the job of the teachers but I would love for those people who think they can "homeschool" their children to actually work in a classroom...

... What I didn't met in those schools was a teacher who thought he or she could do it alone.

MortMan responds:

What, pray tell, does the average teacher spend the majority of the minutes in their day doing? And why?

I would posit that classroom discipline and maintaining order takes more minutes of the day than expounding learning. That is what the majority of teachers I have spoken to have indicated to me. They say that problematic students and the sheer number of children in the classroom are compounding factors that contribute to this.

Therefore, having a smaller class size, with more individual attention to the student would be a good thing, right? Or does the educational establishment frown on such measures?

You also stated "What I didn't met (sic) in those schools was a teacher who thought he or she could do it alone." It is interesting that you impute that position to homeschoolers, when most do seek outside help - through curricula, sometimes tutoring, and homeschool support and participation groups. That's a nice straw man - one you can set up just to knock down. EXCEPT that it's not true.

denak says:

Ms Ballard and these parents, for all thier well-meaning, are deluding themselves if they think they can teach their children the same as the professionals can. ...

MortMan responds:

You keep insisting that "professional" educators do a wonderful job in educating children. Why, then, have the academic achievements of the United States school system been sliding on the world scale?

You are right in one aspect, though. Homeschoolers don't think they can "teach their children the same as the professionals can". They don't want to.

They want to do better.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

What is controlled about a public school? You have 30+ students for 1 teacher, and possibly 1 pera........How is that controlled?

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education has clearly been indoctrinated in "the way."

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education wrote:

And, regarding the science experiment section, I do not think that educational philosophy should be static, but I also do not believe that rogue parents should be allowed to go off on their own to the substantial detriment of their children. When educational theory is studied, it is done under controlled, responsible conditions. There is no similar oversight for homeschooling.

MortMan responds:

"Rogue" parents? Ultimately, the parent is responsible for the education of their child. But, under the system you have espoused here, the parent is "rogue" if they do not conform to someone else's standards. That's an interesting concept of freedom.

Regarding the rest of your post, I agree that "niceness" and intelligence are separate. One's disposition has little to do with one's problem solving and information processing abilities. My antithetical response was illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

I would be interested in understanding why you feel some of my post was grammatically incorrect. It is plain that we will disagree on the substance of the discussion, but that is the purpose of such discussions.

The point regarding bullying is simple, really. Children in schools are now being taught that they cannot defend themselves. They cannot fend off a physical attack. If they do, no matter what the circumstance, they are disciplined in the same manner as the attacker. Sometimes, the victim is disciplined more harshly.

With regard to libel, the definition (from Dictionary.com) is: "defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures."

In order to be legally actionable, a specific person and a specific harm must be established. But the definition of the term itself holds no such restriction.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education wrote:

It is controlled as the curriculum is prescribed by a governing body.

MortMan responds:

Ahem... You are incorrect. The subject matter to be studied is prescribed by the state - in each of the three states my family has homeschooled in. The freedom of homeschooling is that the parents are allowed to select the material that is used to teach the required subjects, much the same as the local school system is empowered to select the texts they will use in answering the state curriculum.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

"The_Factor (Anonymous) says:

Jonas, Far from rebutting any comments you merely showed your disdain for Christians and their values. You are a bigot. You stated the Thomassons made you angry, you later ranted about Christians. You are a hate filled person. May God have mercy on your soul."

Right, right. You yourself have shown that you're just baiting me, to make me angry. And just to show that you weren't successful, here's a video of a cute cute kitten and a wonderfully tolerant dog that loves him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezxNlnp-I

And, if I'm wrong about the baiting: you should learn to relax.

JoRight 8 years, 1 month ago

Jonas is the epitome of passive-aggressiveness.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

That's not true. AND YOU SUCK FOR SUGGESTING SO!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!

. . .sob

cdc 8 years, 1 month ago

"The_Factor (Anonymous) says:"Two intollerant Christophobes posting about the 'evils' of homeschooling. If you maroons would read your posts you'd see the hypocracy of your views. You clowns are being intollerant of the Thomassons beliefs. Haven't they the right to teach their children in accordance with their beliefs?"

The_Factor: Were you, perhaps, home-schooled? Your complete lack of ability to spell, write coherently, or use proper grammar indicates that you may have been.

I'm Christian. I was not home-schooled. Thank God for that.

And I would also like to know about any teachings in the Lawrence school system involving homosexuality. Is it talked about it in any way? Is it considered "acceptable" or taught as such? I find this hard to believe.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education rote:

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law - Cite This Source

Main Entry: defama*tion Pronunciation: "de-f&-'mA-sh&n Function: noun 1 : communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person -see also libel, slander New York Times Company v. Sullivan in the important cases section -compare disparagement, false light, slander of title

You see that they all require a specific target. But, of course, understanding definitions and basic lexicography is the essence of 4th grade education.

MortMan responds:

From the definitions you cited, one would have to assume that person can only be singular in order for the descriptive term "libelous" not to apply to your original post. Of course, "people" is the plural of "person". Therefore, the "people" who comprise the homeschool community were defamed by your assertion that they would perpetrate illegal acts.

To what end would that remark be made, except to discourage those who might like to join the homeschool movement from doing so?

As I have previously agreed, legal action would be contingent on person and harm specificity. But even the legal definition of defamation I have reproduced from your post covers the clear intent of your original words. They are not legally actionable, but they are libelous. Libel is both a legal and logical word.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

One last point before I retire for the evening (morning comes early).

Aren't there legal precedents that allow for defamation of corporations, which do not fit the definition of "person" you have supplied?

At any rate, it has been an interesting debate over the definition of libel. Have a good evening.

PapaB 8 years, 1 month ago

I have an idea, let's criticize anyone who doesn't raise their kids the exact same way "I was raised".

I think it's ridiculous how many people can't look beyond their own experience and accept that maybe there is a better way, or at least better for someone else. Too many times, people feel that their parents raised them the right way and that suggesting they could have done something better casts a negative light on them. Well, maybe we should let these parents raise their kids the way they feel best.

Also, if someone wants to raise their kids to believe that something is wrong or right, that's perfectly fine with me. It's one of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

I also enjoy the authority I have to "censor" what comes into my home. I'll just say it changes your perspective when you hear some 5 yr old blurt out some swear words.

gogoplata 8 years, 1 month ago

It really isn't anybodys business if these people want to homeschool their own children. If you don't like homeschooling. Don't do it. They don't need you making decisions for them.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

So your saying that the state should tell a parent how to raise their children? Are you saying that we should all believe the same thing? Are you saying that we as parents have no true right to raise our children the way we see fit? Did your parents raise you the way they saw fit? I might not have agreed with their views, but it is their right to do so. No one has the right to step in and tell me how to raise my children. They need to know about gays, but I will tell them that we don't agree with that. That's my right. They will know it is out there, they will know it is their right as human beings (the gays), but they will also know we don't agree with that life style. The same way I let them know we don't beleive in baby killers. Hello....It's my right as their mom! Home schooling is not for everyone, just as being a parent is not for everyone. Not all parents have love for their chinldren. Just because you give birth doesn't make you a mom. You have to be a true parent. You (4th_grade_education) must spend all your time with scum, so thats all you can compare to. Thats not what we are here. We are loving caring parents who want to place values and morals in our children's hearts, we want to spend more than 10 waking hours per week with our children, we want to be apart of their life. Does that make us evil? No, it makes us loving parents who want to go the extra mile for our kids. Not all loving parents can do this, but for those who can.....why not?

triplets 8 years, 1 month ago

I homeschool my learning disabled son, and it is a fantastic experience for him compared to school. When he was in kindergarten, he learned how to appear that he understood a concept, when really he was watching the teacher's face for any indication of the answer. At home, it is clear when he doesn't understand something, because after teaching him a concept, he has to explain the concept to me. Although learning is difficult for him, he is so proud when he accomplishes something new. He is in 4th grade math, even though only in 2nd grade, and that helps boost his self esteem when he struggles with reading. We do many hands-on field trips, so he can truly understand something. He loves sharing his newfound knowledge with other children and adults. We go back and review concepts several times, even weeks or months later to ensure he has truly learned and remembered the concept. I have gone to training seminars to be trained in his specific learning disability. We use a curriculum that is state certified and is considered an excellent curriculum, (and it is not religiously based). My son goes to a school for homeschooled kids once a week so that he can enjoy learning in a classroom situation, socialize with friends, be exposed to different teachers and teaching styles (and the teachers are certified teachers). We tried to get him IEP services in the public school system when he was in public school. I have repeatedly offered to my child that he can go back to school any time he wants to, and reminded him that I am taking time away from my professional career as a physician to help him. I believe I am certainly intelligent enough to teach him, and care for him to the point that I will see that he learns, even when he doesn't feel like it because it's "hard". My son doesn't want to go to school. I still pay my taxes so other children can go to school. I am not using up the precious time of learning specialists at school, where there are more children with special needs than specialists who can provide for their needs. We pay for all of his special needs privately. My son is learning and achieving to the best of his ability. Isn't that the point of education? Just as it is unfair to show bigotry and hatred towards any group of people based on a single common denominator, whether it be skin color, sexuality, ethnicity, or other form of discrimination, please consider that many homeschoolers are just trying to do the best they can for their children.

Godot 8 years, 1 month ago

To triplets: Beautiful. You are a hero.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

Triplets, That is wonderful to see your determination, and love for your son.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education,

First of all, good morning.

If I understand your point correctly, you are saying that because homeschool educational freedom CAN be abused, it should not be "tolerated". Toward this end, you have cited phrenological studies, and compared homeschooling to the use of racial slurs.

As a counterpoint, consider that some rogue teachers get involved in inappropriate relationships with their students. Following your logic, the teaching profession should not be "tolerated".

Also, you have asserted numerous times that homeschooling is at least a disservice to children. Please produce your evidence to support that blanket assertion. Asserting "facts" unsupported by evidence does not make those "facts" true.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

Please don't hold my hand, and walk me through. I understand that you are either gay, or raised by unloving parents. You have no true understanding of what homeschooling is about. I do not shun gays, I however do not agree with their life style. Which by the way is a choice. I do not use racial slurs simply because my parents taught me that is was not polite to do so. Our school systems are becoming dangerous, and it does not focus on each student as an individual. So, your telling me that I should place my child into a situation that I am unsure of in hopes that he will gain his social knowledge vs. placing my child into a situation where he excells academically and also gets his social wings? People like to think that all the violence going on across the country will never hit us hear in Kansas, but what about the Amish? What will my community tell me when my child is harmed by the crap taking place in todays schools? They will say "We're sorry that happened to you." thats it, no one will be able to help after that. So sure throw them into an unsure situation, and hope for the best.

Kathy Gates 8 years, 1 month ago

mommy3--I'm curious. To what specific crap taking place in todays schools are you referring?

costello 8 years, 1 month ago

triplets: Thanks for sharing your story.

Like your son, my son is disabled. Unfortunately his disabilities are behavioral. And he's a teenager. He attends one of the junior highs in Lawrence, and his school has put him on the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track (http://www.stopschoolstojails.org/). Due to pressures from NCLB, zero tolerance policies, and lack of adequate funding for IDEA, emotionally disordered kids like my son are being pushed out of school and into the juvenile justice system. Under IDEA, they have a hard time suspending or expelling such students, so they use the juvenile justice system to get rid of them instead.

The first year he was with me, he attended a Catholic school. His grades were abysmal, but his behaviors were more or less under control. Then I was advised to put him in public school because there are all these services available for disabled kids. What a joke! My advice to anyone adopting an older child with behavior problems from foster care is, AVOID THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AT ANY COST. Better yet, if you're considering adopting an older child with behavior problems from foster care, DON'T. The kid will be hard, hard, hard work. But what's worse is that the system will do everything it can to make your job even more difficult. And the major system working against you is the school system.

Despite the efforts of some good people on the school's staff, the administration has determined to rid their school of my son. Last week, they managed to have him adjudicated a juvenile offender for an incident which could have and should have been handled as a school discipline issue. The other family wasn't pressing for prosecution. The DA had to subpoena them to force them to bring their son to testify against my son. [In fact, the only sensible people in the whole incident were the two boys. They had a 30 second incident in the hallway. The other kid hit my son in the face with his hoodie. My son overreacted and punched the other kid in the nose. These two kids didn't have any anomosity between them before the incident and they don't have any now. If left to themselves, they would have walked away and it would have been the end of it.] As it stands, my son now has a juvenile record. And it isn't because my son gets into fights and hits other kids a lot. He doesn't. He has behavior problems (which btw have improved substantially in the last year and a half). He can be oppositional and uncooperative. He can be rude and disrespectful. He's NOT dangerous. He just requires a lot of staff time, and it would be easier to get rid of him.

The public schools in Lawrence have repeatedly failed to meet their legal (not to mention moral) obligations to my son. I'm scared to death to send him there. If I could homeschool him, I would. It just isn't an option for me.

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 1 month ago

Two articles on the same subject. Agenda, anyone? What's the point, Mr. Simons? Please be more direct--like with your "editorials".

ksdivakat 8 years, 1 month ago

Well, here i go......I have 3 children, teenage girls, 18,16 and 14. The first 2 were/are homeschooled, the oldest wanted to attend LHS in the fall of last year and so we allowed that, she failed miserably because the classes were so much behind what she had already learned, that she bacame bored and just blew off school, luckily, she is graduating but no thanks to the public school system. The 16 y/o has never attended public school, and she is an ewuistrian champion, will graduate high school next year her JR year and has been accepted into Harvard for fall of 2008. I would emplore you to ask her friends if she is socially challenged in any way shape form or fasion, she is the social butterfly, now lets chat abotu the 14 y/o who has always been in public school, who is failing miserably, cant get any help from the school because there are 1100 kids in the school and not the principal, vice principal, counselor, teacher, social worker, or the wrap worker could tell me what the no child left behind meant. So i called our local school board memeber who also could not tell me. So rather than hold them back, the school sees that as a social stignatism and would rather pass them, and has her for 3 yrs rather than hold her back.......so her grades are terrible, she has no problem with socialization but she cat tell you what the state flower is, or who was the president before GWB, but she can tell you how to do the pop and lock routine dance at the school dances!!! What a priority!!! And when i email my daughters teachers, every single one of them respond in the same manner, I am bothering them and how dare I ask abotu her progress! I also happen to be a christian and there are things in the public system that I dont want a stranger teaching my child. It is not up to the school to teach my children about sex, I birthed my children and it is up to me to decide how they learn what. And before anyone jumps on the gay bandwagon, all 3 of my children have "gay" friends who frequently come to our house and are very comfortable at our house hanging out. So I didnt shield them from anything and I only want the very best in education for them and at least this public school system here in lawrence isnt worth a plug nickel, I cant speak for other public schools but this one i can, and by the way, next year, the 14 y/o is being homeschooled, as you can imagine based just on the blogs on here, nobody would want their child exposed to any of the hate that is spewed from this site, and it doesnt matter whether your christian, athiest, gay, straight, homeschooled, public schooled, democrat or republican, this town is full of people who think they know what is better for everyone else and darn anyone who disagrees.

mom_of_three 8 years, 1 month ago

I am not sure where your child went to school, where teachers would not respond about questions to their progress. Last year, I had a child at an elementary, junior high and high school, and received great responses in regard to their progress. This year, I have kids in two school, and still receive positive responses from their teachers when I ask about their progress. One of my kids has a LD and another has just been diagnosed. As a parent who is constantly advocating for my kids, I have always received a response from the teachers. If the teachers were slow, or if there was the occasional problem, I could always seek assistance from the administrator. ONly once did I receive an answer which I felt was inadequate, and that administrator retired.... Although I feel that sometimes teachers don't see students with learning disabilities as individuals, and try to lump them together, they do have the chilren's best interests at heart. It's my job to make sure her needs are being met by the school district....

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

thank you ksdivakat. Thats the stuff I'm refering to. All kids are different, no one way works for everyone. Public, private, or homeschool.....it's all based on your kids needs.

bunnyhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

The problem with home schooling is that there are no required qualifications whatsoever for the teachers or the curriculum for home schooled children. A 3rd grade drop-out parent can legally home school his or her children in the state of Kansas. Legally-but not effectively!

While most home-schooling parents do indeed make every effort to provide a quality educational experience for their children, there is another group of parents who choose home schooling as a way to isolate their children from society. Children of abusive parents are even more vulnerable in this situation. There is no school counselor to call authorities on the battered child's behalf. There may be no friendly neighbor who even sees the child playing in the yard and wonders why they are not in school:::.

Unregulated home-schooling provides the perfect cover for those who choose to abuse and misuse the children in their care. Unregulated home-schooling does nothing to assure that home-schooled children receive even the most basic education.

Children are not the property of their parents to use and abuse as they please. Yet, current Kansas home schooling rules and practices give parents the legal authority to declare they are home-schooling their children without ANY requirements to document that children are learning.

With the current absence of any type of oversight of home schooling completely, the Kansas Department of Education fails to protect children's safety or interest in acquiring a quality of education adequate to prepare them for full participation in Kansas' social, political, and economic life.

For many Kansas children, this is nothing short of state sanctioned abuse.

ksdivakat 8 years, 1 month ago

The unfortunate thing is that im still waiting on what the NCLB is? I mean obviously i understand that its supposed to mean no child left behind, but what does that mean? What does it entail? Can anyone educate me?

costello 8 years, 1 month ago

bunnyhawk says: "Children of abusive parents are even more vulnerable in this situation. There is no school counselor to call authorities on the battered child's behalf. There may be no friendly neighbor who even sees the child playing in the yard and wonders why they are not in school.

"Unregulated home-schooling provides the perfect cover for those who choose to abuse and misuse the children in their care."

So you'd advocate regulating homeschool in part so that the state can keep an eye on parents to make sure we aren't abusing our children? Have we really come to this level of distrust? What kind of regulation and oversight do you envision? A state worker visiting homeschooled children regularly and checking for bruises? Do you really believe that lots of homeschooling families are abusers who are hiding their abuse from the state by not sending their kids to school?

In Troxel v. Granville (2000), Justice O'Connor reiterated the principle that a fit parent is assumed to act in the best interest of his child. Normally the state would have to prove that the parent was unfit before it can interfere. It almost sounds like you would start with the assumption that parents are unfit, that Big Brother needs to be keeping an eye on us.

"The liberty interest at issue in this case-the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children-is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923), we held that the 'liberty' protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to 'establish a home and bring up children' and 'to control the education of their own.' Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), we again held that the 'liberty of parents and guardians' includes the right 'to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.' We explained in Pierce that 'the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.' We returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. 'It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.'"

continued ...

costello 8 years, 1 month ago

Part II for my reply to bunnyhawk, still quoting Justice O'Connor in Troxel:

"'Our constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is the mere creature of the State and, on the contrary, asserted that parents generally have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare their children for additional obligations. The law's concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life's difficult decisions. More important, historically it has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.'

"Accordingly, so long as a parent adequately cares for his or her children (i.e., is fit), there will normally be no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent's children."

To my knowledge, that's still the law in the U.S. So in reply to your statement

"With the current absence of any type of oversight of home schooling completely, the Kansas Department of Education fails to protect children's safety or interest in acquiring a quality of education adequate to prepare them for full participation in Kansas' social, political, and economic life."

I would say that it isn't the job of the Kansas Dept of Education to protect children from their parents.

bunnyhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Costello,

It is, however, the job of the Kansas Department of Education to assure that Kansas children are being educated. And there is currently no way for anyone in Kansas to assure that home schooled children are being educated---no way to know if they are even literate.

The fact that many home schooling parents are competent, if not excellent, home educators does not free us from the responsibility of assuring that ALL Kansas children---whether in public, private, or home school settings---are being EDUCATED.

And an additional benefit of assuring that they are being educated is the provision of some kind of oversight that will also add to their safety............Boy, that would be a REALLY bad thing, would it Costello???? Golly............why would anyone expect educators to be concerned about children's safety and well-being?????

It is patently absurd for the citizens of Kansas to accept unregulated home schooling as being in the best interests of Kansas families, and especially Kansas children. I would think Costello and cronies would at least want to consider the high costs of providing social services to the uneducated and thereby unemployable............clearly the best interests of Kansas children are not important to their ilk.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education,

Ad hominem attacks appear to be your forte. I would be careful warning others for retaliating.

You cannot justify your argument that homeschooling is inherently bad, and when faced with an analogous situation from the public schools, you refuse to discuss it. Such a strong argument, indeed.

I'm sorry that the premise of your argument has to be rejected, but assuming facts not in evidence is an extremely poor method for founding a logical argument.

Your solution is assigning parents responsibility for their children's education without authority. Perhaps you have heard of the connection between those two concepts?

It is all about control. The law, and the responsibility of the parents, gives control to homeschool parents. You, obviously, don't like that.

Have a good day.

costello 8 years, 1 month ago

lol... I'm surprised to learn that I have "cronies"! And an "ilk"! And my "ilk" doesn't care about children.

I'm sure many educators - and non-educators, as well - are concerned about the safety and well-being of children. The point of the case I quoted in my previous posts is that the law assumes that fit parents will make decisions in the best interests of their children. The state doesn't get to interfere unless the parent is proved unfit.

Many people who care about children have strong opinions about what's best for them. Unfortunately we don't all agree on what's the best way to rear and educate children. Unless a parent is unfit, the law assumes that s/he will make the best decisions for his or her kids.

Your first post indicated a concern that homeschooled children might be abused and that kindly teachers and counselors wouldn't be on hand to protect them from their abusive parents. I'm sorry, that image of the state using educators to monitor families sends chills down my spine. We send our kids to school to have them educated, not so that the state can keep at eye on them. The presumption is that parents aren't abusing their children. I believe that the vast majority of parents don't abuse their children. It's true that teachers are mandated reporters, but that's not their primary function. [I would also point out that if teachers weren't compelled to by law, a lot of them wouldn't report abuse. I have a friend who's about 40 now, who begged her high school counselor and her English teacher to protect her from her abusive mom. Neither of them did a thing.]

In your second post, you claimed that I didn't care that homeschooled children were illiterate, uneducated, and unemployable. I don't really remember addressing that topic, but let me go on record as saying I'm strongly in favor of literacy, education, and employment.

To my knowledge, the KSBE only has the authority that the legislature as given it. If it hasn't been given the authority to regulate homeschools, then it doesn't have that authority. Here's some info on homeschooling from KSBE's website: http://www.ksbe.state.ks.us/Default.aspx?tabid=1684.

It seems to me that we start from two different positions. I trust parents, and you don't. [Forgive me if I'm wrong.] That doesn't mean I agree with every decision other parents make. Ask any of my cronies, and they'll tell you that I'm really opinionated. But that doesn't mean that I get to impose my views about parenting on others. I believe that spanking is wrong, for example. I believe that spanking is never necessary and is harmful to children. I'm aware, though, that 90% of parents (maybe more) don't agree with me. And most of those parents are caring people who really have their children's best interests at heart. They spank because they believe it's best for their kids.

Same for homeschooling. Most homeschooling parents care about their kids. They're not trying to hide abuse.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education,

I have no problem with comprehension. I simply reject the underlying premise of your position - that homeschooling is inherently harmful. Further, I reject the premise that "it takes a village" (or a school oversight apparatus) to educate a child. I do not share your faith in the system.

I'm sorry you cannot evidently deal with that.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I've upset you how? I told someone good job, and I've lost my credibility with you.....I'm crushed!! (I'm laughing as I type this) I think I'll survive. It gives me a chance to post with more intelegent posters.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

Wow, your getting upset!! Back to your point. So if the state needs to step in and make sure no abuse takes place, why don't they do that prior to school age. Why are you so worried just about school aged children. I would think when a child is 0 months-3 years there would be more of a chance of abuse. They can't talk well, the have a scarce understanding of right or wrong touching etc. So, if the state is the main authority in keeping our kids safe, then they should step in the minute the children are born and tell us what to do with our infants. That's a pretty proor argument don't you think. OH, I thought you were done with me.....sorry I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers. Seariously, you don't have to communicate with me.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and same for you. You obviously have no undertstanding of homeschooling, but yet you speak.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

I just went up a few postings, and you keep saying you are done with me..........??????

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education wrote:

You reject the underlying premise that homeschooling is inherently harmful. Yet, you do not supply a single piece of evidence supporting this rejection. There is plenty of evidence supporting the premise (look above).

MortMan responds:

You should know that the burden of proof in on the side making the assertion. It is intellectually dishonest to attempt to make your opponent prove a negative. You've given it a heck of a try, though. However, I'm not nearly that naive.

There is a balance of evidence presented on this page. Most, if not all, is anecdotal. Anecdotal evidence, of course, is hardly considered conclusive in any scientific endeavor.

Along the way, you have used dishonest false-premise rhetorical devices numerous times in your posts. You have equated homeschooling to using racial slurs. You have even drawn comparisons between homeschooling and membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Too bad you cannot support your assertions.

With respect to your straw-man comment, it is hardly a logical fallacy to point out a false premise.

Without the underlying false premise, your argument appears to boil down to this: Homeschooling CAN be detrimental if the parents do not fulfill their educational responsibilities. For this reason, you say homeschooling should not be "tolerated". While falling short of calling for homeschooling to be outlawed, you simply assert that parents exercising their right to homeschool should not be "tolerated".

This position, of course, is true diversity in action.

Throughout this discussion, you have also tried to paint your opponents as intellectually inferior, making snide comments, proffering direct insults, and crying ad hominem when they are offered back to you. Apparently,that is your only method for winning a debate. Attempted intimidation is a poor substitute for a well reasoned argument.

mommy3 8 years, 1 month ago

Your saying that someone should be in authority to make sure nothing "bad" is happening to these poor homeschooled kids. Who would pay for that? Who would be in charge of all the paper work? Who would this paper work be submitted to? In the public schools it all winds up at the state level.....so I assumed it would be through the state in which this authority is founded. Well, I find it funny that you are bashing on Mortman for his grammer, and now me for my understanding of english. Are you left with nothing else to argue? No, No, I got! Your the smartest, no it all in the world. So no one else can ever grasp what your saying....OK that makes more sense (Laugh, Laugh)

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education,

I know a young lady who has recently won a music scholership to Emporia State Teacher's College. She is going to study music education. She was also homeschooled.

I also know an accomplished music teacher who is deep into her second generation of homeschooling. She was homeschooled from elementary through high school, and she went on to become a music teacher. (The two women are not related.)

Now, please offer your anecdotal evidence that homeschooling "is a form of child abuse".

And please keep in mind that you have not qualified your assertion with even a "by on large".

Finally, insults are a mild form of ad hominem. You have consistently used such insults to elicit emotional, rather than rational, responses. While this is a valid rhetorical device, it still falls under the ad hominem umbrella.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

You know, 4th-grade-ed, when you start poking holes in people's grammar as opposed to their ideas then you are basically admitting that you've lost the argument. Not sure if you're aware of that or not.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education,

"By on large" is a colloquiallism meaning "for the most part" or "predominantly". It may be a regional corruption of "by and large".

I'll save you some trouble. You spoke in absolutes. Therefore, even a single homeschool success story disproves your assertion. I have cited two, out of the many I know of. There are also published reports about homeschoolers winning national spelling and geography bees, not to mention the other anecdotes cited on this page.

You have railed about the need for "oversight". You may wish to review the words of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, reproduced above by poster costello. By force of stigma, you wish to prevent parents from exercising their authority to homeschool. You say that it should not be "tolerated". The first definition of tolerate from Dictionary.com is "to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit".

Therefore, you say that homeschooling should not be allowed. As you have insisted, it should not be outlawed, but instead it should be prohibited by rule of intimidation and innuendo.

As a technical exercise, our debate is over. You cannot substantiate your position, with its accompanying absolutes and false premises.

For me, it has been an interesting chance to practice skills I learned long ago. These are the same skills I am working to impart to my homeschooled children.

Remember, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No one is entitled to their own set of facts.

jonas 8 years, 1 month ago

"No one is entitled to their own set of facts."

Oh, I don't know. I think multiple politicians in the last decade or so have been entitled to their own set of facts.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

Jonas, I must admit that made me chuckle. Politicians have their own set of facts because they live in an alternate universe, or so it seems! ;-P

avoice 8 years, 1 month ago

Many posters here argue that a college-educated parent would not have the liberal education that would qualify him/her to educate his/her child(ren). Our public schools do not separate education into specializations until middle school. So let's talk about elementary education. Those professional teachers do not have degrees in history, science, math, etc. Some might, but mostly they have earned degrees from "teachers' colleges," where they earn a degree in "education." That is generalized, not specific "education." I've had elementary teachers tell my children "facts" that were actually false. They teach from textbooks, not from their wider knowledge (or reading) of the subject matter they are teaching. A parent, especially a college-educated parent, can easily do the same and achieve the same degree of "professionalism" in subject matter.

What teaching colleges teach that is specialized (i.e., different than any other liberal arts/sciences track) is how to work in an environment of 20+ children with a variety of special needs and abilities. This type of professionalism is difficult and does require a college education to become equipped to handle such a career. Homeschooling parents, however, do not have the same vocational requirements as bricks-&-mortar educators. If they are working with a special-needs child, it's the same special needs child they've known since birth. Who would know better the nuances of that child than the people who live with him/her 24/7/365?

I would further suggest that if an adult is not sufficiently educated to teach grades k-6, having earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, after having graduated from a public or private U.S. high school, which was preceded by a public or private U.S. elementary education, then that probably validates the argument that our schools are not properly educating our children.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

4th_grade_education,

Your are welcome to your opinion. We disagree. But that, of course, is no surprise to either of us, is it?

I undertook this debate not to convince you against your position, but to allow you to demonstrate the venom and inconsistencies I was sure I would see. This serves my purpose by illustrating a basic difference between our chosen positions and our methods for presenting them.

Thank you for so ably fulfilling my expectations.

Have a good day.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

Let's examine the record:

There is not a single defensible position that I would accept in favor of homeschooling. The system is an atrocity. Posted by 4th_grade_education 13 May 2007 at 6:15 p.m.

Those who choose to homeschool are doing their children a terrible disservice. Posted by 4th_grade_education 13 May 2007 at 9:35 p.m.

Because homeschooling subjects innocent children to such horrible disadvantages and potentially dangerous indoctrination, those who choose to homeschool their children should be shunned by society just as racial bigots are shunned. Posted by 4th_grade_education 14 May 2007 at 1:40 a.m.

It is not appropriate to homeschool, because it is harmful, albeit legal. Posted by 4th_grade_education 14 May 2007 at 4:12 p.m.

From Dictionary.com:

is,are (v): to take place; happen; occur.

subject (v): to make liable or vulnerable; lay open; expose.

absolute (adj): free from restriction or limitation; not limited in any way.

conditional (adj): imposing, containing, subject to, or depending on a condition or conditions; not absolute; made or allowed on certain terms

Neither "is" nor "subject" is a conditional verb. Therefore, they are absolute.

So much for my "lie" regarding your use of absolutes.

MortMan 8 years, 1 month ago

Please keep posting. Your venom and pugnacious condescension only serve to reinforce the fragility of your logic.

I do not intend to respond further.

QuackyPrincessLauren 8 years, 1 month ago

I was homeschooled. I am a happy, well adjusted adult. I have no criminal record, no debt, a well paying job and I graduated from college a year early. I understand that homeschooling is not a viable option for every family or every child. People often argue about socialization and homeschooled children have no friends. I had more social opportunites as a HSer than I did when I attended private schools. I have many friends, a stable relationship, and I'm close to my parents. Yes, I did have a "religion" class per se when I was homeschooled, but I also did when I attended Catholic schools. However, no one who sends their child to a Catholic school is labled a "zealot". I knew many homeschoolers who practiced religion, many who did not. The common thread was that their parents wanted to provide the best possible education. There are weird people that come from private school, public schools and homeschools. Talking in the halls, being bullied, and conforming to the norms of a public/private school is not socialization. Many people do not know that I was homeschooled and are surprised to learn that I was. I am immensely greatful that my parents provided this opportunity for me. It has also been very disappointing to read some of the immature and rude comments left by "adults" about this article and homeschooling. I also agree with "avoice" in reguards to qualification of parents, teachers, etc.

thatgrrl 8 years, 1 month ago

Having been homeschooled, I would strongly discourage anybody from homeschooling their children. Most homeschooled kids grow up to be very shy, socially awkward adults. I think parents who convince themselves they are homeschooling their children to benefit their kids' education are lying to themselves. Who cares if your kid's ACT score is two points higher if they are socially retarded? In the real world, being able to function like a normal human being is more important than your GPA.

dadamyopia 8 years, 1 month ago

I am currently pregnant with my first child and am planning to homeschool any children I have. I hold a MFA in Creative writing and my husband has a PhD in Computer Engineering; we will also be collaborating in educating our children with other highly educated parents (of different subject areas), including several university professors, because we are all quite certain that there are no schools which we could afford that could possibly compete with the level of education that we will collectively be able to provide. In terms of diversity and religious indoctrination; our group of parents include couples, and individuals, of many viewpoints. My husband and I are non-religious but others are Hindu, Catholic and protestant. We all value diversity of belief, lifestyle and hope to instill independence of thought and a questioning disposition into our children because we believe that by teaching them to seek out many different views on any given issue, they will learn to use logic and reason to determine which beliefs they would like to adhere to. I do not believe that we are, by any means, an exception in the homeschooling community. Of course there are many types of homeschoolers who follow many different belief systems and philosophies (as there are throughout society) and some parents who choose to homeschool may not be adequately prepared to do so. The fact, though, is that the public schools are often also inadequately prepared or able to educate children. I have taught writing at the university level for some time now and I have been appalled at the lack of ability in many publicly educated students. Many of them come to composition and writing classes completely unable to construct valid paragraphs, and sometimes even sentences, and a great number of them are functionally illiterate when they leave high school, even if they received decent grades during their high school careers. There are many reasons that we have decided that homeschooling is the best option for our children; academic concerns is only one of them. And the fact is that while each of us within this group is qualified to teach at the college level not one of us could get a job teaching in a public school because we lack a degree in education... although our knowledge of our subject areas is quite more extensive. Perhaps we are a small minority of the parents who are choosing to homeschool, though more and more professors are choosing this route each year, but I believe that most parents, even those with far less education, are capable of educating their children at least as well as public schools. My belief in this is also supported by test schools and mounting evidence that homeschooled children are more likely to graduate college.

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