27 August 2008

Why Is This Best-Selling Author and Public School Teacher Homeschooling His Kids?

Best selling author of the excellent novel "Snow Falling on Cedars", David Guterson, happens to teach English at a public high school in the Pacific Northwest. So why does he homeschool his own kids? For that matter, why do a high percentage of public school teachers send their own kids to private schools? But I digress. Guterson has recently written a comprehensive book on the topic of homeschooling, which appears worth a look for anyone who has considered that option.
...In Chapter Two: What About Democracy, Guterson addresses the concerns that home-schooling somehow undermines democracy, pointing out that "your average classroom is more like a little Kremlin than a little congress [ . . . ] more like totalitarianism than democracy. There are bells and PA systems and student cards and hall passes and classrooms where you listen day in and day out to authoritarian voices" (p. 42).

...Chapter Three: Homeschoolers Among Others capably addresses the concern about socialization -- that homeschooled won't get socialized properly if they are not with their peers. Guterson points out that "Schoolchildren may be openly and consciously obsessed with their peers, but their unconscious desperation for meaningful relationships with adults can be plainly seen in their eye" (p 65). In addition, a child not tied to the school clock has the opportunity to live "as an integral part of a community, among the elderly, store clerks, gardeners, carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, and electricians in their world, [ . . . ] are apt to develop a sensitive social understanding and a sophisticated feeling for the lives of others as they are lived on a daily basis" (p. 64).

....And what does the federal Constitution say? Nothing. Why not? " [ . . . ] the Constitution doesn't mention homeschooling in part because its writers didn't have the word in their vocabulary. Learning outside of schools, back then, was pretty common. [ . . . ] In the past, governments didn't take it upon themselves to see to education. They didn't think of it as their proper role as governments do today." So in 200 years we've gone from one end of the spectrum (families are responsible for educating their off-spring) to the other (families can barely be trusted to educate their young, and even then must be supervised by a state employee and submit reports and show results lest they lose their grudgingly-granted privilege). Indeed, "Every child is entitled to a public education," as Texas Governor Rick Perry asserts, then adds, "but public education is not entitled to every child." _ADL
And so on. A nice synopsis of Guterson's book. But if you are truly interested in the homeschool option you will want to look for a copy yourself.

There are many intelligent and conscientious school teachers and administrators working in the government school system. Unfortunately, they cannot make up for what policies derived from a century and a half of poor decision making and bureaucracy building are inflicting upon today's children.

Time to wake up.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Suzanne said...

Hi,

Glad you found my post on Family Matters useful. Just so you know, it is not a recent book.

Best,

Suzanne

Saturday, 30 August, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the correction, Suzanne.

Anything since Gutenberg is recent enough, if it's still in print.
;-)

Sunday, 31 August, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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