BBQ once again, produces a piece of sly propaganda, as it shamelessly boosts the anti-home schooling push:
By Tara Gadomski
In New York
Thirteen-year-old Jack August sits on a small sofa in a cozy, carpeted room, reading aloud from a book about knights.
All the while his playful golden retriever, Mighty, tries to sneak up on the sofa when Jack isn’t looking.
Jack’s mother, Sue, sits alongside, asking him questions about the story.
Earlier in the day, the two performed a science experiment together, using the sofa cushions and a ball fetched from the garage.
This is a just another day for Jack, who is one of the two million students in the US who are homeschooled – taught by their parents at home. And he loves it.
“I like the flexibility. If an opportunity to play tennis or anything else pops up I can do it and just make up the schoolwork later.
“And with the one-on-one instruction, it seems you can move ahead quicker and be at a higher level of learning.”
And yes, says Jack, he does socialise with other children.
“I have friends from church, from sports, and I do know other local homeschool kids.”
Until the 1970s, homeschooling was more of a necessity than a choice for American parents.
It took place mostly in rural areas, where schools could be long distances away and children were needed to help out with the work at home.
But after the publication of several controversial books that criticised institutional schooling, the modern homeschool movement in the US began, with thousands of suburban families joining in.
Still, it was not until recently that the numbers of homeschoolers really exploded – nearly doubling in the last six years.
The National Home Education Research Institute (a pro-homeschool advocacy group) estimates that that around 1.5 million children were educated at home in 2000, but in 2006, the number was closer to 2.5 million.
This increase is due, in large part, to the rise of Christian homeschooling – parents’ choosing to teach children at home from a Biblical point of view.
Now there is a vast and highly organised network of Christian homeschooling advocacy groups, legal advisers and curriculum material.
Sue August says she and her husband decided to homeschool Jack even before he was born.
“Our Christian faith is pretty strong and we thought this might be the best way to be able to pass on those values to our son.”
Her husband Mark says parents can impart something that teachers can not.
“Character is just as important as academics. And so what we’re looking for are character training issues and we would rather do that ourselves.”
The Augusts use a Christian-based curriculum for teaching their son.
Legally, they can teach him whatever they want.
Homeschool regulations vary state by state in the US, but New Jersey, where the Augusts live, has some of the most lenient. There are no requirements for attendance, training, testing, or even the use of books.
While that may seem highly unorthodox to many people, Mark August says homeschooling is just a different way of looking at the world.
“I understand why people look at the lack of regulation and are taken aback. But who is ultimately responsible for raising the child – is it the parent or the state?” Mark asked.
“From a Biblical standpoint, it’s the parents’ responsibility. Parents are going to act in the best interest of their children a majority of the time.”
Here it comes…
But Wendy Puriefoy, president of the advocacy group Public Education Network, in Washington DC, questions the ability of parents to provide an adequate environment for maturing as well as learning.
“I worry about the lack of accountability in homeschooling,” she said.
“I worry about the lack of socialisation for youngsters outside of their families.
“I worry about the access to other kinds of non-academic resources that youngsters have in public schools that you might not have in a homeschooling situation.”
These worries are totally unfounded. Home schoolers are head and shoulders above pupils that attend state schools, and the top universities are bending over backwards to attract home schoolers:
“homeschooling is a growing trend among the educated elite. More parents believe that even the best-endowed
schools are in an Old Economy death grip in which kids are learning passively when they should be learning actively,
especially if they want an edge in the global knowledge economy.” … “In some circles homeschooling is even attaining
a reputation as a secret weapon for Ivy League admission.”
Many colleges now routinely accept home-schooled students, who typically present “portfolios” of their work instead
of transcripts. Each year Harvard University takes up to 10 applicants who have had some home schooling. “In gen-
eral, those kids do just fine,” says David Illingsworth, senior admissions officer. He adds that the number of applica-
tions and inquiries from home schoolers is “definitely increasing.”
A Harvard University (MA) admissions officer said most of their home educated students “have done very well. They
usually are very motivated in what they do.” Results of the SAT and SAT II, an essay, an interview, and a letter of rec-
ommendation are the main requirements for home educated applicants. “[Transcripts are] irrelevant because a tran-
script is basically a comparison to other students in the school.”
In addition to Harvard, prominent schools like Yale (CT), Princeton (NJ), Texas A&M, Brown University (RI), the Carne-
gie Mellon Institute (PA), the Universities of Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and many others all have flexible
transcript criteria, accept parental evaluations, and do not require any accreditation or a General Equivalency Di-
ploma (GED). At Kansas State University and others like Lipscomb University and Middlebury College (VT), tran-
scripts are optional.
A February 11, 2000 Wall Street Journal article stated that:
A recent survey by the National Center for Home Education, a Virginia-based advocacy group, found that 68% of
colleges now accept parent-prepared transcripts or portfolios in place of an accredited diploma. That includes Stan-
ford University, which last fall accepted 27% of home-schooled applicants – nearly double its overall acceptance rate.
“Home-schoolers bring certain skills – motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education – that
high schools don’t induce very well” says Jon Reider, Stanford’s senior associate director of admissions.
The next part of this article, is just totally ABSURD
Worlds away from Jack’s comfortable sofa, a group of teenagers in a New York City public school history class are gearing up for a debate over the ideal form of government.
The classroom is lively and noisy as students hunch over their institutional-style metal desks to prepare their statements and re-check their facts.
When the debate finally begins the different voices, accents, opinions and academic aptitudes are apparent. But all the students are participating in their own way.
Homeschool advocates might argue that this way of teaching will slow down the brighter children or prevent the slower learners from catching up.
But the students in this classroom say they would not have it any other way.
“When you’re at school, you’re pushed. Competition brings out the best in you,” said 11th-grade student Frank, adding philosophically: “The most enlightened people are those who are enlightened by others.”
Another teenager from the class, Julia, points out what she sees as another benefit of going to school.
“I wouldn’t want to be around my Mom all day!
“No offence, I love her, you know – but this is a nice little break away from her!”
This is hardly an argument, and frankly it is clear that this nincompoop ‘Tara Gadomski’ didn’t use the internets before she wrote this utter drivel. If she had done so, she would have been overwhelmed by the amount of material in favor of home schooling, and its benefits and the real reasons why it is becoming more popular day by day, which are mostly to do with parents wanting to provide a proper education for their children.
The reasons behind the growth of home schooling are not solely due to religious beliefs, and people like Tara Gadomski focus on that reason to try and isolate home schoolers in the minds of the public as unusual folk who are motivated by fervor and not reason. Nothing could be further from the truth, and everyone knows this. When you write this tripe Tara, it makes you look SILLY, it shows your inability to research and your complete absence of depth.
“the students in this classroom say they would not have it any other way.” Yes, she actually wrote that, astonishing as it seems, and as for the anti-family sentiment of a child wanting to get away from her mother being portrayed as perfectly normal – it is THIS corrosive bile that we are trying to (and which we are successfully) getting away from, these sick ideas laid out as if they were perfectly normal. It is as sad as it is frightening; ‘the benefit of school is that you get way from your mother’ how perfectly horrible.
“When you’re at school, you’re pushed. Competition brings out the best in you,” and this is meant to be a voice of someone who is socialized! I have some bad news for you ‘Frank’ Stanford doesn’t want people who need to be pushed to do their work. They want people who display the following qualities, “…motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education – that high schools don’t induce very well”
So, no Ivy League place for you then Frank!
In every way that counts, Home schooling is better. It produces better students, better people, better citizens and thus, a better society. It very probably produces better journalists.
No number of poorly written pieces of trash will change this.