Integrating the Resources of Public
Schools and Home Schooling
The resources of public schools and benefits of home schooling could be
integrated, providing children with a
dynamic education. Rather than diploma mills that stress rote
memorization, schools could become 'learning centers', where students
would be allowed to study their choice of a variety of
|subjects offered: the subjects that interest
them the most!
Students would have at their disposal books, videos, CD ROM's and the internet. Teachers would serve as
facilitators, rather than lecturers, and would give guidance to students
when it was requested. There would also be a program in which
students with an interest in a particular area or discipline would be
able to observe - either in person, via the internet, or through videos
- adults working in that industry or business, thus helping to bridge
the gap between the classroom and the real world.
Two arguments are frequently made against home
schooling. One is that parents are not as qualified to
teach as professional teachers are. The other is that home
schooled students do not have enough opportunity for socialization with
their peers. By applying the home school model to public
schooling, students can study the subjects that interest them, socially
interact with their peers, and take advantage of a qualified teacher's
expertise in a particular subject while enjoying the freedom of a more
flexible and tailor- made curriculum.
There are many parents who would like their
children to benefit from home
schooling, but simply cannot afford to take
the time off of work that would be necessary to personally instruct
their children. The public/home schooling model affords such
families the opportunity to get the best of both worlds. In making
a case in favor of the home schooling model being applied to public
schools, one must first make the case for home schooling.
Empirical evidence shows that the home schooling approach produces
students who excel both in the academic world and the real world.
Students to have had the benefit of home schooling are given the
opportunity to progress more quickly in the subjects for which they have
a natural aptitude. By the same token, they are given the luxury
of progressing slower in those areas in which they have an interest, but
are not naturally gifted.
In the traditional school system, students who
would like to progress more
quickly in a given subject often get bored waiting for slower classmates
to comprehend the material. Similarly, students who may lack a
natural aptitude for the subject are pressured to keep up with their
quicker peers, and end up getting frustrated. With the home
schooling model, everyone can progress at his or her own pace. As
a result, many home schooled students advance to college, while their
public schooled counterparts - who may be just as intelligent, but are
restricted by the system - are still in high school.
A 1999 University of Maryland analysis of the
nationally recognized Iowa Test
of Basic Skills confirmed that children who are educated at home perform
exceptionally well on national achievement tests. Home schooled
students scored well above average on the SAT in the year 2000, and on
the ACT in the years 1997, 1998, 1999, AND 2000. Studies have
shown that home schooled students excel in college as well, exceeding
their college's average GPA. They have traditionally exhibited
excellence in academic competitions, as demonstrated by home-schooled
students finishing first, second, and third in the 2000 Scrips-Howard
National Spelling Bee and second in the 2000 National Geography Bee,
sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
No one will argue with the
idea that students will,
at sometime in their lives, have a use for some subjects of study
such as reading and writing, and basic math, science, and social
studies. But if a student wants to become a lawyer, how much value
should be placed on that student's learning algebra?
While it is certainly
true that not every student has a clear idea of what career path he or she plans on pursuing,
most students do have a definite opinion on which subjects or
occupational fields are of little or no interest to them. Rather
than trudging through classes that will have no bearing upon their
future, students would be allowed to customize their studies to maximize
their potential for success in their chosen field.
One could perhaps question such emphasis on
career. After all, there
many situations - in a non-occupational setting - that students must be
equipped to handle, if they are to thrive in modern society.
Personal development and goal setting are concepts that would, no doubt,
enhance the lives of any student, but are rarely taught in the public
schools. Most people have to learn these skills in their adult
life, often through trial and error. Furthermore, the traditional
education system often fails to prepare students for such realities as
job searches, interviewing, and personal finance management.
Another important element that should be addressed
is the development of
interpersonal skills. We need to consider the brutal teasing and
bullying that tends to occur in traditional public school settings.
The schools tend to tolerate animosity among students, defending
bullying with a 'kids will be kids' nonchalance. But the emotional
scars that are inflicted by cruel classmates can often last long into
adulthood, and have a deleterious impact on how an individual is able to
function in our society. Sometimes a student may feel as though he
has been pushed beyond his limit, and will resort to retaliation.
Columbine. Santee. School violence is on the rise, as has
been so dramatically demonstrated by the wave of school shootings.
An obvious reason for some parents' choice to home school their children
is to protect them from being subjected to such brutality.
home school model as applied to public schooling would provide
students with a program that encourages tolerance and teaches
interpersonal problem solving and cooperation skills that will last a
lifetime. This approach exemplifies the value of a home school
model for public education. It benefits both the individual and
society at large.
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