The Coming Attack On Homeschooling And Educational Freedom?
By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:
One of the unexpected outcomes of the Covid-19 shutdown/quarantine has been the widespread turn to homeschooling. Parents are being asked en masse to become intimately involved (again) with the education their children. For some parents, it means making sure that their children have access to an online platform. For many parents, however, the quarantine has thrown them into homeschooling. Thousands of American households are suddenly little schools, laboratories, and gymnasiums (or gymnasia). For thousands of other families, however, the shift to homeschool happened intentionally. Ours was one of those families. We did not set out to become homeschoolers. Our eldest began her education in a church-related school while we were in the UK. When we returned to the USA, we found that she had begun in what was, more or less, first grade and the local school wanted her to go start over in kindergarten. We tried that but it was clearly not working so we tried homeschooling and it worked well enough that we never stopped. Both children did well, arguably better than they would have done in a traditional school. Both scored well on standardized tests and found themselves taking courses at the local community college and one of the local state universities before they earned scholarships and went for their undergraduate eduction, where they did well. Both are pursuing professional careers. They have different personalities, interests, and gifts but are widely traveled and at speak least three languages beside English. Both learned Latin. One taught Latin briefly. Both are musicians and one of them is a professional musician. They took riding lessons, played basketball, studied martial arts and dance. Their education was superior to anything offered by the local public school and they got their education without fear of violence from within or without the school. They had many opportunities for socialization and wanted for nothing academically.
This is not to say that this is the way it is for all homeschoolers but as the product of the American public schools of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s (if we include state universities) I am mystified at the portrait of homeschool being peddled to American elites. Consider the recent article in Harvard Magazine in which Erin O’Donnell warns of “The Risks of Homeschooling.” Typically, magazines and conferences require planning such that it seems unlikely that both the article and the upcoming Harvard Law conference on homeschool were designed to respond to the surge in homeschooling due to Covid-19. Nevertheless, the coincidence of the conference and the article with the quarantine are remarkable.