As I was flicking through the Sunday paper (The Weekend Australian) I came across this little article tucked away on the back of one of the lift out sections. This is the link to the full article...
The Weekend Australia
So I thought I would respond. So below is what I wrote and for those who want to know why I home school you will find the answer in the letter also.
Dear Mr Tim Soutphommasane,
I would just like the opportunity to clarify a few of your statements that you wrote in your article and a couple of other misconceptions you seem to have about families who home school their children.
I believe if you had done your research more thoroughly you would have realised that home schooling your children does not prevent them from socialising with others, including those from different backgrounds and traditions. On the contrary it is the complete opposite. Our children are not confined to a classroom for 7.5 hours per day surrounded by their peers of the same age and one teacher. Home schooled children regular interact with older people, people from other races, people who practise different religions and up hold their cultures and traditions, even children with special needs, younger children, older children and families of all shapes and sizes. To imply otherwise is naive and ignorant.
Do you really think that a class room of children of the same age teaches a child how to socialise with others? More than likely a child who dresses poorly and comes from a lower social economic background would be picked on and left out not made to feel accepted or one of the crowd. In school anyone knows it’s a pack mentality – nothing has changed over the years. You have your popular kids, average one’s, the brains, the sports one and you always have the ones picked on and left out. Speak to any child who is bullied or has no friends at school how they feel about school socialisation.
Children who attend school are basically only there just over 160 days a year, when you exclude holidays, pupil free days and weekends. Then even when at school they still have to bring more work home to finish.
Educating your children at home also means that they don’t slip through the cracks, because their classroom has too many children in it. That at home a child can learn at their own pace and understand the subjects taught. That they have the opportunity of knowing who Mozart was and what Monet contributed to the art world. That if you’re a 7 year old who suddenly wants to learn about Ancient Egypt you can spend six months studying this amazing culture. Home schooling is all about considering the child’s interests. You should know that in nearly every town there is a home school group who get together regularly and have excursions, social activities, art, craft, and lessons together. (Just for a bit of socialisation!)
Why do I do it....variety of reasons - you only have to watch the news every night or read the newspaper and it gives you at least a couple of reasons why to educate your children at home. Even grade one students have brought knives to school. I have friends who are school teachers who are regularly verbally abused by their students. I want my children to be children and not grow up so fast. I don’t want them to hear a distorted view of subjects told by their peers, or for them to study curriculum that I don’t agree with. To be subjected to sex education classes when I think they are too young to understand. I want my children to enjoy learning about everything. For them to chose their subjects, to be able to explore, to listen to classical music during lessons and do nature study in the afternoon. I don’t think you would find many home school children writing derogatory, discriminative remarks about their Principle on facebook which shows such a lack of respect to those who take the time to educate them. (You should write about how a lot of students today show no respect for their teachers).
Every parent gets excited about when their child speaks their first word or takes their first step. What a privilege I have in seeing first hand when things click in their minds – when words start to make sense on a page and numbers come together to form sums.
We want our children to grow up knowing that if they put their mind to it they can accomplish great things and that if you work hard you can follow your dreams. Most of all that we will support and love them in whatever they decide to do.
I don’t judge those who send their children to school. That is one families’ decision and home schooling our children is ours.
I don’t have my kids hidden in our home against their wills, totally sheltered away from the world. Or that I am some crazy woman with her own agenda insistent on ruining her children’s lives.
In the words of Beatrix Potter - Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.
PS - Should you really uphold Germany as an example of how to educate ones child. Their history as dictators and their intolerance to other cultures and religion really leave a lot to be desired don’t you think – smile.