7/14/2009

Desperate Need for "Proper" Schooling

This morning on the Today Show, they interviewed someone named Ian Halperin who apparently wrote a book about Michael Jackson. (I guess it pays the bills, but that hardly seems like a productive use of time for an adult.) In the course of discussing what comes next for the singer's three children, Halperin said they "have a desperate need for proper schooling." I know absolutely nothing about the education Jackson's children have received, but I do know this: the bias, prejudice and hostility toward home schooling in our society is getting a lot worse.

Of course this strikes a chord with me because of the decision we made (a long time ago now) to homeschool our children. There were many factors involved in that decision, and with both of them now in college both we and they would describe it as the absolute right one. They are not maladjusted misfits, undereducated failures, or ignorant of modern society and science (though thankfully they do reject much of the bogus "science" that fills the airwaves and textbooks). In fact, they're both honor students in difficult academic fields at excellent schools.

Does every family who homeschools do a good job? Of course not. Does every family who homeschools make mistakes? Of course. But how is that different from a more traditional classroom education? Does anyone seriously want to argue that our public and even private schools are succeeding with every student? Homeschooling suffers from sometimes accurate but usually greatly exaggerated portrayals of the people and product involved. But a similar eye turned toward mainstream education could produce far worse. No, it isn't for everyone. But homeschooling is a valid, valuable and viable option for receiving an education.

And Mr. Halperin, next time you want to slam homeschooling, just "Beat It."

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