jeudi, janvier 06, 2005

Wife Swap and Thanksgiving and Homeschooling - Oh my!

Some of my readers know that the hit ABC show "Wife Swap" is one of my guilty pleasures. I don't brag about it, but there is something about that show that appeals to my voyeuristic side (no, not that kind of voyeurism).

In this season of the hit ABC show “Wife Swap,” there were (at least) two families who homeschooled their children. One seemed to do it really well, and one did not seem to do it well.

Then, over Thanksgiving, I visited my brother’s family in Kansas City, and they will homeschool their three children (they homeschool two children today).

Anyway, based upon that visit, and based watching the hit ABC show “Wife Swap,” I have been thinking a lot about homeschooling. It seems to me to have pros and cons. I thought this would be a great place to think out loud about homeschooling. Please journey with me as I work this out, and start the whole thing off tomorrow with a series of advantages to homeschooling. Soon to follow, a series on the disadvantages of homeschooling.

Today, some personal background - Mrs. Duf and I will not homeschool our daughter. There are several reasons for this, here a few:

First, we both work full time.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, neither of us wants to homeschool. I envy families with the time and the inclination.

Third, neither of us feels qualified to homeschool (considering our qualifications in light of our particular goals for our daughter – it’s hard to explain, but we want total health for her and options, and it seems her options would be limited if we homeschooled her). I envy families with the ability (or the confidence) that we lack.

Fourth, we live in an area with good public schools (some are excellent, some are above average and some are below). We have open enrollment in St. Paul, so our daughter can go to any school in any district (time and distance are, of course, factors) We are willing and able to spend some time to find the public school that fits her particular needs. My sympathies to those who do not live in districts with good schools (and I'll refrain from getting on my soap box about how we are quick to indict our schools without really knowing their strengths and weaknesses - we heard they are bad, so they must be bad, right?).

Fifth, if we are not able find a public school that works, then we will find a private school that does.

Sixth, unlike families with particular religious or faith traditions, we don’t have an independent justification to homeschool. And to be candid, the tendency or conservative christians to homeschool accounts for any prejudices I have against homeschooling. For some it can represent the dark side of segregation – I disagree with elements of society and portions of community, so I’m going to disassociate. I struggle with that part. I know it is my issue.

But readers, please use the comments to educate me on this issue as I think out loud. I'm very much in the formulation stage of my opinions on homeschooling, and I need help.