About 40 US states have closed their schools for the rest of this academic year and turned to remote learning, but federal officials say that having children return to classrooms is a Key priorities for getting the nation back to normal.
Many educators and parents have expressed concerns, the biggest of which was voiced by the President of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union:
The Big Q: Is it safe and healthy for my children to pack them into a classroom?
The Big A: Public health experts and educators polled by NPR, say that certain changes must be made that could alter the landscape of what schools will look like after reopening, they are as follows:
- Improved health and hygiene measures. Experts recommend reducing class size to 15 children or less here in the US
- Staggered schedules. By reducing class size, schedules would have to be amended.
- Adjusting the school calendar. Some options recommended by teachers’ unions is to end the current academic year early and give students Summer instruction.
- No assemblies, sports games or parent-teacher conferences.
- Remote learning continues. Every expert polled said that the need for remote learning will continue because of staggered schedules, precautions schools must take for future waves of infection, and remedial instruction for many students.
- Social and emotional help for children. According to developmental experts the coronavirus has been “an adverse experience” for America’s children. And that mental health support and the wraparound supports for students is needed when children go back, to help them recover and bring back that safety net of schools.
- However, the experts did not mention home schooling.
Now, think about this please: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Booker T. Washington, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and Sandra Day O’Connor were all homeschooled as were countless other famous statesmen, scholars and scientists.
Traditionally, children were taught at their parents’ knees. In most cases, it was the Mother who served as their instructor, in colonial as well as modern times. It was not until the mid-1800’s that the states assumed the legal role as the educator of the nation’s children. Massachusetts was the first to demand compulsory education in Y 1854, and the Southern states, not until the 20th Century.
Most children in those times received basic instruction in history, religion, mathematics and literature.
In more affluent families, the children also learned such languages as: Latin, Greek and French.
George Washington was taught drafting and agronomy by his older brother. George was a successful surveyor, farmer and soldier before becoming the nation’s 1st President.
By Y 1960, almost 100% of America’s children were enrolled in its public and private elementary schools.
The counter-cultural revolution that swept the country during the 1060’s brought with it the resurrection of homeschooling.
At 1st limited to folks or ‘hippies‘ living in communes, then concerns about radical, moral and cultural values being introduced into their children’s schoolrooms persuaded middle-class families to educate their K-12’s at home. Mothers again took the role as teacher.
By Y 1990, about 800,000 American children were being homeschooled. By Y 2003, the number had grown to 1.1-M. By Y 2013, it was 2.1-M.
The correct number may be much higher, given the reluctance of many parents to invite government scrutiny into their homes by officially registering the information.
Today, Home Education is a $1-B+ industry in America. Thousands of teaching aids and programs are available at Fairs held across the county.
Now, Homeschooling families are organized into local and state cooperatives.
National advocacy groups, like the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, defend their legal right to home school, most often on the basis of the 1st and 14th Amendments.
Homeschooling is criticized as a phenom limited to affluent, 2-parent, White Christian families. But, now there is a dramatic increase in interest in homeschooling among Black and Hispanic families. These children have demonstrated the same impressive results on SAT and ACT achievement tests as their White peers according to the data.
A number of powerful shifts in public education have influenced parents to homeschool, including: the rise of violence on campus, the sexualization of the content of the academic syllabus, the emphasis on multiculturalism, the incidence of illegitimacy and presence of pregnant females in the classroom throughout their pregnancy, the attack on religion and divinity and the corrosive dumbing down of the curriculum and its educators.
Homeschooling is the antidote to state indoctrination.
At home parents are free to design the scope and content of the curriculum, choose the texts and workbooks plus set the pace of instruction. They serve as their child’s private tutor. Their love, undivided attention and patience guarantee one’s gradual mastery of the material. They are also the Key to the phenomenal success of homeschooling.
Homeschooling is a threat to the power of Big government to control education and the public purse and by socialist skewed indoctrination of its young future citizens, the direction of the country.
Further, its success is a threat to teachers’ unions, particularly in light of abysmal scores in math, science and reading on international assessments like PISA and TIMMS of US public school students.
This explains the continuing legal challenges to parents who homeschool and forcible intrusions into their homes by various policing authorities.
The teachers unions have proposed, and states have attempted to enact, a series of laws to require parents to obtain teacher certification or to accept prescribed monitoring and testing programs. In each and every instance the matter taken to court and parents’ legal civil rights were protected.
Yes, according to Bruce WD Barren, Chairman of The EMCO/Hanover Group, “Homeschooling has become a major factor in the learning process. It does have its pluses. However, an importance of in-school education that is missed is the social inter-action and camaraderie that are formed among students. To many, the absent of such interaction often becomes a deterrent in later life, especially in the business environment, where personal relationships often lead to job opportunities, job advancement and wealth opportunities.”
The Big Q: Where do we go from here?
The Big A: Homeschooling means a real parental commitment and is, for reasons of temperament, finance or circumstance, not right for everyone.
Homeschooling must be protected, nurtured and preserved. We cannot give our children to The State.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!