Should homeschoolers stick with the system?

Amy Platon of Scribble Ink Cafe had an article published in the Orlando Sentinel advsing homeschoolers to stick with the system.

I have much respect for parents who take matters into their own hands in an effort to protect their child. But when it comes to home-schooling, I’m worried about the big picture.

The “big picture” appears to consist of three main points:

  1. I could never homeschool because he’d have to put up with me all day.
  2. I don’t think I’m qualified.  Teachers are paid professionals.
  3. He would never forgive me.

Number three is a decent argument and although I am a passionate homeschool advocate, I’d never tell anyone they had to homeschool.  Still, the basic premise of these first arguments is “because I don’t think homeschooling is for us, it isn’t for anyone.”

Then there are the “fear-based reasons.”

  1. School-budget cuts.
  2. Bad influences.
  3. Insufficient education.

These don’t seem like fear-based reasons to me.  When a child is struggling in school, be it academically or socially, and programs they need to be successful are being cut, it is a parent’s right and duty to look out for the interests of their children.  That certainly does not always mean homeschooling.  There are a number of ways parents can become more involved in their local schools, many of which Amy lists.  But they do not always work.

Perhaps I should defer to someone who has chosen to homeschool for these very reasons.  Our decision was not based on the public schools and frankly I’d continue to homeschool even if the public schools had no problems…or if we could afford private school.  I homeschool because of what I believe about education:  namely that it involves the entire upbringing of a child, not some artificially segmented part of a child’s day.  Life and learning should be integrated and children should have the opportunity to become active members of their communities, not passive observers stuck in a classroom.

This is where some of Amy’s concerns seem based in ignorance. And I do not mean that in a negative way.  I had similar thoughts about homeschooling before I started.  I didn’t have enough contact with homeschoolers to form a valid framework for my thoughts about homeschooling.  Thus comes the question:

How can a home-schooled child have compassion for his community when he isn’t part of it?

That’s the thing–he is part of it.  My children experience community by playing catch in the backyard.  By participating in programs at the Y.  By going along with me to doctor’s appointments and on errands where they get to know our “community helpers” through frequent and informal contact rather than through a lesson delivered in kindergarten.  By stopping on the way home to watch the firemen wash their truck.  By volunteering.  By participating in community programs and events.

In short, the homeschooled child has a unique opportunity to truly be a part of their community rather than passively learn about their community.  Schools have often been viewed as “learning communities.”  But we, too, are part of a learning community.

One that extends beyond age ranges and grade levels.  To me, that is the bigger picture.

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Idaho Dad

“I could never homeschool because he’d have to put up with me all day”

I think what she meant to say was “I’d have to put up with him all day.”

I hear that from a lot of parents who proudly proclaim that they can’t wait to send their kids back to school on Monday, or after a holiday. It’s like, why have kids if you’re going to tire of them so quickly?


Great post, Dana 😉 The arguments that are raised against homeschooling are troubling to me…and you have expressed thoughts that I have had regarding the socialization issue (being a part of the community) I think that argument is going to have to die once people start realizing the extent of homeschooled children’s involvement in their community. It’s a bit unfair, if you ask me…


Amy is the epitome of why I homeschool: regurgitation. She didn’t ask any new questions or enlighten us with new arguments. It was the same old anti-homeschool nonsense.

Amy is obviously a product of our regurgitation school system where one is never taught to think for themselves but only to regurgitate what they have been spoon fed.

I’ve just started homeschooling my second child this year, and will be adding two more come fall. Although I love my four children, I need a break. Does this mean I’m a bad parent who selfishly had more than I can handle? No. While I understand Idaho Dad’s comment, surely he doesn’t expect a mother to stay with her children 24 hours a day seven days a week. Part of being a good parent is admitting when you need a break, and if sending them to school gives you one then so be it. I have had the opportunity to… Read more »
Again here we go with a person who wants homeschoolers to stick with public education when they NEVER attack or put down those who choose to send their kids to private school. The original plan of DH and I was to use public school for K-8 and the same private religious school he attended for high school (which he was on the board of). It was DH who was the primary motivator and idea hatcher in our family to ditch BOTH public school and his beloved private school for homeschooling. As I’ve said before fine for every family to make… Read more »

My children have more compassion for our community than I did as a child.

They come with me when we take a neighbor to the hospital to visit her husband. They are concerned when a friend has surgery. They love the neighbor girl who comes over to wait until her parents get home. (My little girls might love on her too much actually. They pull and tug at her to play with them, but hopefully she feels at home.) 😉

“How can a home-schooled child have compassion for his community when he isn’t part of it?” For me, this is one of the most aggravating and offensive charges made against homeschooling. (Tony Jones made a similar false assertion in his Death to Homeschooling post a while back.) I wonder whether Ms. Platon believes her neighbors who don’t have children or whose children are grown and not involved in the local public schools are part of her community and capable of having compassion for it. Why would anyone believe that a child’s participation in a community is limited to involvement in… Read more »
Angela England
“How can a home-schooled child have compassion for his community when he isn’t part of it?” Amy obviously hasn’t done her research since the research shows that while adults who graduated from homeschool are MORE involved in civic and community events, more likely to volunteer, and more likely to vote than their adult peers who graduated from public school. See the National Home Education Research Institute’s report “Home Educated and Now Adults” for more details. The truth is homeschooled children who are now “all grown up” describe themselves as happier 3 times more often than public schooled children, attend and… Read more »
Crimson Wife
I was employed full-time when my oldest was a toddler because we truly needed my salary and especially the health benefits at the time. And not to finance a lavish lifestyle either- we rented a teeny apt, shared one economy car, got our clothes at thrift shops, had no cable/satellite or landline, etc. Anyways, I found that dealing with her after 8 hours for her at daycare and me at the office was pretty challenging. I would not want to experience that 24/7. BUT her behavior and attitude dramatically improved once I was able to quit my job and become… Read more »
Cindy FL
Gee, this person sounds alot like my hub’s sister in-law. When I even mentioned that I would be the one to start teaching him piano lessons, when he got old enough to sit and learn the piano, she just about freaked out. She stated, “A parent is not an educator. They do not teach their children anything, only teachers teach the children.” I thought that whether a parent elects public school or home schooling, that it is up to the Parent, not a teacher, to introduce a child to correct behaviors, values, morals, general caring for another, and the list… Read more »
Nance Confer

I think it’s probably that they are unfamiliar with the reality of hsing. I know I was.

DS had been to private pre-K — because that’s what you do — and then entered public K — because that’s what you do.

It was only after having problems — he could read — that I began looking at alternatives. If the school system had met his needs, and then his sister’s, we would probably still be there.

And now DD will be entering high school in the fall. We’re all waiting to see how that goes. 🙂



As always I enjoyed your post.


Whenever I read something like the article I think about how insecure the writer must be. People who are secure in their own choices don’t feel the need to put down those who have chosen differently.


I didn’t really get the feeling she was putting anyone down so much. She seemed to have an understanding that homeschoolers are looking out for their children and didn’t accuse us of abusing our children which is always a bonus.

But this thought that we should send our children to school for the sake of other children? How about using the tax dollars I spend on the public school system for something that provide them with more assistance?

JJ Ross

Maybe the social interdependency of it all is like the vaccination cocoon concept, in her mind?

If we can really understand where it comes from, we might be able to figure out where we differ and then present a better power of story she would actually buy into?

I think she essentially makes two arguments, or at least I see two arguments in this line of reasoning: 1) Homeschoolers have checked out of the concept of community. 2) The public schools are losing involved parents at an alarming rate. The first is invalid and is what I addressed in the entry. Mostly she and others who worry about this probably only need to get to know more homeschoolers rather than six or so families who have announced the intention to homeschool. If her friends she mentions remain friends, she will likely see that they haven’t removed themselves from… Read more »
JJ Ross
I think you’re right about her argument but I don’t think her reasoning is her reason, if you know what I mean. That argument is the one she makes but not the real difference in our views. As with most people who stake out this position, I get the sense that the irrational belief came first and her logical explanation justifying her belief is post facto, cooked up and latched onto by her mind to make it seem reasonable. Mostly to her! 🙂 Race prejudice is like that, right? Wonder what could it be about home education that she subconsciously… Read more »
JJ Ross

LOL – I just realized Nance already said that though, and more clearly than I did!

“I think it’s probably that they are unfamiliar with the reality of hsing. I know I was.”


Yes, I believe that is the basis for most people. Homeschooling is the unknown, the unfamiliar and most definitely not the norm. Most people tend to mistake the norm for being what is right. And then have varying degrees of sophistication for their justification of that stance.

Still, how they justify it says a lot about their belief systems and values. Amy doesn’t sound adversarial at all, nor overly judgmental.

JJ Ross

Agreed. 🙂