Homeschool Rap

In honor of folks like Libby Anne and Peter Enns, who are discussing the pros and cons of homeschooling, I present “Why I Love Homeschooling: The Rap.”

This has the quality you most look for in white evangelical rap: it’s short.

“In science we learn we didn’t come from apes,
and when conflict arises we pray for his grace”

What more needs to be said?

Via Christian Nightmares

  • http://thehappyscientist.com Robert Krampf

    While homeschooling does have a reputation for being mostly fundamentalists, there are a surprising number of secular and atheist homeschool families. I just got back from presenting at a homeschool conference, and was pleasantly surprised to see well attended science sessions specifically for secular homeschoolers, and even a specific session for atheist homeschoolers.

    • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

      “What more needs to be said?”

      Probably what Mr. Krampf said above. It’s unfair to characterise homeschooling as simply fundamentalists dodging science education. There are lots of reasons one might homeschool, not least among them being that the local schools might be just abysmal, or your child might not do well in an ill-supervised social pressure cooker.

      • thin-ice

        So Robert and John, Vorjack can’t show us the fundamentalists stupid little video because there happen to be respectable non-theists homeschooling their children? Don’t be such curmudgeons. The fundies ignorant homeschooling can be, and deserves to be, made fun of wherever and whenever it pops up.

        • http://thehappyscientist.com Robert Krampf

          I don’t mind poking fun at the fundamentalists and pointing out their scientific blunders. Since this video was posted in regards to the pros and cons of homeschooling, I was pointing out that this video does not represent the entire homeschool community, or even a majority of that community.

          • Nox

            There is no inherent reason that homeschooling has to be about fundamentalist christian indoctrination. It’s just, a lot of it is. By a significant majority, most of the reasons people do choose homeschooling is to protect their children from hearing anything which will challenge their fundamentalist christian beliefs. And most of the independent curriculum on the market is specifically made to cater to that.

            Homeschooling can have some unique benefits. But there are some huge potential drawbacks. The reason I mostly wouldn’t recommend it isn’t the religion angle but because most parents are not qualified to be their children’s only teacher. Even if you are intelligent, even if you thoroughly know the material, even if you know better than anyone else how to communicate ideas to your own child, teaching is a specialized skill. And running a proper school (even for three or four students) is a f*cking monumental task.

            If you are going to homeschool your children, make sure the curriculum is accredited. It really sucks to finish twelve years of classes and then have to go get a GED because your credits aren’t recognized anywhere.

            • kessy_athena

              My big beef with homeschooling is actually more about teaching social skills then the curriculum. I think that learning to deal with peers is one of the most important aspects of going to school, and I don’t think parents are doing their kids any favors by raising them as spoiled princesses who don’t have to learn to deal with other kids.

    • kelemi

      My non-fundamentalist cousin home schooled. He graduated from college at 20. The left, which professes to oppose prejudice, is prejudiced against home schooling.

  • http://quaap.com Tom

    I’m a bit disappointed by the painting of homeschooling as purely a religious activity, but I’m even more disappointed to see some of the commenters here spout off with the same tired old (incorrect) arguments against homeschooling.

    Are there a lot of religious homeschoolers? Yes. Is that changing rapidly? Yes. I (a happy atheist) am currently homeschooling my child, and I’m in a large group of other secular homeschoolers. I would bet money that my child and the other children in our group experience more, better, and more diverse “socialization” than public-school children. None of them are “spoiled princesses” and they all seem to “deal with other kids” just fine.

    And, no, you don’t need to have professional teaching qualifications to teach your children. The older homeschooled children in our group seem to have acquired an outstanding education, even though none of the parents are “real” teachers.

    • UrsaMinor

      In my personal experience, the label “homeschooled” is a terrible predictor of the quality of education that a child receives. Some parents do an outstanding job and their kids are getting a much better education than they could in a public school, and the kids are well-socialized and prepared to deal with their peers in the wider world. Other parents fall flat on their faces and produce functionally illiterate and innumerate kids who don’t have any social skills at all, and are not prepared to handle the complexities of slinging fries at McDonalds.

      The successes are delightful, but it’s horribly painful to watch the failures unfold.

      • http://quaap.com Tom

        Um, that sounds an awful like public school, too. Does it not? What’s the functional illiteracy rate of high school graduates again? And “well-socialized” is not the label I’d apply to most highschoolers.

      • Jabster

        I can honestly say that all I know about home-schooling in the US is from snippets in the media* and I reckon that may give me a slightly distorted view. What’s more interesting as a news story the well adjusted child or the religious fanatic who will try out the good person test on you.

        Is there any data for the reasons for home-schooling and the outcomes?

        *Tell a lie I just googled for the numbers in the US vs. UK and the US number dwarfs the UK number.

        • Yoav

          I was the same way, all I knew about homeschooling was from stories about some fundies who don’t want their kids to go to public school where they will be thought evilution and that you’re still human even if you’re not an evangelical white christian. Vorjack mentioned Libby Anne in the post, I found her series on homeschooling very useful in getting a broader perspective since she covered both religious and secular homeschoolers who chose this option from different reasons and had stories from people who had both good and bad experiences.

          • Jabster

            I get the impression that home-schooling in the UK is far less prevalent than in the US which kinda makes sense if there is a strong element of religious bias to it.

            Then again I’ve never met a single person who was home-schooled so I really can’t say what it means!

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

              I have! Several of my friends in college were homeschooled, some for religious reasons and some not.

              They got good educations, mostly, since they wound up at a relatively good school (not Ivy League or anything, but solid state school). They were able to handle college coursework intellectually, but some had no time management skills, study habits, or ability to work on deadline. Some of them failed out because of this. They were all, universally, socially awkward. I don’t mean uncomfortable around people or shy per se, I mean literally unable to communicate with everyone else through lacking the proper cultural understanding. Unable to make friends or communicate with peer group.

              Because of this, I have serious issues with homeschooling. I’ve seen its “best” outcomes, and they weren’t great. I’ve also seen bad (but by no means worst!) outcomes. They were pretty emotionally and academically devastating to the people involved. Homeschooling in my experience has been a big negative to the people involved.

            • Jabster

              That would be my first thought on a problem with home-schooling. Interaction with lots of other children is how you learn to socialise even if it can be brutal at times.

              Here in the UK we have a much better idea – boarding schools. Have a child and once they reach five pack them off to school for nine months of the year. Wait until they’re eighteen and then it’s off to University!

            • http://quaap.com Tom

              It’s true that all homeschool children spend their time sheltered away from the world. I like to keep my daughter sheltered from all outside influences. Well, except for the times when we go to the park, dance, acrobatics, meet-ups, co-op classes, pokemon tournaments, zoo, museums, concerts, playdates, and hours and hours playing with the neighborhood children. So, except for 7 or 8 hours a day, she’s entirely isolated from the outside world.

              Keeping children isolated from other children IS bad, and yes, some religious fanatic DO do that, but certainly it is not the norm: it is just the stereotype.

              Look, you met some people who were homeschooled, and thought they were weird and unrelatable: OK, I don’t doubt your experience, but I do doubt it was representative or causative. I’m sure you met others which you simply never knew they were homeschooled because they acted “normal” and you never asked. And you’ve undoubtedly met many public schooled people who are completely unrelatable (or far worse), but that’s not a stereotype, so you don’t mark that down.

              So please, give up your ugly, hurtful stereotyping.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

              I did ask, actually. We were all nerdy together in the honors program. We had a lounge that was a “safe place” for awkward people to learn to socialize. Trust me, when you spend that much time together, you learn random things about people, and one of the big ones was where they were schooled.

              Were there plenty of awkward people who had gone to public school as well? Yes. But the ways in which they were awkward, and the amount and type of help they needed, were very different. I never said that all homeschooled kids would fail to socialize- I did say that in my experience, it was a very definite trend. Given what I’ve read online, that trend is actually the norm and not an anomaly. Even those homeschooled for non-religious reasons were still limited in a lot of ways, because they simply didn’t interact with other people enough. They still had trouble working to deadline and with time management. They still had serious holes in their education because their parents just skipped some things. I didn’t find them unrelatable, I said they had trouble relating to others. They told me about their problems, I didn’t assign them problems because I didn’t want to talk to “the weird kids”. Like I said, I was one of the unofficial socialization tutors.

              I’m glad your daughter gets out and meets others. It doesn’t sound like she’s interacting with very many people who are different from her- co-op classes and neighbor kids tend to be of similar socio-economic and racial profiles. Field trips are awesome, and I’m glad she goes on them. That doesn’t really count as socializing with other children unless she’s going on a “class” field trip, and even then all she’s learning is how to interact with others like her.

              Additionally, she’s unlikely to learn anything you don’t already know about and/or care about. If you keep her homeschooled, she’ll miss out on a lot of labs in school, and you simply cannot do science properly without experiments involving glassware and chemicals you don’t have (and shouldn’t have) at home. If she loves math, can you help her with it? Can you do calculus? Statistics? Calculus-based physics? How’re you at literary criticism? What about economics- how much do you remember from high school? Psychology? Sociology? Computer science? What will you do if she goes beyond you in a subject? Public schools can handle this because there are many teachers teaching their specialties, but you simply cannot be an expert at everything.

              OK, I’m ending this rant now. I could go on, but this is plenty long as it is.

            • http://quaap.com Tom

              Ok, you’ve convinced me: I’ve never heard those objections before and neither have any of the other homeschoolers I know. We simply have no answers for them. Your experience with a few self-selected awkward homeschooled college students is definitive. And really: who has ever heard of college students with time management issues? Certainly not me!

              I will put my child in public school immediately where she can be properly normalized and have no gaps in her education as noticed by you in your comprehensive and systematic homeschool research. (Thank God public schools have a zero percent drop-out rate, zero percent functional-illiteracy rate, and no social problems.) Thank you, random internet citizen! You have saved my daughter!

            • UrsaMinor

              Tom, unless you are a professional researcher studying the sociology of homeschooling, your personal experiences and impressions of the topic are no less limited and anecdotal (and carry no greater weight) than anyone else’s here. Just sayin’.

              It would have been more productive to say “Yes, X is a common objection to homeschooling, but this is how I handle it, and here is a link to the peer-reviewed research paper which demonstrates why my approach is likely to work”. (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here and assuming that you have done your homework). You’ve had several opportunities to take the nonadversarial approach and, you know, educate people, instead of getting all butt-hurt and giving increasingly facetious, information-free retorts.

              If this is your approach to life, your daughter will not learn reasoned debate from you, nor will she learn how to handle a conflict of opinion in a productive manner.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

              Tom, I’m not talking to you. Your mind is made up. I’m sort of talking at you and addressing your points, but I’m talking to the random Internet people who might read this. Homeschooling can be done well, and public schools can fail horribly. On average, though, homeschooling has bigger flaws than public schooling, and because of regulations and sunlight, we know the failures of public schools much better than homeschools. The failures of homeschooling just … disappear.

              So homeschooling might make sense for your family. I simply have no way to tell. On average, though, it’s a bad idea and I will continue to maintain that it is. You can’t tell how you’re messing up until it’s too late to do anything about it. I hope it works out for your daughter, but given your defensive and ill-reasoned response, I don’t have great confidence that it will. You’re just too invested in that educational choice. You’ve made it into an aspect of your identity instead of a choice you’ve made, which means if it stops working you won’t be able to see it. That’s really dangerous.

            • http://quaap.com Tom

              I thank you for your deep concern, and your in-depth analysis of my personality. I certainly wasn’t reacting in kind to comments made by those who had already made up their minds based on ridiculous stereotypes and incorrect assumptions.

              And me? I’m always like this, even in person. I behave exactly the same to my daughter as I do to people spouting off in random comment sections on the internet. I’m certainly not thoughtful to thoughtful people. Oh, I perform no evaluations of my daughter’s progress. I have not read countless books and websites on education and homeschooling. I never research my ideas, and I never carefully plan out how to handle situations which may come up.

              You now may return safely to your stereotypes, and feel free to continue to do no actual research (or even Googling answers to common objections) before commenting in the future, then blaming others for failing to educate you.

              So, again, thanks, and good-bye.

            • Sunny Day

              WOW.
              I feel sorry for your daughter. Being yelled at, condescended to, and told to look for answers on Google must make for a terrible learning environment.

              Thanks though for being an example of whats wrong with homeschooling.

              “And me? I’m always like this, even in person. I behave exactly the same to my daughter as I do to people spouting off in random comment sections on the internet. “

            • UrsaMinor

              The way to dispel a stereotype is certainly not to reinforce it with stereotypical behavior.

              Meh. Pretty run-of-the-mill troll, following the timeworn script of indignantly defending himself against accusations that were never made against him, rather that replying to questions with anything of substance. Did anybody here actually accuse him of not monitoring his daughter’s progress? Nope. Did anybody here actually accuse him of not doing any research on the subject of homeschooling? Nope. Did anyone question whether or not he carefully planned ahead for the various challenges that might come up? Not once.

              It gets really old after a while.

            • Michael

              Tom, nobody was playing offense until you started playing defense. Go back and read through the comments in order (as I just did) and tell me you don’t come off as overreacting. For instance, Ursa said the label “homeschooled” could not predict the quality of education, meaning he could not tell if your schooling was effective or not simply because it was performed at home. You reacted with abrasive sarcasm. M said he had met some homeschooled kids and noticed they were not properly socialized. He was clear (and repeated the fact) that this was his experience. You reacted with aggressive sarcasm, completely ignoring the context of the comment, and portraying the actual experience as a “stereotype.” M laid out several serious obstacles to proper homeschooling, and you reacted with extremely dismissive sarcasm, ignored all of the points, and propped up a straw man of the notion that public schools were perfect. You made no attempt to justify or defend yourself, instead adopting a snide attitude, as if that were an adequate substitute. Finally, M gave up the evidently futile argument, appealing to other parents considering homeschooling, and pointing out that it does work in some families, possibly including yours. You lifted your sarcasm to yet a higher peak, claimed this is not how you normally act (apparently conceding that your current behavior is disgraceful) but giving no evidence to this effect, and then again bringing up stereotypes and “research” (which it seems you never conducted).

              What possible reaction could you be expecting? I don’t know or care if this is how you “usually” conduct yourself, but it is how you have conducted yourself here, and that’s all we have to judge you on. So if you intended to come here in defense of homeschooling, you have done a terrible job, entirely conterproductive to your cause.

              Please don’t respond with some obnoxious, ironic non-answer. I’m not interested. Just stop being such a douchebag.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

              @Michael: Tiny thing- I’m a she, not a he. No big deal, and definitely not relevant to your points as a whole.

            • Michael

              Sorry, I hovered over your link and completely misinterpreted the URL.

            • Jabster

              @Tom

              If you thought that was the way to ‘educate’ people in how home schooling works and it’s not like the negative image as portrayed in the media you’ve failed spectacularly.

              If you read this part of the thread (anybody mentioned feel free to correct me if I have the wrong impression) Ursa M was saying that home schooling is not a good indicator to the standard of education, Yoav and myself were saying we only know about home schooling from the media, and the bias that will entail, and M was stating her own experience of people that were home schooled.

              At this point you could have helped dispel the stereo-typing of home home-schoolers by either pointing to some research or even just saying this is your experience … you choose instead to go off a mini-rant.

              How do you think this has helped?

    • kelemi

      My cousin home schooled her son. He completed high school at home at 16 and was accepted into college. He graduated at 20.

      I am by no means a fundamentalist, but you don’t need to be to home school.


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