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Home education hurts kids

Remember when you were a kid, always trying to get out of school with crafty and ingenious ploys to stay home and watch “Salute Your Shorts,” or “Ren and Stimpy” all day? The ploys rarely ever worked, but that’s not important.

The idea of staying home all day, every day would probably make any kid thrilled out of their mind – but what do kids really know?

In essence, I’m talking about home-schooling.

An at home education sometimes comes at great detriment to the child. It really limits what a child learns, leaving them unprepared for a world not overly accepting of someone with “Education: Mom” on their resume.

States should set stricter guidelines than they have or ban home schooling altogether.

In some cases, parents can cooperate with schools and even receive the curriculum from them – teaching class as if they were a regular teacher.

This method is fine, in that it will allow students similar opportunities that other children would have.

A recent article on CNN describes the growing trend of private businesses selling curriculum material to home-schooling parents. Apparently, there are a lot of parents concerned with giving their children adequate education.

This is a good sign, but if parent’s don’t utilize these sources, they’re no good to anybody.

Not only that, if the parent isn’t a qualified teacher, all the material in the world won’t help them teach properly. Some states only require the parents have a bachelor’s degree in order to teach their children, but it doesn’t have to be in education.

Besides just limiting what their children learn, sometimes the idea just gets plain creepy.

A recent documentary on TLC brought this issue to my attention.

The documentary is about a family in Arkansas with 16 kids – the Duggar family.

Jim Bob and his wife Michelle live on a 20-acre compound where they raise their 16 children completely by themselves. They say on their Web site that the “number one goal” they have for their children is that they will one day “give God every area of their lives.”

They apparently took their children out of traditional public school because of religious convictions, and use their faith in every aspect of their lives.

They have family prayer time at regular intervals during the day, interspersed with menial things like eating and drinking and basic education required by the state.

The girls are taught things like typing, and given chores around the house – limiting their career choices to either housewife, or some type of secretary.

The boys, apparently, help out with the construction of their home – and learn basic construction by pestering contractors. Jim Bob also takes them on field trips to area construction sites, to further their studies.

Fantastic! Why didn’t my parents think of this?

They also wear matching outfits, which makes the whole thing seem even more like a cult.

I’m not saying local grocers should hide the Kool-aid from them, just that the children in the family might benefit more from someone trained to prepare them for a successful career and life.

Not that there’s anything wrong with religious devotion, but this is religion taken to

the extreme.

That’s obviously an extreme case, but home schooling allows parents to limit the type of education their children receive, and even if they mean well, the children may suffer because of it.

Even if parents do want their children to go to college, they’d still have disadvantages – colleges would want transcripts and class rank, which they obviously wouldn’t have.

On top of that, being sheltered in their home for 18 years and then all of a sudden living independently would be a rude awakening for them.

People decide home schooling is their best option for a number of reasons, but even with the best of intentions on the part of the parents, the children are missing out on the life experiences their peers in public school. On top of that, by missing those experiences they’ll very likely be at a disadvantage when their education is complete.

Send comments to Andrew at [email protected]

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