A few weeks ago, I posted a blog titled “The Dangers of Homeschooling” and I promised to follow up with a blog about the benefits of homeschooling. Sorry for the delay! I had planned to post the second blog a week after the first, but the whole Christmas/New Year thing hit and I’m just now waking up. In any case, I’m going to post the anticipated blog “The Benefits of Homeschooling” tomorrow.
But first, I want to respond to some of the criticism I received for first blog, some of which I’ve deleted due to my new comment policy—yes, it works retroactively.
Some readers thought that I was too harsh on homeschoolers in my first blog and have simply had a bad experience with a selective minority. (The large majority of readers, though, thought it was fine.) I’m not sure if these critics read the last paragraph of my blog where I acknowledged that we (aka, my wife) actually home school all of our four kids. Obviously—I thought it was obvious—I see potential value in homeschooling. I therefore still stand by everything I said in the original blog, since I wasn’t saying that home school will lead to the problems mentioned, but may potentially contribute to certain behaviors if the parents aren’t proactively aware of such potential dangers.
I would even add that if you are so zealous about homeschooling and get upset at the mention of any potential problems that homeschooling may bring, then there’s an even better chance that your blindness will cultivate more problems than the ones mentioned in my previous blog. We all need to be self-critical of the way we do things. Business owners, marketers, teachers, doctors—whatever your vocation, whatever your passion—if you want success, you should never become comfortable and think you’re nailing it. Fellow homeschoolers: We own it to the spiritual health of our kids to look for blind spots in our educational method.
Also, some critics were unimpressed by my blog since I didn’t provide sufficient research and statistics. I have two responses to this critique.
First, there’s a difference between quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative looks at stats, numbers, and other data that can be precisely measured, while qualitative research looks at descriptions, impressions, and other factors that are difficult to measure (yet are equally helpful). My blog was more of the latter. It was my impression based on years of teaching college students who were home schooled, Christian schooled, and public schooled, and talking to many pastors whose churches are filled with all three as well. For what it’s worth, most pastors I know have said that the home school question has been a major source of disunity among their congregants, which any Christian should see as sad. Usually—speaking qualitatively not quantitatively—it’s the “home school only” crowd who are the primary causes of such division.
Second, I’m not sure how one would perform quantitative (statistical) research on the stuff I was talking about. How would you measure with stats and data whether an educational method was more prone to foster self-righteousness, judgmentalism, and social awkwardity (remember: I don't think homeschooling necessarily produces socially awkward kids)? I think my critics were wanting me to show the educational value of homeschooling, but I never questioned this.
Lastly, one person liked the post but thought the title was misleading: “The Dangers of Homeschooling.” In his view, it made it sound like homeschooling necessarily leads to the problems I mentioned in the blog, even though, as he acknowledged, my actually post wasn't so black and white. And this is true. It’s a fair critique. But for what it’s worth, I often pick blog titles that provoke thought and draw people in. This is a basic rule in the blogger’s handbook: Avoid dull titles. (And long ones too, for that matter.) When I title a blog, I do so to draw readers in with the hopes that the content of the actual blog will clarify what I mean by the title. In this case, the content of my blog shows that I was addressing the potential dangers of homeschooling—not the inevitable dangers that will come true with every single kid who was ever schooled by his parents.
So let’s call it a draw. The title was a bit overstated. But it got your attention, no?
Stay tuned tomorrow for my third and final (I think?) blog on this topic: “The Benefits of Homeschooling.”