My husband's occupation includes interacting with a wide range of people from various socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. It is not unusual for him as the fleet manager of a large dealership to get to know his customers on more than just a casual basis. Throughout our years of homeschooling, thanks to the contact he has had with very satisfied customers, he has been able to arrange various "field-trips" for us ranging from personalized tours of the NASA-Ames research center, the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, and a chemical plant that made solid rocket fuel, to name but a few. Additionally, I have had the pleasure of talking with some of his customers when their occupations or interests have coincided with mine. This has resulted in a number of long-lasting family benefits as a result of their knowledge, experience, and expertise. Sometimes, he calls upon me to assist with situations or problems that exist in their lives (like adjusting to a new baby), a referral to a health-care practitioner, or (most recently) talking with a woman who has just begun to homeschool.
Bavani (not her real name) is a professor of engineering at a California university. Her husband is a software engineer working in the Bay area. She began to homeschool her six-year-old child this year after a very stressful and disappointing year in kindergarten. She said she was constantly at the school, lobbying for her child. Why? The teachers were doing nothing to curtail the abuse and ridicule he was getting from the "jocks" because he was a "nerd." She was concerned that, as a result of this negative interaction, he was going to conclude that being a serious student who cooperated with the teacher was something to be avoided since it brought about hassles with the other students.
Can you imagine! Jocks and nerds in kindergarten!
We talked for quite some time and I reassured her that, despite her husband's concerns that their son would not be able to compete in the adult world because he was homeschooled, she was positioning her family to meet the academic, social, and character building elements that make for a successful education. In the course of the conversation she made a very astute observation. She said, "So many of the teachers at the school he attended so obviously don't love children. You can see it in their eyes and their attitudes. Can you imagine teaching young children if you don't have a love for them?"
And that, in a nutshell, is the greatest blessing of the homeschool. Parents, who have a special God-given love and concern for their own children, are best equipped to exert the kind of discipline (both praise and correction) that will bring about responsible, mature adults. Even if the parents are not well-versed in all subject areas, with a bit of ingenuity and industry, they can find suitable learning arrangements for those subjects. Homeschooling is a good choice because it is a choice that honors the family, respects the parents, and allows the child to learn in a healthy, helpful environment.
(Note: If you haven’t already read The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, by Bruce Shortt, it should be on your reading list.)