I thought someone might respond to Judy Manke’s letter of May 2, but since I haven’t seen a response, I feel compelled to provide one.
She began by stating the obvious: “I believe it is in the best interest of every person in America to have an education.” Who could argue with that? She implies, however, that parents who choose to home-school their children are standing in the way of that goal.
Home schooling, in her eyes, means that “there will be those who are unable to read, write or understand the principles of what an education provides.” She argues, therefore, that every child should be “required to attend a public or private school.”
I cannot speak for every parent who home-schools, but I know a large number who do, and they are all parents who believe that home schooling provides the best opportunity for their children to achieve the goals that Ms. Manke seems to want — the ability to “create, explore, and challenge not only our own minds but others as well.”
Our children learn the times tables (up to 15 x 15), something many schools no longer require. Our children learn to write in cursive, something many schools no longer require. Our children memorize a large amount of material — in grammar, history, scientific and mathematical laws — in elementary school and then apply that knowledge to critical thinking as they grow older. They write stories and essays; they learn public speaking skills; they perform experiments and learn the true scientific method. (Many public schools seem to have abandoned the scientific method, as seen by their inordinate fear of allowing a variety of viewpoints to be expressed.)
Additionally, many of these children pursue artistic endeavors, whether instrumental, drama or dance. Home-school parents band together to provide a plethora of opportunities for their children.
Though Ms. Manke thinks home-schooled children will “begin their lives with less than we had when we attended school every day,” I think that the opposite is true. There are many excellent schools, but there are also many schools where education is secondary to crowd control.
Parents who home-school are embracing the grand American tradition of individual liberty. Certainly there should be oversight to prevent a child from remaining in ignorance; this is why we submit testing scores and other data to the school board.
I strongly disagree with her final point about mandatory attendance at a public or private school. If she had gotten a truly first-rate education in civics or American history, I believe she would never have come to that statist, authoritarian conclusion in the first place.