Friday, July 18, 2003

A tiny bit more on education and homeschooling

Eileen left a comment which I am going to repeat here so that my reply will be noticed.

Therefore, my children will learn naturally, which I will facilitate by not
sending them to school.

I understand why you dislike the educational system so much (although I don't necessarily agree) and why you'd want to homeschool your children.  And it would be great if everybody who felt the same way did that too because the system would have to change for the better.  But most
people won't do that and I don't really blame them.  It's a bit of a catch 22 problem.  The only way to change the system is to go against the system, but unless enough people go against it, the system will carry on the way it is and the people that go against it will be screwed.  Aren't you concerned that by home schooling your children, because they don't have official qualifications (and I don't mean degrees and stuff, just basic high school diplomas), they'll be penalised when they're older.  They may be the smartest people on the planet but the fact! is, at the moment, qualifications are an important thing.

I was homeschooled (with the exception of grades 4 through 8, which is ages 9 through 13), and I have a high school diploma. There are many ways, all of them legal, of homeschooling. (There are illegal ways, too, but I am not going to get into them because I plan to go the legal route.) All of the ways include the possibility of a diploma. Among the literal thousands of homeschooling choices are enrolling your children in the local school system, which will only work with certain schools and will probably require them to take standardized tests once a year; Enrolling them at Clonlara, and amazing school which is legally considered a correspondence school but actually only requires quarterly reports and converts the way you are spending your time into school credits, giving you a diploma at the end; and, in California, registering your home as a private school. We also have the GED in America (don't know if other countries have it), which is a high school equivalency diploma. It is generally looked down upon, though at least in California colleges and employers are required to treat it exactly the same as a "proper" high school diploma. I myself was enrolled in Clonlara for two years, but I found that even a quarterly report was taking away too much of my freedom, so I opted to get a GED. It was a laughably easy test, probably because it is geared toward adults who are re-entering the workforce (or immigrants who need jobs) and need a high school diploma. (That was in New York state, I don't know what the test is like elsewhere.) It is also worth noting that Ivy League schools in America do not require a high school diploma. It is undeniable that most employers these days require not only a high school diploma but a college degree as well, but that is another issue.

I agree with you that it is a bit of a Catch-22, but the only solution (for me) is to take action and do what I believe in, and hope that people will follow my example and the examples of the other families who make the same choices.