I am not a fan of homeschooling; in fact, if I had my way, I’d make it illegal. Too often it’s an excuse to isolate kids and hammer them full of ideological nonsense, and in a troubled public school system, it doesn’t help to strip students and money from a struggling district — it should be part of the social contract that we ought to provide a good education to everyone.
Before you start protesting (aw, who am I kidding? Some will be howling in protest anyway) I know that there are good homeschool programs, and I have students who were homeschooled and were better prepared than kids coming out of the public school system. You may be one of them. But I don’t think sending everyone to be taught by your mom and dad is a good solution, and I think we’re better off investing in good public education.
OK, but now on to the email. Here’s a sincere and worthy request from a homeschooling mom in Arizona.
Next summer, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis is coming to Phoenix to speak at the local homeschool convention. As a secular homeschooler in Phoenix, I am appalled. I feel like I must respond in some way, stand up and say, “This guy does not represent me or others like me!”
I am interested in creating some kind of large, public response, but not sure where to begin. I thought that one of you might have some ideas.
See what I mean? This is one of the big problems of homeschooling: for every good, science-oriented parent, there are dozens or hundreds who buy into the awful, horrible, no-good nonsense peddled by Ken Ham and other creationists.
So I recuse myself as an opponent of homeschooling, but I appreciate that as long as we are going to have homeschoolers, something needs to be done about this ridiculous association between homeschooling and bad education. I turn it over to the readers here: what should be done? What can be done in the short term to protest damning choices like bringing Ham in to speak to a convention, and what can be done in the long run to get better quality science into homeschool programs? That last one will be a real challenge, given that my impression of the majority of homeschoolers is that they’re doing it specifically to indoctrinate their kids in a specific conservative Christian ideology.