The Instigator
The_Apologist
Pro (for)
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The Contender
nnorris
Con (against)
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Homeschooling is the Best form of Education for Most Children

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 673 times Debate No: 74306
Debate Rounds (5)
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The_Apologist

Pro

The debate will discuss whether homeschooling is the best educational method for most children. Admittedly not all children can be homeschooling, but I will be arguing that for the average child, homeschooling is to be preferred.

A few guidelines:

Be polite.
Use respected resources for quotes (i.e. not wikipedia in most cases).

Homeschooling: "the education of children under the supervision of parents." [1]

*It should also be noted at this point that "best" is a rather subjective word, but it is used in this topic to mean the best academic, emotional, and physical health of the child as well as best grooming them to become fully developed adults.

[1] Rob Reich, Why Homeschooling Should Be Regulated, Homeschooling in Full View: A Reader, Bruce S. Cooper, ed. (Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 2005) page 3 http://web.stanford.edu...
nnorris

Con

School and education are the basis of a modern, advanced society. Early civilizations, with great minds such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, et cetera, have demonstrated the value of being able to question and learn from one's surroundings. However, such an environment is not present in most home schooling. Growing up and being educated through a public or private school system promotes social skills, maintains family relationships, and presents opportunities.

The unfortunate reality of the concept of home schooling is that the child in question is at home for nearly one hundred percent of the day. Schoolwork is done at home. "Homework" is done at home. An astute observer might ask himself how a student learning at home learns how to interact, how to read social cues, how to essentially function in the 'real world', without nearly as much experience as peers his age. In fact, when a young adult doesn't have the opportunity to interact with peers frequently, he or she will suffer immensely from the lack of social contact. Humans are by nature social beings--to raise a child in a severely lacking social environment is to sentence them to a future of insecurity and depression.

Moreover, a child that is constantly in his house is bound to have a less-than-stellar relationship with his parents and siblings. Since usually one or both parents function as teachers to the child, the lines are blurred between parent and teacher. Many students hate their teachers, likewise many home schooled students learn to hate their parents. Arguments during schooling may happen daily, whether in regards to homework, grading, or any trivial matter. Students at the public school do not argue with their teachers as much because they are in a foreign environment; but at home the reigns are released. This can have a negative impact on the whole family, too. While the children are upset at their 'teachers', the parents may begin to harbor negative emotions toward the 'student'. Other siblings vent to other siblings, and the net result can very often be frequent family squabbles. Home schooling only breeds conflict.

Finally, the advantage of using the public school system is nearly inarguable. Students in the public school system are able to benefit from better equipped teachers, facilities, teaching aids, and more funding for student activities. A student can join a massive array of high-level sports, compete with other students from around the state, join after-school clubs, and go on trips the average parent could never even imagine. Modern schools have the capacity for thousands of students to use computers, databases, and lab equipment that the exact same student, home schooled, would not have been able to use and learn from. Moreover, a public school student gets easier access to university scholarships, college visits, and aid programs that are constantly presented to students. Home schooling deprives a child of opportunities, enjoyment, and
programs that every student should have access to.

Home schooling has been touted as the panacea for the public school system. However, it has been clearly shown that home schooling is less advantageous then it sounds at a first glance. Not only does a child at home lose important social skills and experience, he also unintentionally opens the door for increased family conflict and strife. Attending a public school only means more opportunities, better learning, and ultimately a happier and more profound education.
Debate Round No. 1
The_Apologist

Pro

nnorris, thank you for debating with me. I appreciate your civil presentation. I look forward to a great debate.

It is uncontested that homeschooling, on average, leads to students to push educational boundaries and achieve academic success. [1] They routinely beat out their public school peers in SATs and other standardized tests. Even the boy scouts website admits, "The average homeschooled student scores between 15 and 30 percentile points higher than his or her public school peer on standardized academic achievement tests." [2]

Homeschooling is hugely flexible. Kids can complete their core schoolwork by the middle of the day and have the rest of the day for other things. Homeschool families can easily take vacations or field trips whenever they want. For example, with hard work my sister finished high school two years early and thus finished college at eighteen. This kind of thing is not uncommon.

Another benefit of homeschooling is the adaptability. Children are different. Some are slow learners, others are fast learners. Kids have different skills: for some it"s math and logic, for others it"s music, for others it"s writing, for others it"s working on projects with their hands. As one of my college professors, Jeff Myers, put it, "It's not how smart are you, but how are you smart." [3] Kids have different learning styles: some kids are audio learners, others are visual learners, and still other are kinesthetic (tactile) learners. Homeschooling allows parents to really help their child improve the skills using the learning styles they learn with best. For example, I am an audio learner. My parents capitalized on this by purchasing an audio course on history and math with enabled me to learn those subjects much better than simply reading a textbook. We also used our hobbies to learn about school subjects.

Now, my debate partner argues that homeschooling is bad for families because it may cause friction. It may. But avoiding relationships because they may cause friction seems like a sad way to live. Of course arguments may happen daily. But a good parent trains their child to behave better. This results in a deeper relationship than is possible when parents and children are only mere acquaintances because they only see maybe an hour of each other every day. Your statement "homeschooling only breeds conflict" is false. Furthermore might you just as easily say: public schooling only breeds conflict. People, in my view, are naturally evil and will breed conflict; and training is necessary to help children develop into mature adults who don't fight with everybody.

You also claim that homeschoolers, being at home, are "not in the real world." Now, I ask you, how is school "the real world" and home is not? Furthermore it is a false assumption that homeschoolers stay at home all day. Most do not. Homeschooling involves trips to the store, workshop with Grandpa, going to work with Dad, getting taken to seen a big battleship that was in port with an older sibling, going to the zoo, helping Dad take the care to get the brakes replaced at the local auto shop, going to the library. All these are part of homeschooling. Book work is just a fraction.

Finally, you defend the public school system by arguing that: 1. It has better equipped teachers and facilities (granted) and 2. students need the socialization that they receive at public schools. I agree with your first proposition. Yet it has been demonstrated through studies (see footnote one below or: https://www.hslda.org...) that even without the teaching qualifications homeschool parents can give their children the tools to achieve more academically than their public school peers. You have also brought up the myth of socialization. Homeschoolers aren"t unsocialized. That is an unwarranted, and false, claim. Homeschoolers are among the best socialized bunch in the country. Some are often called unsocialized because they will give you weird looks if you try to explain the latest films and video-games to them. But even that is changing, I know many homeschoolers who know as much about the world of media as almost any public schooler. In general though, the difference is homeschoolers don"t feel limited to talking to people within six-months of their own age.

To quote, you say: "An astute observer might ask himself how a student learning at home learns how to interact, how to read social cues, how to essentially function in the 'real world', without nearly as much experience as peers his age. In fact, when a young adult doesn't have the opportunity to interact with peers frequently, he or she will suffer immensely from the lack of social contact. Humans are by nature social beings--to raise a child in a severely lacking social environment is to sentence them to a future of insecurity and depression."

Let"s break this down: you argue that if a child is educated by his or her parents that child will never learn social cues. Do you mean that a parent is unable to teach their own child social cues? Parents can do a great job of teaching their children how to function in the real world: The point is homeschooling is more than just math, reading, and writing; I like the term "home-discipleship" because that is what it is. Home discipleship is about the parents taking their child and teaching them through everything how to live. For example, my Dad would use a trip to the mechanic as a time to explain how cars worked, or even just how to cope in a frustrating situation. I learned all the "people skills" mainly by observing. But if I did the wrong thing, said something I shouldn"t have, or whatever, my Dad or Mom would take me aside and explain how to do it right. Your claim that we need "peers our age" to learn social skills needs to be backed up if you want to use it as a valid argument in this debate. At this point I am denying that it is true. We can learn social skills from anyone, whether at home or at school. Then you say, "he or she will suffer immensely from the lack of social contact." Since when was social contact an essential to a good life? Much social contact is just shallow friendships that are meaningless or detrimental to developing us as humans. Homeschoolers usually have a great social circle of friends relatives and acquaintances that is equal to any public schooler"s circle. Also what is your evidence that homeschooling is so socially constrained that it leads to depression. I have never heard of such cases. In fact depression often comes from too much social interaction. For example a recent article came out about how Facebook leads to depression because users think, falsely, that everybody else is so perfect; and they know that they themselves are not. [4]

Now, on the other hand, public schools foster an environment that encourages kids to learn from some of the worst kids in the community. They are exposed to violence, drugs, graphic media (video games, TV, music). Also the government schools are run by the secular elite and there is no room for religious or ideological freedom.

[1] http://www.washingtontimes.com...

[2] http://www.scouting.org...

[3] This quote was adapted from Developmental"Physiologist, and Harvard"Professor, Howard Gardener, who developed the Multiple"Intelligence"Theory. This Theory was explained in his 1963 book:"Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences."

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
nnorris

Con

nnorris forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
The_Apologist

Pro

Round 2:

Since my fellow debater has forfeited the previous round I don"t have as much to say here. My positions stated above remain uncontested. I will, however, add a few points to strengthen my case.

Often home education is largely self directed especially in the highschool years. This is actually a good thing for most students. Sir Walter Scott (who wrote Ivanhoe and Rob Roy among many other great novels) observed "All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education." Sir Winston Churchill also commented that, ""Schools have not necessarily much to do with education... they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school." H.L. Mencken, a journalist and satirist, and no friend of religion, half a century ago said "The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda - a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make 'good' citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens." This point is no less true today when public schools are a bastion of secularism.

Home education, on the other hand leads the students to develop critical thinking skill. Of course there may be a certain amount of brainwashing by the parents"everyone has such a worldview of course"but because the children live with their teachers all day they are able to explore the the outcomes of their parents worldview. This is the essence of home education. Worldviews are not just taught. They must be lived out. When this happens the child will be able to see the flaws, if any, in their parents" true curriculum"their worldview.

Matthew Hennessey presents a most important point in his article The Freedom to Homeschool : "If the state appoints itself to guard against indoctrination by parents, who is to protect children from indoctrination by the state? Critics of homeschooling rarely grapple with this question for the likely reason that they are committed to a value system that is as uniform and intolerant in its own way as they imagine the value systems of American homeschoolers to be." [1]
Of course parents must be careful to give their children a well rounded education, but the state is also guilty of only teaching one worldview.

Another reason homeschooling is better than public schooling is that it has almost the ultimate parent teacher ratio which even those who are very antagonistic towards homeschooling admit is the single best predictor of a quality educational experience. [2]

You seem concerned that homeschooling will lead to an inability to engage with other viewpoints. I don"t think that is actually a problem inherent in homeschooling. I think it is a problem which results from our generation that is dependent on Wikipedia and Facebook for our facts. We may have a wide breadth of knowledge but we have very little depth. That is, I may know about Buddhism, or radical Islam, or environmentalists, or hippies; but I can"t really get to know these positions just from Wikipedia. I don"t think public school is solving that problem. Instead everyone, whether public schooled or homeschooled, needs to get to know people from different backgrounds and it is naive to say that homeschoolers don"t do that.

Homeschooling, then, is better because it promotes academic success, it offers deep character growth through discipleship, it train children to to educate themselves through cultivating a love of reading, and, as children interact with the society around them they are challenged to think critically about their own worldview and those of others.

[1] Matthew Hennessey. The Freedom to Homeschool. http://www.firstthings.com...

[2] http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com...
nnorris

Con

nnorris forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
The_Apologist

Pro

The_Apologist forfeited this round.
nnorris

Con

nnorris forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
The_Apologist

Pro

It is apparent at this point that con is either unwilling or unable to debate me. Without undue arrogance I believe that I must win the debate by default. Even if he were to post in the last round, such an action would not count towards his overall argument since I would be unable to reply. I am disappointed that this debate has been a dud, but I trust that later others will be able to debate me who will be able to more fully criticize my arguments and we can resolve whether "homeschooling is the best form of education for most children." Thank you all for your consideration of this topic.
nnorris

Con

nnorris forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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