“I do,” I said, then lowered my hand and sat down. My homeschooling friend sat to the left of the courtroom, and her cheating ex-husband with his new wife sat to the right. He fiercely opposed his children being homeschooled and was venomous about it. He glared at me in a scowl as I took the stand.
“So you’re a certified teacher; is that correct?” my friend’s lawyer began.
“Where did you earn your certification, and where have you taught?”
“I earned my Bachelor’s degree at California State University at Northridge, earning my teacher certification in California. I became re-certified in Texas, taking all their teacher exams. I then taught at a private school in Texas for two years. I taught in London, England for two years, at an American school. Then I taught three more years in Texas as a public school teacher.”
“And yet you now homeschool your own children?”
“What made you decide to homeschool your children?”
“First off, one-on-one instruction is always better than mass instruction. Just think about it. Even the richest kids on earth, in the best private schools money can buy, if they have trouble learning a concept, they will get a tutor. This proves that one-on-one instruction trumps mass instruction, and the reason why is that the student gets individualized attention. The instructor doesn’t move on until material is mastered. If the student is lost, it will be obvious to the teacher, who is only looking at one person.
In my classroom, I used to call on one student at a time for reading aloud. I had up to 45 kids in one class. If one student could have read for the entire hour, he would have advanced in his reading far, far more than the two minutes he would have read in the classroom. There is just no comparison.
This is especially important when children are young. If a child does not understand a math concept, and the class moves on, woe to that child. He will only fall further and further behind. One math concept builds on another. It is crucial for children to master these concepts, and as you can see from our national testing compared to other countries, we are failing in the schools catastrophically. Why should my friend be forced to participate in a failing system?
When I first started teaching, I used to assign writing assignments every day. But I stopped doing that. Why? I had 100 students coming through my classroom each day. If each of them turned in one page of writing per day, I had 1000 pages to analyze and correct at home. That’s like reading War and Peace every week, except that I had to grade the papers. I was so weary that I just couldn’t do it any more. I’m not saying that teachers in the school system are bad. What we are being asked to do is impossible.
Yet with homeschooling, you are in an ideal situation. The child can advance as fast as is humanly possible. Furthermore, the parent is the ideal teacher because she wants the best for her child, and she will move heaven and earth to research what the best is, and deliver it. No one knows the child as much as the parent, and weaknesses can be strengthened much more easily because they are known. Strengths can be developed to a much deeper level, because so much more time is available. Homeschoolers can accomplish in two hours what took me a whole day to accomplish in the classroom. It’s the truth. I’ve been on both sides.”
The lawyer asked, “What about socialization?”
I sighed. “I never let my students speak during class. Socialization was not allowed. Homeschoolers don’t have homework, and they have way more time to socialize than their public school friends who can’t play because they have homework.
Since when is peer age segregation the ideal? I remember when I myself was in school. I looked down on and scorned anyone beneath my grade level. Anyone above my grade level would scorn me. Is scorn correct socialization? The homeschool students that I know get along with all ages and are not snobby towards anyone. They can speak intelligently with an adult as well.”
The lawyer asked many more questions about the competency of my friend. Could she actually teach her children as well as a certified teacher could?
“I knew many certified teachers in the school system who were lousy. A true teacher is anyone who is willing to break down a concept for someone else. The education classes I took at university to become certified were mostly drivel. The History of Education in America was the most boring class I’ve ever taken. It was a bunch of fluff. Basically, certification is just a piece of paper. Yes, you had to pass exams, but that never proved that a person would be a good teacher.”
The lawyer had no further questions. I was briefly cross-examined. When I stepped down, my friend smiled at me with a beautiful smile.Tweet