I have begun to realize that school teachers – as a general rule – don’t like homeschoolers. Now, please… if you’re a teacher, don’t freak out. I have lots of friends who are teachers who love homeschooling parents and the feeling is mutual – these are wonderful women whom I love, whose friendship I cherish and about whom would never say a bad thing.
My point is that as a general rule, school teachers have a deep distrust of homeschoolers. My point is also that it shouldn’t bother you or make you defensive as a homeschooler.
Their discomfort about homeschooling families is not about job security or anything like that. It has more to do with anecdotal evidence. The same anecdotal knowledge that we all value higher than any factual evidence.
“The plural of anecdote is not data.” – author unknown.
So you could go blue in the face telling them about how homeschooling offers the best advantages, how well your children are doing and how much time they have to focus on things that interest them, but they won’t listen to you and in the end their distrust will remain.
Why is this?
For the simple reason that their introduction – especially in the younger grades – to homeschoolers is via the failures.
Middle grade teachers, elementary grade teachers and high school teachers meet the children of parents who didn’t (for whatever reason) succeed in homeschooling, gave up and put them in public school.
The opposite happens as the grades get higher. Ask a college professor what he thinks about homeschooled students and the answer will likely be the opposite of that of a school teacher.
Dr. Jay Wile is a prime example of this change of perspective. He said he began researching homeschoolers because the brightest students in his class said they were homeschooled. He had no idea such a thing even existed! As a result of what he observed, the only condition he put on his adopted daughter was that she had to agree to be homeschooled.
I used to want to silence the teachers who gave me advice. I used to argue. I used to debate them. I used to take it personally. I don’t any more.
Time, as they say, will tell. You don’t need to say a word.
You only have to educate your children. And let the chips fall where they may.
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