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Home Schooling/Homeschooling Inquiry

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Question
Dear Mrs. Goltz,

My name is Kamal Hourani, and I am a Journalism student at Sharon High School in Sharon, MA. I am writing a long-form piece weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling, and I came across your name as I was conducting my research.

I would like to ask you a few questions for my story in order to use a few new, direct quotes for it. I've included the questions in this email in the hopes that you might find time in your busy schedule to answer them.

Here are my questions:
1. What advantages and/or disadvantages do you see to homeschooling?
2. What can our country's public education system learn from homeschoolers?
3. How do you expect homeschooling to evolve in the future?
4. What are the effects of homeschooling on social skills?
5. Should homeschooled students be allowed to use public school facilities or play on their sports teams? Why or Why not?

I thank you in advance if you are able to respond to my questions.

Sincerely,
Kamal Hourani

Answer
Hello, Kamal,

I owe you an apology. I discovered the problem with my being "Mrs. Goltz" and hopefully, I have corrected it. Please do not quote me as Mrs. Goltz, however. There is a reason why I need to remain relatively anonymous. You may quote my background if you want: a parent who homeschooled seven children through high school and who has "exceptional" training and experience in many different phases of education and learning.

I will answer some questions.

1. The main advantage to homeschooling is that children were designed to be taught individually, by their parents. The classroom is a very unnatural setting for a child. Children need to be active, and they need to explore the world on their own terms. Children learn at different rates, and except for the Montessori classroom, they are forced to conform to the same pace as everyone else. J. McVicker Hunt spoke of the Problem of the Match. This is described as the fact that if you give a child something too simple for him to learn (perhaps he has already learned it), he will turn from it out of boredom. If you give him something too advanced, he will turn from it out of frustration. Only when you match exactly his level of learning, will he learn. The average child in a classroom of, ideally, 15 students, will receive only at most 4 minutes per hour of the teacher's individual time. At home, the child usually gets 100% of the parent's attention while the child needs it. Only the Montessori classroom avoids the Problem of the Match. In such a classroom, there are many materials the child can use, and he will use the materials that are on his level. The homeschooling environment is much like the Montessori environment. In the standard classroom, the time is structured, but the environment is poor. In the Montessori classroom, the environment is structured, and the time is flexible. At home, the parent can supply what the child needs for his stage of development. Even if he uses a prepared curriculum, it will still be used in a way to match the child's level.

2. The public school system needs to be shut down. The government has no legitimate role in education. You cannot operate a public school system in a pluralistic society without violating the rights of some families. Public schools are intended to indoctrinate children into being complacent subjects of government, instead of free people. The only lesson the public school system can learn from homeschooling is how very INCOMPETENT the basic model is, to give children a true education.

3. I don't like that word "evolve". Right now, the main place of development seems to be the use of online resources and computer-assisted learning. But I don't anticipate what the future will bring. I just think the more people who home-educate, the better. People will develop the systems that serve them, and the competition will result in progress and advancement.

4. Homeschooled children USUALLY get BETTER socialization than children in public schools, or even in private schools. Consider the following: 1. During a typical school day, children are expected to sit still and keep quiet. They cannot socialize except at recess. Because there are too few teachers on the playground, children find many opportunities to bully other children. 2. In public school, children are forced to associate with many dysfunctional children. School itself makes them dysfunctional, as it did their parents before them. 3. It is very unnatural for a child to associate with other children his own age. It is rare for two children to be the same age in a family, and when there are two or more, it's a special circumstance. Twins and multiples have a unique relationship. There needs to be a natural pecking order, and when there is none, children resort to a lot of bad social habits to establish status. 4. Homeschooled children get to associate with people of many different ages as a general rule, which is better for their social development. Generally speaking, homeschooled students have more advanced social development than students in schools.

5. There shouldn't BE any public schools, which means there shouldn't be any facilities to use. Private schools can provide facilities to families who desire and need them. There is way too much emphasis on sports. For many people, sports are a religion, and they cause all sorts of problems. There are positive aspects to sports, but only if they are not carried to extremes.

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Expertise

I can answer some questions about how to do homeschooling, and what resources are available. I can talk about my experience homeschooling, and how children who have been homeschooled enter adulthood, and how they do.

Experience

We homeschooled our seven children through high school. I have also worked with other homeschooling families on an informal basis, from different perspectives. We have thirteen grandchildren. Our family is very, very close. I am proud of the way our children help each other, even to the extent of living together to save expenses, including the married ones. I almost completed a degree in Asian studies as well, and we have also helped our children handle the issues of other cultures.

Education/Credentials
I have a BA in art, and have studied the Montessori Method in formal settings. I observed in various schools, read many books, and volunteered in the Montessori classroom. I also studied piano for many years, and organ, and play two other instruments and sing. In many areas, I am self-taught. I read 15 languages, and I have spent thousands of hours reading law. I also have an interest in science and have read extensively in certain areas. I have a working knowledge of Christian apologetics. As an amateur ethnobotanist, I have done a study of the uses of Sonoran Desert plants, and have written material which covers hundreds of pages. I was the general contractor for building our house, and also raised goats and other animals. I am currently a professional artist and a field ornithologist. In other words, I have a widespread background in many subjects.

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