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Public Schools and Parents as Teachers

October 02, 1994

I have been bothered all morning by your article on home schooling ("Live and Learn," Sept. 20). We made the decision to send our children through the public school system despite the obvious shortcomings.

I realize schools now lack funding for stuff we took for granted, but art projects at home and classes at a museum work great. Gymnastics, swimming and various sports at the Y make after-school more fun. Tending our vegetable garden together, feeding the wild birds and exploring nature in our own back yard are a daily part of our routine.

None of this is exclusive of an organized education.

I pity the children in your article for whom an academic program was deemed too intense. Who is going to give these children a challenge? Is nurturing alone going to prepare them for the real world?




When David Marsh of USC cautions that parents "just don't have the skills and talent that it takes to be a teacher," he fails to realize that home-schooling parents are not taking on the task of teaching 25 to 32 students of varying abilities.

Most parents would probably agree they are not prepared to teach in a classroom, but they are prepared to impart knowledge and skills to their children.

Marsh says: "It's confusing in your mind and in the kid's mind, when you're the teacher and when you're the parent. It's a hard balance ethically."

This is a confusing statement. Children start learning from the moment they are born as parents guide them through the early stages of development to their first attempts at reading and writing, while answering their numerous questions about everything. Why should it end there? A child never makes a distinction between a parent and a teacher until he goes to school.

I leave you with the wisdom of Mark Twain: "I never allowed school to get in the way of my education."


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