Educators and liberals always seem surprised when faced with evidence of the high quality of the education that home-schoolers get, particularly when compared with the politically correct assembly-line instruction that passes for an education in so many public schools these days.
Both my brothers and their wives home-school their children (and my wife is now home-schooling our youngest daughter). All of their children are well-read, disciplined, polite, creative, and full of information that I find lacking in many children their age. One of my 15-year-old nephews was recently assigned to read Lives by Plutarch, about Greece and Rome, and to write a short essay summarizing their society, identifying what they valued most highly and arguing whether or not each was a good and virtuous society. Can anyone imagine a 15-year-old getting a similar assignment in a public school in today’s America?
Two of my younger brother’s children were recently part of a team of home-schooled children who participated in a Lego Robotics competition in Huntsville, Ala. They competed against 22 other local teams officially sponsored by schools, corporations, and museums.
Their team was chosen as the overall winner that displayed the most innovation, ingenuity, and teamwork, and the best presentation and core values. The judges told the team’s coaches, two of the fathers, that they had never seen a group of kids who were so well-mannered and who worked so well together.
One of the events gave the team only five minutes to plan, design, and execute a robotic design from a random pile of Legos. The judges said they had also never seen a team of children call for a vote on what was to be built, proceed to spilt up the jobs, and go to work without any arguing. The judges would probably have been even more surprised (and impressed) if they had known how many of the home-schoolers were siblings like my niece and nephew. Their win entitles them to go to the state competition later this month.
Just another demonstration of how home-schoolers can get a great education, while at the same time learning the rules of civility and politeness that we seem to be losing in our culture. No wonder the teachers’ unions don’t like home-schooling — that kind of competition really shows up the quality of their work.