Although I agree with your editorial (August, "Truth and Consequences") that children run a gamut of emotions in a typical schoolday, I disagree with the statement that "But I can’t see how sheltering a child from the real world is the same as protecting him. Home schooling a child is not sheltering that child from the Òthe real world."
To the contrary, home schooling brings the education of a child to the real world. In a classroom setting, children interact, with the exception of their teacher, only with others their own age. This in itself is an artificial environment that does not occur in the "real world." In a home school setting, children interact with people of all ages and cultures, as their educational experience is part of the "real world."
Ultimately though, home schooled children have one primary advantage not discussed in the article Ð that of learning to think independently and to question the norm. By being in the more integrated environment home schooling offers, children are taught to pull knowledge from various disciplines into a cohesive whole, something traditional education does not teach students, but expects them to do on the university level. This ability is needed before reaching college, and it is something our education system falls short on.
Although I do agree with you that education does not begin, nor end, at home, a parent is their childÕs first teacher. Simply because my child reaches the age of traditional schooling separate from the Òreal worldÓ does not mean I abdicate my position as my childÕs teacher. If it were possible, I would continue to home school.
Even though I presently cannot, I still attempt to reinforce, integrate and expand my childrenÕs traditional education with those principles found in a home schooling environment. Ultimately, knowledge is not simply about book-learning, nor is education found only in the confines of four walls, a blackboard, and the hours from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.