I like my local paper. The Aberdeen American News publishes a fair array of informative local and state news articles, plus just enough really stupid articles to make blogging easy.
Take Sunday’s column from nationally syndicated parenting columnist John Rosemond. This family psychologist and “parents rights” activist says teachers don’t need to be highly educated:
A parent does not have to be highly educated in order to home-school successfully, but regardless of academic credentials, the motivation to further one’s self-education needs to be there. A parent who wants to turn their home into the most effective educational environment possible should tune the television to learning channels only (e.g. Discovery, History), read a preponderance of nonfiction, and read a lot [John Rosemond, “Answers to Questions About Home Schooling,” Tribune News Service via Aberdeen American News, 2015.08.02].
…shouldn’t bother teaching kids with discipline problems:
I do not generally recommend attempting home schooling if disobedience is a major discipline issue in the home. Behavioral issues of that sort are going to contaminate the process and need to be resolved before home schooling is undertaken [Rosemond, 2015.08.02].
…and should not get so deeply involved with their students’ learning:
High involvement on the part of a home schooling parent is likely to turn into micromanagement and create push-back from the child. First, there are home-school curricula that do not require a high level of parental involvement. Second, the best home-school structure involves the parent teaching for 10 to 15 minutes, giving a 30-minute class assignment which the child does independently, grading the paper (immediate feedback), then moving on to the next instructional module. Minimizing parent involvement maximizes student responsibility [Rosemond, 2015.08.02].
I want you to imagine a public school teacher espousing Rosemond’s philosophy in a job interview or in parent-teacher conferences:
You know, I didn’t bother to get a degree; I just read a lot of nonfiction books and watch a lot of Discovery Channel. Kids with behavior issues just contaminate my teaching process, so I get them transferred to someone else’s class. And I don’t teach all period—that’s micromanagement! I pick curricula that don’t require me to do much. I teach for a few minutes, then hand the kids worksheets. The less I’m involved in student learning, the better!
I support parents’ rights to homeschool their kids. I believe that home school done right is great, offering kids one-on-one attention from teachers who love them.
But home school is a commitment to be more involved in your kids’ lives, not less. Involvement in the teaching process isn’t micromanagement; it’s engagement, creative questioning, and constructive feedback, backed with constant planning and evaluation of your curriculum choices and teaching methods.
And discipline issues? Seriously? Parents are the discipline gods, all-powerful and ever-present. If parents can’t exercise sufficient discipline over their children to conduct home school, those children’s behavior won’t be more manageable in a formal classroom. Rosemond’s organization sees public schools threatening parental rights, but in this column he seems to suggest that if parents can’t handle their responsibility to discipline their kids, they can take great relief in handing that responsibility to the public school system.
I like my local paper. But if they want intelligent tips for parents, they need to find a smarter parenting and education columnist than John Rosemond.