On February 28th, Judge H. Walter Croskey of the Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles said that homeschooling is only legal if one of the parents is a certified teacher.
Many homeschooling parents are crying fowl and that this is a breach of freedoms, even discrimination. However, this statement shows what is lacking in homeschooling. I have had to pick up the pieces from many failed homeschooling experiments where parents have underestimated the rigours of teaching. I have had a mother in Afghanistan tell me that her child did technology because he was allowed to use the satellite phone. I have had many parents excel in teaching reading and social studies, but mathematics, science and spelling were just not as well covered. Rather than an even education so many homeschoolers I have tested have had ‘peaks and troughs’ in their academic profile almost as pronounced as learning disability.
A positive response to this statement from a California judge could lead to the credibility of homeschooling increasing. I find the idea that a well-meaning parent with a high-school diploma and a prescriptive curriculum can be equivalent to a teacher with at least four years training and years of experience to undermine the professional status of teaching. That parents might learn to teach their children to think critically, to engage in the latest technology and teaching methods could be a breath of fresh air.
Of course there are some well-trained amateurs who read deeply into the philosophy of education and understand children’s development. But a dose of the trivium, For the Children’s Sake, and Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning does not make a well-trained teacher.