Tuesday, October 09, 2007


You can do anything.

I really believe that. I learned to read when I was about 4 because my mother, who was a credentialed elementary school teacher taught me how.

This weekend I was talking with a friend who is also a teacher. Currently her job is to supervise about 230 elementary students who are being homeschooled. This involves making sure that the correct curriculum is being followed by the parents who are homeschooling and monitoring the progress that students are making. These students are being homeschooled for a variety of reasons: health issues, they live too rurally to get to school, fear of violence in schools and of course, those people who want to give their children a faith based education. These are the ones who use loaves and fishes in their story problems. And Jesus is probably riding that train that's heading south at 10 miles an hour - GOD I hated math story problems.

Anyway, I was astonished to learn that there is no minimum literacy requirement for the people who are administering the correct curriculum to the homeschoolers. So therefore it stands to reason that if you can't read or write correctly you will not be able to teach your children to do so.

I asked my friend if this happens. Are people out there homeschooling their kids who cannot read or write very well. She said that yes indeed, this is in fact happening. Just the other day she had a parent come in who wanted to know, "What exactly is a consonant?"

Seems like an excellent way to keep illiterate people illiterate - let them teach their children to also be illiterate.

I know that advocates of homeschooling can point out all kinds of examples of kids who have excelled with homeschooling, but I would hope that they would agree with me that those that teach their children at home should have to meet certain standards of proficiency in order to do so, or provide their kids with someone who can meet those standards.

If a kid can't read and write the rest of life is going to be so much harder when they become an adult.

Being able to read is like having magic powers and no one knows that better than someone who cannot do it.