DEAR ABBY: I was appalled at the arrogance of the teacher who recently wrote, "I have never met a parent who can give his/her children the quality of education I can offer." Does she really believe she can adequately assess my child's needs and give my child a better education in a class filled with 25 other students than I can give on a one-to-one basis?
The National Home Education Institute has recently released data that indicate home-educated students typically score in the 85th percentile on standardized tests. These results are achieved by students whose parents are often not certified teachers and who have spent, on average, $546 per child per year to educate them. The county in which I live recently reported spending $4,791 per student per year and cannot boast equivalent standardized test scores.
I have been a home-school mom for five years and have seen remarkable results in the home-school community. A recent example: A young man who achieved a perfect score on his SATs and was eagerly accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. -- PATRICIA A. BERNHAUSEN, RICHMOND, VA.
DEAR PATRICIA: In recent months I have published letters from home-schooled children and educators. Your letter is one of a tidal wave of articulate letters from parents rising to defend home-schooling. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: If every teacher could give the "quality education" the one teacher in California claims to give, there might not be a need for parents to teach their children at home. Obviously, when children graduate and can't read, the system has failed. Home-schooling a child is about more than hoping the child receives a good education. It's about safety, instilling the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, and as a Christian, teaching biblical values.
One reason we don't send our children to school is because of the retired teacher in Florida. His values are not our values. He writes, "Parents should examine the teaching materials ... to make sure they are compatible with their own beliefs." Abby, we ARE familiar with the material. We know what our beliefs are, and we intend to pass them on to our children, who are well-behaved, courteous, intelligent and interact well with others.
Parents who make the enormous sacrifice to teach their children at home can offer them an education that will far surpass any they could receive in a public school. Home-schooling is not for everyone, but if you're concerned with the education your child is receiving, then it's something to consider. -- MELISA SHREVE, QUINLAN, TEXAS