WEST VIRGINIA MAT THOUGHTS
by Dr. Bill Welker
. . . on "Home Schooling"
We, in the educational profession, are experiencing a new phenomenon in teaching children -- "Home Schooling." The question which has now arisen in the extracurricular activities realm is: "Should children who are taught at home be permitted to compete in wrestling (or any sport) and/or other organizations at their local schools?"
Before I give my personal answer in reference to the above question, permit me to opine on the institution of home schooling.
As citizens living in a free society, all American parents have a right to teach their children at home. However, in reference to this practice, I do have two concerns that have not been resolved to my satisfaction:
1) How can one or two parents possess the omniscient knowledge to teach their children every subject area in the arts and sciences, from the elementary level to high school?
Having had a well-rounded K-12 childhood school experience, myself, I had to ask the aforementioned questions. But now back to the original query -- Should children who are home schooled be permitted to participate with other students their own age in local school-oriented activities -- be it wrestling, basketball, football, band, debate, chorus, etc.?
2) If they are taught at home, how can these children fully experience wholesome, social relationships with their peers, which many educational psychologists believe is so necessary during their formative years?
My definitive answer as a 34-year veteran in the field of education is "Yes, absolutely!"
Parents who believe in "Home Schooling" have every right to educate their
children in the home environment. And we, as dedicated public or private school
educators, have a professional obligation to further their social learning if asked to do so.
Needless to say, I am not a proponent of learning at home. Still, I believe in the rights of every individual in a democracy to make such a decision. Furthermore, as a teacher for all children, I could never deny "Home Schooled" students the opportunity to participate in school activities.
"Children playing together learn more than any scholar could imagine or teach."
-- W. Andrew Welker
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