Home thoughts

8th December 2000 at 00:00
YOUR two articles on home schooling (TES, November 10) represent an intriguing comparison . Earlier this year I visited Wisconsin, home territory for Michael W Apple whose research forms the focus of one the articles.

Contrary to his negative conclusions I believe the home-schooling there reflect and answer many concerns here. Before visiting the USA I was sceptical about home schooling. My experience as a senior teacher in a successful secondary school was challenged. Even if the immense commitment needed by parents is rewarded with appropriate academic progress, could the child really gain social skills from their more isolated environment?

But a profession that expresses frustration at large mixed-abilityclasses has to recognise the potential benefits of individual tuition.

In Wisconsin, home-schooling produces the accelerated educational progress highlighted in the articles with students accepted into universities with excellent qualifications showing both skills and an appetite for learning.

More importantly, home-schooling can produce added maturity and a strong sense of personal identity based on clear values.

The focus of Professor Apple's concerns is in fact a strength of home-schooling. Adults can dislike trends in youth culture but for our children to survive today we have to accept that some will transfer into our own homes.

JP Judson

80 Dark Lane

Hollywood, Birmingham

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