University of the Free State rector Jonathan Jansen is known as being antagonistic towards home education. Click here for an article of his previous attack on home education where the following statement was made : “Dit is die hoëronderwys-weergawe van tuisonderrig, waar jong mense in ’n eng, bevooroordeelde, “Nederduitse Gereformeerde” denkwyse geïndoktrineer kan word, presies hoe Suid-Afrika in die eerste plek veral sedert die 1940’s in die moeilikheid beland het.”
In a recent article he attacked home education again by making the following statement : "Although I sympathise with parents sceptical of public education, teaching is not something parents can do unless they are highly trained,..." This statement caused a lot of unhappiness under homeschooling parents and a number of them write letters to Times Live. A few of these letters are published below.
Two factors are critical to the success of education : An understanding of the education content and an understanding of the child that receives the education. Highly trained teachers might have a better understanding of the education content than parents, but parents can easily compensate for this by consulting Google or Youtube, or the best teachers in the world on Khan Academy. However, parents have a much better understanding of the child that receives the education, and there is very little that teachers can do to compensate for this.
I was so infuriated to read the unfounded and false comment by Prof Jansen in the closing lines of your article about homeschooling today: ".teaching is not something parents can do unless they are highly trained."
Prof Jansen needs to do his homework. As he well knows every survey shows the school system with the 'highly trained' professional teachers is failing dismally.
In contrast, research in the USA comparing the performance of homeschoolers and public school students on three standardised tests revealed that with public school students at the 50th percentile, homeschoolers were at the 89th percentile in reading, the 86th percentile in science, the 84th percentile in language, math, and social studies.
(The percentile is not the test score, the 89th percentile means that 89% of all students scored lower than homeschoolers in reading, for example.)
The parents' own education had little effect on the academic achievement of homeschooled children: In families where neither parent had tertiary education, homeschoolers scored in the 83rd percentile. If one parent had a university degree, they scored in the 86th percentile. If both parents were university graduates, the students scored in the 90th percentile.
Take note Prof Jansen: Whether or not the parents were certified teachers or not had no effect on the children's academic outcomes.
Parents can teach their children and it is their love and dedication to their children that enables them to do it well...and they never strike!
Home educating mother of 6 children, homeschooling author and activist