Great School Debate: Audience Debate

The Audience Sounds Off

Etta, a retired teacher with over 39 years in the school system, speaks up. "Obviously, I take a different point of view, for a couple of reasons. First of all, the public school system is like a biological entity: it's like a living thing. It changes, it adapts. You receive students that come from everywhere, the diversification," she tells Dr. Phil's previous guest Dayna and Joe. "I believe the school accomplishes two things. First of all, it teaches comprehensive skills, cognitive skills. Also, it's a socialization, the boys and girls are getting along from everywhere."

Turning to Dayna, Dr. Phil says, "Do you worry about socialization being missing, and do you worry about them getting a very one point-of-view exposure from you parents?"

"Not at all. I feel like it's our job to give them as much of the world as possible, not keep them in this little box of our ideals," Dayna replies. "We give them as much of the world as possible. We have home-schooling support groups that we get together with with other people, not just unschoolers. Other traditional homeschoolers as well. Our children are in group settings with people from all different backgrounds."

Another guest, Paula, shares her views. "I understand when you say that they do get some socialization, but not near as much as children get when they get put on a bus, in school, every single day," she says.

Dr. Phil observes that schools aren't always the safest settings. "Sometimes, that socialization can include dodging bullets. It can include kids behind the gym with drugs and cigarettes and all kinds of influences that you don't want," he tells Paula. "So, there's more socialization, but is more necessarily better?"

CarrieLynn, a homeschooler, speaks up on the issue of socialization. "My kids are very busy, very involved with all ages of children," she says. "More often than not, I'm saying, 'Let's take a break from all of this,' because they are around kids most of the day every day, and they're wonderful children, and they have deep, meaningful relationships with them."

"Around kids that are also home schooled," Paula points out. "So, it's like you've created an environment " "

Dr. Phil interjects, "Not necessarily. If they're on a team at the Y, they're around kids from every walk of life," he says

Dayna tells Dr. Phil that her children are exposed to children of different backgrounds. "Actually, we're the only unschoolers that we know in real life around where we live," she reveals. "Most of our children's socialization is with schooled kids or home schooled kids, private school kids." 

"Do you worry about things like Columbine, and

 that sort of thing?" Dr. Phil probes. "Is that part of your decision?"

Dayna admits that the school shooting tragedy was the impetus for her decision to unschool her children. "After I gave birth to my first son, the first thing I saw on TV, as I held him for the first time, was Columbine happening live."



"But your kids will impact our kids someday," Paula argues. "Your kids are going to grow up and make decisions about my healthcare, or make public policy that's going to affect me, everybody, so yeah, I care about what you're doing with your kids."

"Why is that a bad thing, though? How do you see that as being negative?" Dayna responds. "Do you think my children are going to make bad choices for you?"

"Definitely. In the unschooling department," Paula answers. "There's a different between learning, just being out there learning, like I'm learning right now about a lot of things, and reading books and being book smart. There's a difference."


"Our children are quite book smart," Dayna assures her.




Another homeschooler, Kathy, joins the debate. "There's a proverb that says, 'Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.' So, the first math lesson in home schooling is when you put your kid in a classroom with 30 other kids, you get 31 fools. Children are not the best socializers of each other."

"This has got to be a partnership between the parents at home who are doing a lot of the value teaching, the morality teaching, the principle teaching, and the teacher who is at the classroom and is teaching the subject matter," Dr. Phil explains. "One of the things that concerns me that we haven't talked about is, I believe that teaching is a science. These teachers that get their teaching certificates, they are availed of a tremendous amount of research " tried and proven teaching methods to present the greatest degree of clarity with regard to a particular subject matter. And I can tell you, as a parent who hasn't had that training, I just don't think that I would be as adept at imparting that information to the student as a teacher who has been trained in the educational science."

Addressing Dayna, Dr. Phil asks, "Do you concern yourself about that, that you're not as good a teacher as somebody who's been trained to be a teacher?"

"I don't consider myself my child's teacher. And also, I think that teaching has to be a two-way street. If the child's not interested in what they're being taught, basically somebody talking in the front of the room, it's like throwing marshmallows at somebody's head and calling it eating," Dayna replies.