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Why Homeschool?

Revisiting Some Archived Articles that Have Not Been Lost, but May Have Been Forgotten and Are Worth a Fresh Read

Original Post Date: March 1, 2011

Recent news coverage of homeschooling has revealed a seventy-five percent increase in homeschooling in the past eight years. In addition, the reporting demonstrated a slight shift in the reasons families cite for choosing this path. Those who homeschool for religious reasons make up a significant number, but parents are increasingly attracted to homeschooling for other reasons. In a recent story on Fox News Channel, thirty-six percent of families reported that they homeschool for religious reasons while seventeen percent are dissatisfied with the quality of instruction in public schools.

Since I participate in a nation-wide homeschooling community, Classical Conversations, Inc., these reports piqued my interest. I recently polled our families to get a sense of their top reasons for homeschooling. Seventy families responded, and I compiled the results into ten categories of frequently cited reasons. Interestingly, one reason not cited at all in recent news reports was that families strongly desire to spend a more time studying and working together.

I have listed the most common categories below in no particular order.

  1. Religious Reasons. This category included a strong desire to protect and exercise freedom to:
  1. Incorporate Bible study into the school day,
  2. Develop a Biblical worldview in all academic subjects by discussing the intersection of faith and science, faith and current events, etc., and
  3. Reinforce values that are important to the family.
  1. Socialization. Homeschooling is criticized because it does not offer children adequate socialization. Families who responded to my survey pointed out their belief that school socialization is actually artificial socialization with other children who are at most one-year different in age. They point out that homeschool socialization is more true-to-life because it gives children: 
  1. Freedom to socialize with all ages, from infants to the elderly,
  2. The opportunity to learn from and model adult behavior instead of mimicking childhood foolishness, and
  3. Time to focus on studies and character development without distractions.
  1. Academic Quality. It has been said that teachers frequently “underestimate children’s abilities and overestimate their experiences.” Many homeschooling parents are passionate about helping their children to reach their full potential. Parents achieve high academic standards through: 
  1. Freedom to set high expectations based on the child’s abilities,
  2. Flexibility to work at a faster pace, and the
  3. Liberty to choose quality curriculum.
  1. Separation of government and school. Although separation of church and state frequently appears in news stories and debates, we seldom hear about “separation of state and school.” However, many homeschool families responded that they believe education is not a function of government but rather is a parental responsibility. These families hold that:
  1. Responsibility for a child’s education belongs primarily to the family, and
  2. Families should oversee character training and determine appropriate academic testing of their children.
  1. Strong Family Relationships. As I stated above, this desire to form a strong family bond is central to most homeschooling families but is rarely mentioned in homeschooling statistics and surveys. Reasons related to this category include:
  1. Desire to spend more time together as a family,
  2. Flexibility to travel,
  3. Desire to be study and work together and witness their children’s successes, and
  4. Ability to disciple and mentor children by training and teaching throughout the day.
  1. Tailored Education Plans. Many parents related a desire to create unique plans for their children’s education, which meet their unique needs. Parents cited the following benefits of tailor-made education:
  1. Quality of one-on-one instruction,
  2. Opportunities for bright students to work ahead,
  3. Opportunities for children with learning disabilities to work at their own pace, and
  4. Matching educational plans to a child’s learning style.
  1. Efficiency. Many families have discovered that they waste very little time during a homeschool day and thus multiply the hours in their day which gives them:
  1. More time to explore areas of interest such as performance and fine arts, science, history, and athletics,
  2. More time for creative play for young children, and
  3. More time for training in life skills such as work, money management, etc.
  1. Emphasis on Mastery, Not Letter Grades. Because homeschooling parents are intimately involved with each academic subject, they are able to assess quickly what their children really know. Similarly, because they have fewer children to evaluate, they focus on mastering subject material instead of temporarily learning it to earn a letter grade.
  1. Safety. Many families expressed concern about safety issues and the negative side of socialization commonly known as “peer pressure.” Families who homeschool are relieved to protect their children from exposure to: 
  1. School violence
  2. Drugs
  3. Bullying, and even
  4. Negative attitudes such as apathy toward schoolwork
  1. Private School Expenses. A number of families choose to homeschool in order to provide a quality private education for less money than private school tuition.

 

Sources:

  1. Kerkman, Maggie: “Educating Our Children: The Evolution of Home Schooling,” Feb. 9, 2011. www.foxnews.com.
  1. Whitfield, Fredricka: “Homeschooling on the Rise, but Why?” Dec. 3, 2010. www.cnn.com.
CATEGORIES: Articles, Big Ideas: Truth, Beauty, Goodness and more!, Classical Christian Education, Homeschooling Life

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