Today, an estimated 3 million students are homeschooled in the United States, a growth from the 850,000 who were homeschooled in 1998 (Lips & Fienberg 2009). As more and more families join the revolution each year, I am more convinced than ever before that my husband and I chose the right path for our children. So, why homeschool? you may ask. What could one possibly gain by teaching their children at home? Why not just send them to public school like the majority of their peers?
There are many reasons why families choose to homeschool. What once was thought of as a Christian or religious preference is now being accepted by people of all races, creeds, and religions. The main reason? Public schools are not doing the job. Many classrooms have expanded the last few years, leaving teachers to deal with an overage of students and an overage of disciplinary problems. Public schools have become a mecca for bullying, negative peer pressure, and drugs. And when it comes to learning, many students are falling behind. These issues alone are cause for some parents to remove their child from school, but are there other things to consider?
Yes. For parents who want more control over what their children are being taught, homeschooling is an option. Subjects like evolution and sex education may be two things you do not want to leave up to the school district. When the parent becomes her child’s primary teacher, she has the choice of what to teach the child, and doesn’t have to worry about the subject matter. Homeschooling has also been proven effective for bringing kids’ test scores up. A study by the Home School Legal Defense Association showed that while public school students in grades K–12 averaged in the fiftieth percentile in national standardized testing, homeschooled students averaged in the eighty-fifth percentile (HSDLA 2004).
When I tell people that I homeschool my kids, they marvel and say how it must take patience. But all it takes is commitment and love for your children. Homeschooling is made much easier today, due to a vast amount of homeschooling organizations and websites. The best way to get in touch with what’s happening in the homeschool world is by visiting the Home School Legal Defense Association website at www.hslda.org.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association. (2004). Academic Statistics on Homeschooling. Retrieved February 26, 2011 from http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp
Lips, D. & Feinberg, E. (2009). “Homeschooling: The Sleeping Giant of American Education” USA Today Magazine. 138(2772), 22-24. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.