I recently wrote a guest blog post re: the rising trend of home schooling in the African American community. While writing that article I had the opportunity to interact with many home school educators, proponents and parents that tout the benefits of home schooling across the board. It was a real eyeopener for me, because I have always been against homeschooling.
I will get into my previously negative views on homeschooling in a second, but here are the top reasons that are commonly given by those that choose to educate their child outside of the traditional public/private school systems.
- Teaching on Evolution as opposed to a biblical view of God in Creation.
- Teaching on Sex Education that differs from their Christian beliefs.
- Violence and Drug Pressures within their local public school.
- The lack of attention given in a traditional 30 student to 1 teacher classroom.
- General curriculum does not meet the needs of their child.
Currently, it is estimated that 4% or about 2 million children are receiving a home school education today, which is quite an uptick over previous times in the past. And I had an opportunity recently, to speak with one that is at the forefront of the growing positive homeschool paradigm shift, Joyce Burgess a leading Home School Educator. Not only is Joyce the co-founder of a very instrumental home school organization, but she is also a mother that has home schooled her own 5 children, now ranging from 16 to 35 years of age. It is in large part, my conversation with Joyce that has helped me re-think my thoughts on home schooling. My initial reservations had centered on two concerns: social disconnection, and quality of education.
The Social Problem
As Joyce pointed out to me, there are endless opportunities to ensure that a home schooled child receives the social skills they need. When raising her own children, her children participated in ministries at their local church, community sports programs, dance teams and political campaigns. In many cases, children that are home schooled turn out to be very well adjusted, i.e. Whoopi Goldberg.
Additionally, many public schools have programs that enable home schooled children to participate in some classes and after school programs. So they are not totally isolated from their peers. For example, NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow, who was home schooled, was still able to participate in public school sports programs in Florida. In the final analysis, it is really up to parents to keep their children active and help them receive the social interaction they need.
Quality of Education
Today’s home school family has a ton of educational resources at their disposal. From taking advanced classes at their local public school, to home tutors, to internet curriculums, there are really a lot of opportunities for students to receive a top notch education. Those that support this choice of education feel that by not being tied to the pace set by a teacher in a class setting allows their child to move at a pace more suited for them and explore much more than if they were in a traditional setting.
- Family Values. You get to be the primary influence on your children. There are so many messages and influences kids are exposed to today. Homeschooling provides parents the opportunity to create a strong foundation in their children, built upon their family values.
- Family Togetherness. In traditional school your kids are gone 6-8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 9 months per year from age 6-18, and then they leave. That is a lot of lost time with your children. Time creating memories, time preparing them for life, and time teaching them.
- Passion to Learn. Homeschooling enables you to tailor each child’s education according to their unique interests, abilities, and skills. You can go fast, slow, or in between. Most important, you can focus on each child’s passion.
- Nurturing Lifestyle. Nobody will love, have more concern, more care, or work harder than a parent will for their children. When a family chooses homeschooling, that commitment is not taken lightly. It becomes a lifestyle.
These are just a few thoughts on the subject, and it all has my wife and I now evaluating our own situation to see if this is a plausible route for our family. But, I would like to hear from you, have you considered or are you homeschooling, what are your thoughts?