On homeschooling
I've read lots of arguments against homeschooling and responses to them. This page isn't a summary of the homeschooling debate, although some of my links will get you to sites that discuss the arguments. This page is just some of my thoughts on homeschooling and why I want to do it.
Better education
I think a home-based education will provide a richer educational experience for my children. The education component of public schooling is great if you want what they're offering: mass production. That includes a standardized curriculum, assembly line instruction, and, for the most part, interchangeable instructors. Most of us are products of this factory system, and we seem to have emerged unscathed. All the same, I think my kids will learn better, and enjoy it more, if we build a custom education in our own home workshop.
I want to clarify that homeschooling is not sitting at a desk in the home for the public school equivalent of 6 hours of "school" and 2-3 hours of "homework". Homeschooling involves many more "field trips" and mixed group experiences than typical schooling, and generally a shorter, sometimes less structured, school day.
More appropriate "socialization"
I want my kids to be treated humanely, to treat others humanely, and to accept personal, political, and cultural differences. I want them to ask questions of themselves and others to figure out what they believe and how they fit in in the world. I want them to value themselves, fairness, and truth.
The artificial social structure of public schools makes those goals hard to attain. Self esteem is robbed not only by the bullies and cliques that emerge as leaders of huge same-age groups, but also by the omnipotence of the teachers and administration. While good kids and well-meaning professionals may be the rule, the unnatural social environment works too well to the advantage of the exceptions. I don't want my children to be the victims or the champions of those institutions, or to think that those warped relationships are part of living in a civil society.
My children will have other opportunities to learn how to deal with unreasonable people and uncomfortable situations, without trying to get an education in spite of them. I want the bulk of their productive hours to be spent with people who love them and want the best for them -- their family.
Family ties
Whatever the shape and size of your family, the group relationship is strengthened by shared activities, shared time, a shared home. I think kids have a feel for the health of the family in a very fundamental way, and that must strongly affect their feelings about themselves, others, and the world in general. The shared time and effort of home schooling will show my kids their value in the family, and our support of their efforts. The concept of "quality time" reminds parents to carve out time to do meaningful things with their kids. Homeschooing means quantity as well as quality.
A cursory search of the web reveals that the vast majority of homeschoolers and activists for homeschoolers' rights are fundamental Christians who want to teach their children values and religion not taught in the public schools. I am not a part of this group, in fact I worry that religion is working its way into our schools a bit too much. I am in the minority known as secular homeschoolers. That may make it harder to find a supportive network of like-minded homeschoolers, but I do intend to try my best.

Homeschooling links
Jon's Homeschool Resource Page
Maryland Home Education Association
Family Unschoolers Network

return to All About Me