Home-schooling continues to grow in popularity

With 2.2 million children now being home-schooled, compared with 850,000 in 1999, it’s time to ask why (“Parents are giving up on public schools to home-school their kids,” New York Post, Oct. 12).  Contrary to widespread belief, religious fundamentalism is not the reason.

Most parents say they want to avoid the lockstep education provided by public schools, citing the role that standardized tests play in shaping what is taught.  But  no matter how motivated and committed parents are, they can’t provide the socialization that traditional schools do.  That doesn’t mean home-schooling is inferior.  Some parents are better suited than others.  In the final analysis, therefore, the success of home-schooling rests on the individual qualifications of parents.

The parents I’ve known who have home-schooled their children say they underestimated the time and effort involved to provide a complete education.  Unfortunately, too many parents don’t realize this until it is too late.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)


4 Replies to “Home-schooling continues to grow in popularity”

  1. I instinctively dislike homeschooling.

    Obvious concerns are that homeschooling may not provide adequate socialization for the students and may not provide adequate education for the students.

    A less obvious concern is that homeschooling eliminates one of society’s few checks on parents who are abusive, negligent or just crazy. When a child encounters teachers every day, there is a much greater chance that a teacher will notice something going wrong at home and ask questions that lead to an investigation.

    Another less obvious concern is that homeschooling limits a student’s exposure to different ideas — political, social, economic, religious, etc.. Parents already probably play far too dominant a role in determining their children’s attitudes in these areas. Homeschooling gives the parents almost total control. I recognize that some — possibly most — parents want their children to adopt the parents’ attitudes/beliefs. However, society as a whole and the children individually benefit from children making an informed decision rather than simply adopting their parents’ attitudes/beliefs because those are the only ones the children are exposed to.

    I’d prohibit homeschooling (with a possible exception for severely disabled children for whom outside institutions could not provide the same level of concerned care as parents and as to whom the above concerns are less relevant).


  2. Labor Lawyer: I agree with all of your concerns about home-schooling. Yet despite its well known shortcomings, it grows in popularity. I attribute that to the disaffection about public schools. Studies on the subject show that home-schooled children do well on verbal tests, but not as well on math tests. I’d like to see a study about social isolation among home-schooled kids.,


  3. From my experience, the majority of parents who home-school their children do so because of discipline problems at their schools.
    Another major reason why the numbers have increased dramatically is because of virtual schools. They have exploded around the country.
    In every system I have worked, home-school students are allowed to participate in extra curricular activities.


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