My sister recently started a discussion about home schooling. She asked a simple question: Yay or nay? It was interesting coming from her, who was not only home schooled growing up but who I thought was solidly committed to home schooling her own children.
While I do not know the reason for her question, it gave me an opportunity to analyze and compile my own reasons for home schooling. Although I could write novels on the value and benefits of home schooling, I thought I would share the “short” answer I gave her.
Because of the length, I’ve split this into two parts. Here are the first six reasons:
First and foremost, I am responsible for the training and rearing of my children. If I surrender them to someone else for 8+ hours every day, not only am I abdicating at least some of my God-given responsibility, I create more work for myself trying to sort out what good my child has been taught, what bad they’ve been exposed to and how to reinforce the good and un-teach the bad.
Second, the other options are private and public school, with public broken up into two categories: charter and traditional. It’s likely that private school will be cost-prohibitive for our family which leaves public. The way modern public schools are structured, they are run by government and their curriculum is primarily dictated by government. This is especially true of charter schools whose curriculum is even more state-driven. This concerns me highly, since that essentially makes them indoctrination centers for government policy. It is utterly impossible for a parent to ensure their children are not being indoctrinated in a public school unless that parent sits in class all day every day and monitors.
Third, public schools create an imbalance of power. Public schools teaches children to be obedient. While I do want my kids to obey God (and me), I do not want them to learn to obey authority just because it’s authority. Public schools set up a dynamic where teachers are put in place of parents and their authority has to be respected to maintain classroom order, even if the teacher does not deserve respect. Many teachers earn the respect but many others do not. When something goes wrong, when a teacher is abusing their authority, it is very difficult to get any recourse. It is hard to even get a child moved out of the class. Moreover, teachers are government officials. In a democratic republic, it is important that the government officials respect (and even fear) the people not the other way around. Public schools make it difficult to ensure this.
Fourth, home school gives children better exposure to the real world. That is – in the real world, you don’t typically sit in one place for 8 hours a day doing things someone else tells you with people your own age, no matter your skill level. Rather you are exposed to people of all age groups and are often expected to work independently of direct instruction. You are typically rewarded for skill and hard work. Home school imitates this.
Fifth, home school rewards, rather than punishes, children for their ability to progress “ahead of schedule”. Rather than being bored in class, having to leave class to do special classes (which is fairly standard for G&T programs at least in the areas I’ve lived in) and then having to try to catch up in other areas, children are free to be as talented as they are.
Sixth, on the same lines as the previous, children progress at their own speed and home schooling gives children the flexibility to move more slowly on things they aren’t good at, faster on things they are good at. It allows them to study in depth on things they care more about and spend less time on things that are of less value to them (sounds a little like college, no?) As long as parents monitor this and provide some guidance (and hard lines when necessary), this will long term benefit their children and do no lasting harm.
Part two will follow this next Friday. In the mean time, I’d love to hear your comments and questions on home schooling.