I’m trying to become a better homeschool apologist.
I’ve believed in homeschooling since before I had children. I’ve practiced homeschooling for 17 years. It’s about time I begin to truly defend homeschooling.
For years I have allowed public opinion and my own fear of being offensive to temper my defense of this institution in which I have placed complete confidence for my children’s future. When questioned, I have uttered half-hearted answers such as,
- "Well, homeschooling is a great option, but it’s not for everyone."
- "I’m a teacher, so homeschooling is the perfect opportunity for me…I can be a teacher and stay at home with my children."
- "I don’t live in a great school district and I can’t afford private school, so homeschooling is really my only option."
- "What have I done about socialization? Well, my children go to Sunday School, Awana, baseball, dance class, library story time, YMCA gym class and homeschool field trips.
Here’s what I heard myself saying….
- "For some people, school is really a much better option. Homeschooling doesn’t work well for everyone."
- "The only reason that I’m qualified to teach my children at home is that I am a certified teacher."
- "People in good school districts should really just leave their children in school."
- "Socialization is an important aspect of the school experience that I MUST work hard to replace with lots of busy activities."
So, here’s the truth as I see it:
- School is NEVER a better option. For some, school may be the ONLY option, but that doesn’t make it a better option. While schools don’t fail every child, school puts all children at risk spiritually, academically, emotionally and socially. Why would anyone knowingly expose their children to those risks when there are better options available?
- Despite what the NEA (and Elizabeth Edwards) will tell you, a child’s parent is almost always (and unfortunately, I feel the need to qualify that statement to some degree) better qualified to teach his or her children than a certified teacher. A parent knows and understands a child’s academic and emotional needs and is better suited to meet those needs than anyone.
- Even in "good" schools, children are at risk. The honest truth is that school, even at its best, can NOT compete with homeschooling in terms of producing a well-rounded, well-adjusted, well-educated child.
- The socialization that children are exposed to in school is negative. Period. When children socialize one another, very little good can come from it. Socialization is NOT about keeping my children busy running from activity to activity. Socialization is the process of preparing a child to become a mature, productive member of society. This happens better at home than anywhere. Studies increasingly show that homeschooled children ARE better socialized than children schooled in public schools.
So, I have recently begun to work at being a better defender of homeschooling as a schooling option. I’ve begun (slowly) to speak the truth to people in answer to their questions. Guess what? People don’t like hearing the truth. I think I know why.
The truth offends. In this case the truth calls into question the schooling choices that a person has made. The truth also demands a response. When I share the truth with people, they are forced to face some difficult questions regarding their academic options and choices. They are forced to consider making some personal sacrifices for the good of their children. And they don’t like it.