Honors English – 7th
30 April 2010
The Pros and…Well, More Pros of Homeschooling
The pros and cons of homeschooling a child have long been debated by the leading experts and specialists. In the eyes of many, growing up and learning in a private, secluded environment is socially and academically unfavorable for children. Since the practice first started, questions have always been asked: does it really help at all? The answer to that question is yes. With the number of homeschooled children increasing every year, it’s obvious that being raised in and exposed to the homeschooled environment gives children many advantages over those that are public schooled. Making friends and meeting new people has always been a necessity in life; interacting with others is vital to being able to survive. Homeschooled children are stereotyped to be secluded from other children; critics argue that a homeschooled child will not be able to function properly in society if they are not exposed to other children early on (Jenkins). They are assumed to be socially awkward, and therefore deemed not able to function as well as children that have been public-schooled. Linda Dobson, author of many books centered on the topic of homeschooling, says that many confuse “socializing [-] talking and playing with other kids,” and “socialization [-] learning the proper rules of behavior for a culture” (Dobson 79). Neither of these matters are required to take place at a school environment, despite the beliefs of the masses. In reality, many families that practice homeschooling “do not even separate academic work from other aspects of life at all” (Gathercole 53). Moreover, homeschooled children participate in many of the same extracurriculars offered to public schooled children. In fact, a study conducted by Brian D. Ray, president of the NHERI (National Home Education Research Institute), shows that the average homeschooled kid is involved in at least five extracurricular activities in the community, with 98% involved in two or more activities (Pride 575). Five activities, which is one for every school day, give homeschooled children plenty of interaction with people their age, among others. Another survey done by Ray in 2003 indicates that previously home educated adults are happier with their life and also more involved in social activities (Davis 96). With even one extracurricular activity, meeting new people and beginning relationships is incredibly easy. Homeschooling also strengthens family relationships and lengthens the window of opportunity for parents to deposit positive influence on their children. These days, at public schools, students – especially those in the upper-level grades of high school – spend an excessive amount of time doing school work or school-related activity. By the time their homework and chores are finished, there is not much time left to spend with their family (Bittner 291). The ties between a child and the parents are stretched farther and farther, until both are completely isolated from each other. In a homeschool situation, naturally, the family spends much of their time together, and it creates strong bonds between the parents and the children, as well as the brothers and sisters (Kochenderfer 14). Furthermore, the more time a student spends with his or her parents, the more likely it is that the parents will have some positive influence over their child. It is human nature for people to do what they know, and learn from the people they make contact with the most. At public schools – with the child spending seven to eight hours a day, five days a week there – peers and friends, as well as teachers and counselors, hold a relative amount of weight on a student’s values and ideas. Homeschool allows students to be free of the “peer groups and courses that actively encourage kids to reject their parents’ beliefs and morality,” and instead gives families a chance to build close, eternal...