Homeschooling: The Road to Disaster

Topics: High school, Homeschooling, Secondary school Pages: 10 (3159 words) Published: February 22, 2004
Homeschooling: The Road to Disaster

Over one million children are homeschooled throughout the world today. That figure constitutes 1 percent of school-aged children worldwide (Lyman "Answers"). Children are no longer required to sit in boring classrooms day after day and learn from textbooks; however, along with those classrooms comes the socialization that most young children need in their lives. Janet Mau, a teacher at a public high school, has family members who homeschool their children. She said, "I think the children get enough education, but they don't get adequate social stimulation. The children end up lacking the important social skills that they will need for the rest of their lives" (Mau). Most homeschooled children receive more individual attention during the school day, but many more advantages exist for children attending a public school. A homeschooled child is not exposed to the diversity of beliefs, backgrounds, and ethnicities that a child would come across in many public schools and the world beyond school (Gibbs). Unless the regulations tighten on Homeschooling, the number of children who are socially deprived and become substandard citizens might increase dramatically.

Homeschooling has been around for hundreds of years. Several of the most influential people in United States history, such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were homeschooled. George Washington acquired most of his schooling in the fields of his father's farm (Kantrowitz). Back then, however, the choices for education were limited to one-room schoolhouses and very few secondary schools. Today an array of choices for education exists. These choices include public schools, private schools, and homeschools. Until the 1980s, the main reason for parents to homeschool was to strictly instill their religious beliefs in their children through their education. Until that time, most homeschooling parents were considered "Bible-thumping Christians" educating their children at "apron-string length to protect them from sex, drugs, and Darwin" (Russo). Religion is still one motivation for parents to homeschool today, but it is no longer the leading purpose. Since the 1980s, the leading cause for homeschooling has been dissatisfaction with public schools. Modern-day homeschooling was born in 1969 when Raymond Moore, a former United States Department of Education employee, constructed a platform that would legitimize homeschooling as one of the "great populist educational movements of the 20th century" (Lyman "What's"). Finally, in 1993--after years of court battles--homeschooling became legal in all 50 states (Kantrowitz). Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, its regulation varies greatly. Idaho, for example, does not even ask parents who wish to homeschool to inform any state or local officials of their intentions. Oregon, meanwhile, mandates that homeschooling families periodically have a "qualified neutral person" test their children (Archer).

To begin, homeschooling does offer some advantages. Today, the most popular reason for homeschooling is that parents are unhappy with public schools. In 1996, the Florida Department of Education surveyed homeschoolers in Florida and found that 42 percent cited dissatisfaction with the public school as their reason for starting a home education program (Lyman "Answers"). Kathy Bradford, mother of four in Hockessin, Delaware, was concerned about the quality of education her eldest son would receive in a public school. She went to the local school district for a list of objectives for children in kindergarten through sixth grade and was shocked by how little was expected of the students. Kathy believed that this standard was too low for her children and chose to begin homeschooling (Davis). Because of these low standards, high schools across America are producing illiterate and unprepared graduates. American 13-year-olds have been documented as having math skills worse than their...

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