It’s not surprising to me that people are choosing to home school their kids rather than send them to one of the nation’s many failing public schools. Try as they may, everyone from lawmakers to talking heads openly criticizes anyone who considers home schooling, yet the trend continues to grow. One lawmaker in Ohio even proposed a bill that would require social services investigation, background checks, and approval before parents be allowed to home school.
At one time the majority of people that home schooled did so for religious reasons. These families wanted to instill certain religious convictions in their kids that would result in a worldview based on their religious beliefs. And while many continue to home school for that same reason, it seems many others are choosing to home school for academic reasons. (A small percentage chooses home schooling for safety reasons.)
I’ve spoken before (here) about the fact that home schoolers almost always fare better academically than their public school counterparts. This fact calls the criticism of home schooling into question. If the academic success of a child is the ultimate goal of a parent, and home school students have been shown repeatedly to outperform public school students, what exactly is there to criticize?
In a Washington Timesarticle, Robert Knight relays the comments of a college professor that has spent years educating girls that were home schooled. The educator writes of his home schooled girls:
“They possess a razor-sharp wit with which they can cut pretentious people (especially males) down to size, but they rarely use this skill, and only when they are sorely provoked”… and they “have a firm knowledge of the Bible, but they (unlike my biblically-literate male students) don’t engage in forensic debates over minor theological points of controversy; they will, however, step in if the boys get too contentious or triumphalist.”
When the safety, academic, and religious reasons to home school are combined it becomes an easy answer to the often murky school question. With the additional advantage of being able to school outside the established times for public school, such as on vacation and during the summer, it becomes and even easier choice for many. The additional benefit of being able to control the curriculum before your own children is just the cherry on top of this very appealing sundae.
In recent years the government has made the “education” of social issues a top priority. While academic standards and scores continue to plummet our government is spending untold amounts of money to ensure all students have been adequately lectured on the “correct” position on specific social issues. Sexuality, the definition of marriage and family, alternate lifestyles, abortion, and bullying are just a few of the issues the government wants to make sure students are taught.
The problem is that it is not the government’s job to teach any of these issues. Sexuality for example is a parent’s job to teach. There’s no academic value in a school teaching sexuality, it only serves a social function. But then again, the government seems more interested in serving a social function rather than teaching academics. This problem is occurring around the world, not just in the United States. Parents in New Zealand were recently shocked when a “sex-ed” curriculum was present for their 5-12 year olds that starts by teaching 5-year-olds about sex.
This type of unnecessary curriculum is not just a problem in New Zealand. For years American public schools, prompted by groups like GLAAD, Planned Parenthood, and others, have utilized explicit sex-education curriculums advertised as “health classes” for students. These courses are nothing short of pornographic introductions to sexuality that are of little use to children and young students. That is, unless your goal is to sexualize children and encourage early age experimentation and sexual activity: much like these special interest groups so often do.
But if we think the effort to indoctrinate kids into a particular world view and way of thinking will stop with public school sex-ed classes, we’d be wrong. As long as private, Christian, and home schools exist the government will not be able to reach all students and those pesky traditional values will persist. Some governments have begun cracking down on such alternative schools. A case in Canada is heading to the Supreme Court which has wide reaching implications for home schooling in America.
In the case from Quebec, a provincial law passed in 2008 prevents instructors, private school, home school or otherwise, from expressing any opinions on religious or ethical questions. In other words, this law prohibits Catholic schools from teaching the Catholic view of sexuality, morality, and ethics. It also prevents evangelicals from doing the same. If the law is upheld we can be sure it will be felt here in the United States as lawmakers seek to impose the same infringement on religious freedom here.
Our government, in recent years, has waged a war against alternative school choices. They seek to force every child into a public school where a one-size-fits all approach (thanks to Common Core) will be utilized to teach the specific rhetoric the school and government wants the child to learn. It doesn’t matter that this approach has been a colossal failure and that American academic standards and world rankings are plummeting. All that matters is that “no child be left behind.”
Parents must be diligent and actively engaged in the education of their children, no matter what school they attend. Only by being involved and informed will parents help their child to receive a quality education and be able to combat the false moral positions offered by schools. It would be unwise, at best, for any parent to assume their child is being properly educated without first being involved.
I believe one of the main reasons our schools have fallen so far and become bastions for liberal social education is that parents gave in to busyness and apathy. Once parents were no longer interested in what took place inside the school, lawmakers and special interest groups felt free to implement their agenda. If you want better schools, be involved.