My daughter, Raina, wrote this essay for her English paper. I think it was worth posting.
Home Sweet Home
Most children in the United States wake up each morning and hurry to do a routine they have done, what feels like, a billion times before. They get ready for school. There is a growing number of children that are not part of this routine and don’t prescribe to the lifestyle that schools set up. These children are homeschooled. Popular opinion is that conventional schooling is the most effective form of educating children, but the rising opinion, in the present time, is that homeschooling is the best way to educate children.
There are a large number of people who would like to say that conventional schooling is the only way children can effectively become educated. Conventional schooling includes being taught in public, private, or charter schools. The main reason that these people feel that conventional schooling is better is because the children are taught by teachers with a degree and homeschoolers are taught by their parents. The other arguments that they propose is that homeschooled children have low standardized test scores, low college acceptance, and are socially hindered. All of these beliefs are convincing, but they contain errors and can be disproved.
The growing number of people who have found errors in these beliefs have turned to homeschooling and realize that it works out amazingly. Homeschooled children don’t actually suffer with the issues that the people who are pro-conventional believe they do. The main argument for children who are homeschooled is that they have intrinsic motivation to learn and educate themselves in what interest them. They have fewer distractions, above average test scores, high college acceptance, closer family ties, and they are not socially awkward. These children will excel at the career path that they choose because they have had the educational freedom to develop and become skilled at what interests them.
Pro homeschoolers believe that homeschooling helps allow children to keep their creativity and strive toward their ambitions. They don’t have the same structure or required curriculum that children in conventional schooling do. They can start their day at 6am or 6pm, indoors or out, on field trips, in the home office or in the garden. They are also able to spend large sums of their time educating themselves in what interest them. It is “The nature of home schooling, focusing more on the student-as-learner than on the parent-as-teacher, fosters independent learning” (Heumier). This shows that homeschooled children will learn what interest them. They can go to the library, search the web, or actually have first-hand experience at what it is that they find interesting. This helps them prepare for the real world because they get a sense of what it takes to excel at their career of choice and if they really want to go into that particular career.
“Many homeschooled teens, with more free time, may work part time, intern, or serve an apprenticeship” (Heumier). These children become very independent and this freedom that they are able to exercise allows them to still have the creativity that they had when they were young because they never had a reason to lose it. They weren’t told what to do, when to do it and how to do it on every move they made making them unable to think for themselves. That control over people works well when you are running society like a production line getting everyone ready for a factory job where you need them to just do what, when and how you say something. But if you want to have people that can create then you need to keep the creative side alive. Homeschoolers don’t have teachers telling them that they can’t doodle when they want or to sit still and listen for six hours a day, five days a week, never mind all the hours of homework. They were able to develop in an atmosphere that worked for them.
People that believe in conventional schooling like to argue that homeschool children are taught by their parents and not by teachers with degrees. This would cause for a lack in the proper skills to teach children difficult skills in subjects such as math and science. Although this seems like it would pose a problem; most homeschool parents have figured out a way to get their children adequate instruction in the more difficult subjects. They can hire tutors for those subject or buy instructional books from many homeschool-teaching sites. Many homeschool communities will get together once a week for group activities in science, math and sports. One or more parents will lead this activity or class doing the required research necessary along with the students. In most cases children develop the basic educational skills by doing activities outside of the classroom such as baking, going grocery shopping, reading books, and visiting museums. Parents can be teachers because “Most homeschooling parents place great importance on learning daily living skills and assign responsibilities in the home accordingly” (Heumier). When you have a parent as the teacher they can keep their children on task on learning the things that interest the children.
When children are taught in conventional schools a large amount of time is spent on doing “busy work” or just by classroom distractions. Some of these distractions include distributing materials, disciplining, bathroom passes, and being redundant so all students understand. Children can have a class for an hour and a half and only utilize 45 minutes or less on actual class work. When children are homeschooled they don’t suffer from as many distractions. This is true, “For families who follow a more traditional academic approach, very little time is not directly on-task, so formal schoolwork takes much less time, giving the child more free time to play and pursue his/her passions” (Heumier). This allows a much larger window for children to pursue other interest
Homeschoolers have the advantage of utilizing their time in a proactive way, but they do not have the constant practice that conventional schoolers do on standardized test. People who are anti-home school believe that homeschoolers have low-test scores, but in actuality they do average or above average on standardized test. Rebecca Winters, a Time magazine writer has found that, “This year homeschoolers scored an average of 1,100 on the SAT–a full 81 points above the national average–and 22.8 on the ACT, compared with the national average of 21” (Winters). They know that to get in to college they need to do well on their SAT or ACT so they take advantage of their open schedule and focus on the myriad of practice test books available everywhere. This allows them to get properly prepared for the test.
Along with the belief that homeschoolers have low standardized test scores people also believe that homeschoolers have low college acceptance. This might be true if these children did have low-test scores, but as previously shown, these children have high-test scores. Many colleges base their acceptance on SAT or ACT scores along with life experiences and essays. Many prestigious colleges such as, “Rice and Stanford admit homeschoolers at rates equal to or higher than those for public schoolers” (Cloud et al.) This means the myth that homeschooling your children will not get them into college is actually completely false. A lot of the time the parents that homeschool their children have a college degree themselves and in turn stress the importance of a college education to their children.
A bonus to homeschooling that is sometimes overlooked is that the children usually have closer family ties. Conventionally schooled children usually have a more distant relationship, but “Most homeschoolers maintain a strong relationship with their family and parents” (Heumier). This creates a relationship where the parent’s moral values can be passed down and their children can grow up in a loving and encouraging environment. The only way that the homeschooling way of life can work is if the parent/parents have time to dedicate to their child’s learning.
To homeschool a child, the parents must have the ability to set aside a large amount of time to dedicate to their children’s learning. They have to notice their children’s interest and then mold those interest around what they make available to learn and what activities they choose. These Parents that home school “have a deeply vested interest in their child’s success and an intimate knowledge of their child” (Heumier). These children spend many hours with their parents and this allows their parents to acknowledge their children’s interest. The parents of the homeschooled child can plan family trips and vacations that correspond to their child’s interest without having to worry about their child missing school, because traveling is a learning experience. These children are developing a sense of geography and enriching themselves by being submerged in new cultures. Going on trips greatly enhances your knowledge about the world in which you inhabit.
The personal favorites of many people who are not pro-homeschool are that home schooling creates children who are socially awkward. This could not be farther from the truth. Homeschool children have just as many opportunities to interact and socialize with other people as children in conventional schools. Homeschool children can be part of sports at public schools in most states. This allows for them to get recognition for their excellence in the sports that they have taken interest in. Tim Tebow is a prime example of someone who was homeschooled and played on a conventional schools football team and made it big. As for other activities, homeschool children can become a part of local theatre programs, dance classes, and music classes to name a few. Being homeschooled definitely does not mean that you become socially awkward and ill prepared for the real world. Homeschool children are able to develop “the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to function in society…at a rate similar to that of conventionally schooled children” (qtd. in Stough 19). You actually become more adapt for it since you are not spoon-fed what to do and when to do it your whole life.
For years homeschooling your child was not something that people understood. People still do not understand that it is an option when choosing what type of schooling your child can partake in. You have many options including, but not limited to, public school, charter school, private school, homeschool, and unschool. In recent years popularity in choosing homeschooling has risen and the children that are being home schooled have proven themselves as educated and well-rounded children. This is not to say that homeschooling is the right option for all children because some parents do not have the time necessary to homeschool their children, but it should still be considered. There are options out there and homeschooling is one of them.
Aasen, Susie Heumier. “New Followers of an Old Path — Homeschoolers.” Journal for
Quality & Participation 32.4 (2010): 12-14. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Nov. 2010.
Cloud, John, et al. “HOME SWEET SCHOOL. (cover story).” Time 158.8 (2001): 46. Education Research Complete. EBSCO. Web. 27 Nov. 2010
Gould, Marie. “Socialization in Schools.” 1-5. Great Neck Publishing, 2009. Research Starters – Sociology. EBSCO. Web. 27 Nov. 2010.
Winters, Rebecca. “From Home to Harvard.” Time 156.11 (2000): 55. Education Research Complete. EBSCO. Web. 23 Nov. 2010.