Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Future of Homeschooling?

Ok, here's the promised post.

Yesterday Shawn had his class participate in a "What would you do?" discussion. It started off with this scenario:

The Smith family lives across the street from you. You notice that the Smith's children are often outside during times when most children are in school. One day you ask Mrs. Smith about this. She replies that they homeschool the children. You are aware that your state has strict homeschool regulations. When you mention this, Mrs. Smith tells you that they don't believe the government should be involved in their homeschooling so they don't comply with those regulations. Would you advise the appropriate authorities of this?

The vast majority of students started off by vehemently agreeing that authorities should be notified that the children are being homeschooled. However, as the students were giving their opinions, it became evident that they weren't bothered by the fact that Mrs. Smith wasn't complying with the state's regulations. The students were deeply troubled by the simple fact that the Smiths were homeschooling instead of putting their children into the school system.

They argued that parents aren't trained to teach their children the way they need to be taught. I'm sorry, if your public school education is so lousy that you are incapable of teaching a 2nd grader what they need to know, then that's just further evidence to me that homeschooling is necessary.

One student said that allowing children to be homeschooled is like allowing parents to molest their children. At this point, Shawn had to point blank ask him, "So are you comparing homeschooling to molesting your child?" The student responded that molesting a child is harmful just like homeschooling your child is harmful. Either way, both things need to be illegal for the protection of the child. (This is where I have trouble picking my jaw up off the floor.)

They argued that it was the government's JOB to teach our children. So Shawn asked, "Should parents be allowed to teach their children?" He worded it this way fully expecting some student to come back with..."Yeah, they should be able to teach them some things, but not everything, you know, like the harder stuff." However, Shawn never heard anything similar to that response. Instead, when he asked that question, he received an emphatic, "NO!" from the majority of the students.

Not only did these students support making homeschool illegal, they also supported removing the children from the parents' custody if the parents refused to quit homeschooling.

When I asked Shawn what percentage of students seemed to be opposed to homeschooling, he responded that easily 75% of the class was vehemently opposed. He had this same discussion with two classes and the response was similar in both.

I guess this distresses me so much because I never really encountered such HATRED towards homeschooling. I've witnessed disapproval and indifference, but never personally known of anyone that wanted to take my kids away from me because I choose to teach them. While I will admit that there are individuals that shouldn't homeschool, I don't think it's beneficial to remove homeschooling as an option for everyone.

These students are decision-making adults and this is what they believe. If these two classes are any indication of the general population's beliefs, then what does that mean for my children and our family? What does the future of homeschooling look like?

I have more thoughts on this topic, but I think I'll save those for a future post. I'm riled up enough as it is.


  1. How old are these students? I know you say they're adults, but are they late teens, early 20's? I'm just asking because if many of them don't have kids yet, I would take their opinions with a grain of salt. The whole homeschooling = molestation thing sounds like it's from a person who has never once educated themself about homeschooling and exactly what it is. I've found that people without children in the public school system have a biased opinion. Once someone starts dealing with the public school system, I believe that's when their opinion can be swayed to say that parents should have the choice. Can I link to your post from my blog? And who's the kid who said the thing about molestation? I'm gonna punch em'. (Hey, it's a small town, all I need is a name) ;)

  2. Rhyah, Shawn said that the majority of those that were anti-homeschool were his 18-20 year old students. The few that were supportive of homeschooling were his older, nontraditional students. So, your theory seems very accurate in this situation.

    Also, feel free to link to my post.

  3. Don't worry what other people think. My children are in public school, but I think about homeschooling sometimes. I admire people who homeschool. Most do a good job. People should think about the difference between being in a class with 25 other students and having the attention of a dedicated parent. Children who are homeschooled have more time to experience learning from life experiences and less time is wasted during the day. The internet is a wonderful resource for homeschoolers. I imagine it's much easier to homeschool today than it was 20 years ago. All you homeschoolers have my support and a big pat on the back. Keep up the good work!

  4. Not only are they ignorant, and I pray when they ever have their own children, but the studie s prove homeschool children out score public school children, more homeschool children are accepted into prestegious colleges than public school children and private schooled children. We know that hs kids are more socialized in general, not just to same aged peers, but to various aged children and adults, most have better communication skills and coping skills. I've met more well rounded homeschooled children, than public schooled children, and in our experience homeschooled children are far more polite and respectful! Of course I'm just another crazy homeschooling mom! :)

  5. Hi Janice.

    It is very hurtful to encounter such hatred from people who don't even know you. Apparently diversity is encouraged only when it meets the school criteria.

    The first time I was attacked verbally by a total stranger, it really caught me off-guard. I had just finished registering our exchange student for high school when this woman on the side walk started bragging about her son, who was just starting high school. She was all smiles until she asked where the boys went to school. Then her entire demeanor changed. She physically drew back and started berating me about how "you people" "are responsible for the downfall of public education". Nothing I could say seemed to sway her at all, so I wished her well and we continued on our way. It still makes me shake my head.

    My SIL is in the same camp. She has informed me that I am "ruining my children's lives" by homeschooling them. (And that was one of her nicer comments.)

    That said, these have been my two worst anti-homeschooling experiences. There have been others, but nothing quite as disturbed and pointless. Many more people have randomly complemented me on the boys' behavior or intelligence, some even saying "You're kids must be homeschooled because..." It gives me some hope that some folks who don't homeschool can at least give us the benefit of the doubt.

  6. Laurie,

    Fortunately, our children are still small enough that people don't realize we homeschool. With our oldest about to turn 5, we still fly under the radar pretty well. I dread the day when someone gets hateful to me in person. It's sad that I have to prepare myself for that event though.

    Off topic, but I'm excited to meet a fellow homeschooling homesteader! I'm your newest follower on your homesteading blog.

  7. It is mostly a political issue. No one is born a progressive socialist, it is a created mental state from conditioning based on exposure to Marxist ideas. Unfortunately, our public school system has become a breeding ground for Marxist propaganda. These progressive/socialists know that homeschooled children will be independent, self-sufficient minded people, thus will vote for conservative/libertarian type candidates. Tomorrows socialists will come from our public school system, so they are a vital component of the future of socialism. They (the Marxists) must limit, if not destroy, private and home-based education. They hate homeschooling because they hate who we vote for. It all comes down to politics.