Over the years homeschool has become the best alternative to public schools. In some cases, religious issues, standardized test success, teacher to student ratio, and variety of alternative teaching options for both homeschool learning and teaching parents/students. Furthermore, in some states, homeschoolers are having trouble with the failing public-school system. Homeschool parents argue that while the public school might be great for some children, it may harm other children entering their first years of education who may be more advanced.
Homeschooling has gained popularity not only in the in the United States but globally. and its popularity continues to grow among American families. According to the U.S Department of Education, in 2003 there were 1.1 million children in grades K-12 being homeschooled. The three most popular reasons for homeschooling were concerns about the safety of the environment of public schools, desire for religious teachings or moral instruction, and lastly dissatisfaction with academic instruction or individual instructor preparedness within the public-school system (2003 National Household Education Survey).
Many parents have transferred their children from traditional schools to homeschooling their children because of certain religious beliefs and issues that some families see as not being instructed in the public-school system. As Michel Martin, host of “Tell Me More” from NPR News, stated and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number one reason that parents use for homeschooling their children is to provide religious and moral instruction. (Martin p.10, 2013) Many parents opt for this method because most public schools do not participate in religious activities and parents want their children to also receive religious education, aside from their everyday common studies. Religion, plays a major role because of the beliefs and things they value and some parents believe that by allowing their children to attend in a public-school it will tamper with their beliefs and decrease their values. According to the New Jersey School Board Association, the Supreme Court ruling of Engle v. Vitale in 1962, which opined that U.S. Constitution prohibits schools from proselytizing religion to children, made it difficult for school districts to determine what exactly constitutes proselytizing children or school sponsorship of religious activities. There are various religious organizations encouraging parents to make a sacrifice for their children and give homeschooling a chance. Although, there are many people choosing this method of education because of religious reasons, many parents who are not religious are choosing to homeschool because of the opportunities it opens up for their children and them.
Homeschooling, is also appealing to parents and students because of the variety of options that are available. One of these options being the curriculum, unlike public schools, where the curriculums are based off of the school calendar and students have no choice, homeschool students and their parents have the freedom to choose what it is they want to instruct that day based on what the child wants to learn. Ultimately, this is better method for the student sine they are able to expand their learning and not feel constrained with the same set of standards as a regular public-school attendee. As Mrs. Gardner a homeschooling mother of one, who studied at La Trobe University and is a qualified teacher responded to the question of, “What exactly does a typical day involve?”. “Anything and everything, Mrs. Gardner says, “from doing chores to reading and drawing, designing games on the computer, playing with Legos, and completing puzzles, there’s also time for a bounce on the trampoline, and PlayStation”. Thus, giving the child different options to learn specific things that they may or may not have learned in public school.
Other options for homeschoolers include the number of resources they have available to them, such as education based software, online tutorials with video assistance, web-based learning, and an ample variety of textbooks (Kiesling, Angie). Many of these can be applied to high school or college level learning, depending on the ability of the child. Many of the products needed for homeschooling can be accessed from Appalachian Distributor‚Äôs 250 homeschool stores (Tyler, Zan). Parents can buy anything they want from curriculums to books for their children at Appalachian homeschool stores. They have all of the stuff that you could need if you are a beginner at homeschooling or been doing it for a few years. With the growth of homeschooling being between 7 and 15% annually, the market for this type of schooling is growing at a steady rate and is worth about $850 million in curriculum and resources (Kiesling, Angie). With all of the options of learning available and the endless amount of possibilities, it is easy to see why many parents are deciding to choose this method of education. With homeschooling, parents are able to focus on the subjects of education that are the most beneficial to their children in helping them do good on standardized tests and getting them into good colleges with the knowledge needed to be successful.
For many years now, reports have shown that homeschool students have averaged higher scores on standardized tests than public school students. In 2002 the average SAT score was 1020 for public school students and homeschoolers averaged a 1092(Beato, Greg).
In 2003 there were 248 homeschooled students who achieved semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholarship program with 109 winning awards (Beato, Greg). Other tests such as the ACT, homeschoolers averaged a 22.6 where public school students averaged a 20.9(Beato, Greg). These statistics are just averages and do not mean that all homeschoolers do good on these standardized tests. Just like public schools, some do better than others, but the average is just a little bit higher for homeschool based learning. Some of the success on these tests is due to the fact that parents tend to focus more closely on subjects that will most likely appear on the tests whereas some public schools just go quickly through some subjects without some of the students getting a thorough understanding. Other reasons for homeschool success is the fact that the students are in an environment free of drugs, violence, where kids can focus on learning which in turn will yield them higher academic success (Wichers, Michelle). With parents spending much of their time and energy into educating their child, the result is a quality education rather than an education in a public school setting where teachers based learning on how much was covered and not how much the students actually learned. Students who are in a personal learning environment where it is one on one rather than one on 30 also helps in the educational success of homeschooling (Wichers, Michelle).
As homeschooling grows popular by the year, its effect on some public school systems in some states is starting to show. One instance is in Arizona where a school had loss 2/3 of its students due to influences of religious leaders, and a school with fewer students equals less funding for that school (Gewertz, Katherine). Due to lack of funding that particular school had to reduce salaries and fire some employees. This shows how powerful the influence of religion is in society today when it comes to children getting the best education.
While most people envision homeschooling as a child kept in the home and is secluded from the rest of the world, it has become just the opposite of that (Teicher, Stacy). Homeschoolers experience most of the opportunities and are as much involved in the world as public school students (Teicher, Stacy). While most students are crammed in rows of desks, homeschooled students get individual attention and do not have to go through being packed in the classic classroom. As more people start to realize the pros of homeschooling, they will soon recognize that there is an alternative to public and private schooling where education is not the best for public and private costs a lot of money. Homeschooling will be the third option for parents who want their children to experience a good education and succeed in college, without taking out a second mortgage to pay for private school or waste time in public school. With more and more students graduating high school illiterate and not by any means ready for the real world, it is no surprise that homeschooling seems like a good idea to most parents. While some think homeschooling is heading into the future of education, some believe it is a jump back to the future which is a good thing (Lyman, Isabel). It goes back to the old times when kids were taught in their homes and would actually learn something during a day of school. Many people choose to homeschool because they believe that public schools have lost the meaning of what a school should be for children and why they are put in society. Schools were organized to educate people in need of education and help students to their best ability in order to prepare them for the outside world (Lyman, Isabel). With most schools just passing kids through school instead of taking the time to actually teach them, they are not doing society a favor because these kids have no skills to bring to society to better it. Homeschooling provides the personal With the ever growing population of kids being homeschooled it is no surprise that more people are starting to realize the benefits of homeschooling and seeing it as a positive alternative to public schools. Some states are having problems with regulations, but most are doing just fine with the adjustment. Homeschooling is a good idea because of religious issues, its success on standardized tests, and the options open to kids who are homeschooled.