Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
Today, a friend told me of a sixty-year-old public school teacher who is
undergoing gamma-ray treatments for cancer. He has about one month to live.
What would you do with your last thirty days? This man responded, "I can die at home, or I can die doing what I love."
He plans to teach until his last day. What love and dedication to the teaching profession and to his
Please let me clearly state that I've known some remarkable teachers.
This article is not to cast doubt upon the skill, love, ideologies, or motives of all teachers.
Generally, teachers on the elementary and secondary levels (i.e., K-12)
provide this critical service subsisting on modest salaries while tolerating increasingly belligerent
Educating our children is one of the most important responsibilities.
Not only does their financial viability depend upon their readiness, but our nation needs highly educated citizens for every generation.
The education of our labor force largely determines our ability to compete in a global environment.
So, are we succeeding?
I am the byproduct of government schools
with the exception of two or three years of private school during my early
years. Many of my teachers demonstrated spectacular skill and deserve
my humble and sustained gratitude.
However, my overall
experience with the public educational system leaves me thoroughly convinced
of it deficiencies. Overall, I give government schools a D or an F on
their report card. Why so low? I am comparing the Department of
Education to what God teaches us about educational goals and methods.
(For more, please listen to The
Foundation of All Learning.) Although there are some
successful programs within and genuine achievements from government schools,
they are failing in the most critical areas.
Homeschooling was virtually unheard of prior to 1980.
Now there are homeschool support groups all over the country. "In the spring of 2003, an estimated
1,096,000 students were being homeschooled in the U.S. This represents a
29 percent increase from the estimated 850,000 students who were being homeschooled in the spring of 1999" (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics
[NCES], National Household Education Surveys Program, Homeschooling in the United
States: 2003). Today the number is much higher.
Reasonable estimates range from 1.5 to 2.5 million homeschoolers in America. New government stats will be released this year.
Homeschooling's popularity is growing at a rapid rate. "From 1999 to 2003, the number of homeschooled students in the United States increased, as did the homeschooling rate.
The increase in the homeschooling rate (from 1.7 percent to 2.2 percent) represents about 0.5 percent of the 2002–03 school-age population and a 29 percent relative increase over the 4-year
NHES). There are many advantages that propel this fast growth.
and disadvantages of homeschooling listed below will juxtapose homeschooling
to public schools. In summary, I've meet scores of homeschooling
parents and children across our great country. The benefits of
homeschooling are astounding and some advantages garner eternal rewards for
both parents and children.
Benefits of Homeschooling
These benefits are not universal enjoyed by all
homeschoolers just as the failures of government schools are not
experienced by all. We are observing trends.
Flexible teaching methods for differing learning styles.
More time with your children for bonding with you.
Staying in tune with what your children are learning.
Opportunity to disciple your children with greater
depth, with more time, and integrated into all subjects.
Your children can strengthen their relationships among
Your children learn self-reliance at a younger age.
More efficient learning experience.
Reduced exposure to physical harm. In the seventh grade, I witnessed one kid use a knife to slice the stomach of another in a hallway
brawl. In high school, I watched one guy repeatedly cram another guy's head into a locker to the point of cutting his ears.
One girl gave birth in a restroom another was found giving sexual favors to boys in a restroom.
Our principal was fired and arrested for, I think, fraud after I
Reduced exposure to corrupt ideologies.
Reduced exposure to evil temptations. Peer pressure is usually the introduction of profanity,
cigarettes, underage drinking, drugs, vandalism, sexual experimentation, etc.
Moms and dads are not usually the ones promoting this behavior. Eliminate the
evil influence. The source of carnal temptations is now coming
from teachers as we have seen with unprecedented volumes of reports of
both male and female teachers having sex with students.
Improved socialization. Are the public schools providing healthy
socialization? No. The environment breeds a dog-eat-dog mentality.
A school yard fight may be common in schools, but is not tolerated and is,
therefore, infrequent in most adult settings. Our goal is to train that
bad behavior out of children. However, public schools often introduces children to the
bullying while college and the workplace usually give relief. Why ever expose your children
to this at all? It teaches children to relate to their peers, but not to
people across the demographic lines.
Less pressure to fit society's definition of
Opportunity for a better education.
Higher future income for your children. "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not
that poverty shall come upon him" (Pr. 28:22). I am not appealing to hasty greed.
It is your duty as a parent to equip their your children to generate a future income in the years to come.
It is preferable to prepare your children for high earnings. There is a correlation between our educational level and our income.
This likely caused by other root components, such as self-discipline, determination, etc., combined with a broader knowledge base.
"As of September 2007, the annualized median income for adults (25 years and over) varied considerably by education level.
Men with a high school diploma earned $36,244, compared with $65,000 for men with a college degree" (U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education Fiscal Year 2007 Performance and Accountability Report Highlights, Washington D.C., 2007, p. 37).
Homeschoolers, on average, test higher than publicly educated kids.
Furthermore, children who are educated by their parents often get an abundance of character training which is one of the most desirable attributes sought by employers and clients.
Consider this lower level of unemployment of those with a higher
Girls remain attached to the home. The historical Christian view of gender roles has been under such fierce
and effective attacks that when many Christians read this benefit, they may roll their eyes in distain. Yet,
confusion about divinely ordered gender roles is one of the greatest causes for the collapse of the American
family. Virtually every person who reads this page has been affected directly or indirectly by divorce.
Please permit me to define the correlation. The public educational program for young ladies is
indistinguishable from the program for young men. Today, public and private educations prepare both boys and
girls to be Adam's, that is, to be providers. As a Christian, I unashamedly hold that men are to be the
providers for and defenders of the family. The role of men requires that they, more often than not, leave
the home to earn their income. Wives are to be the managers of the home (or, homemakers).
The Apostle Paul instructed Titus to have the older Christian women to
be " teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be
... keepers at home" (Tit. 2:3-5). Along the same
lines, Paul wrote Timothy saying, " I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children,
guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak
reproachfully" (1 Ti. 5:14). When young ladies become acclimated to engaging the world as a laborer outside the home and continue their preparations at a
distant college, most of them will fully adopt the career mentality suited for men. The Proverbs 31 woman
engaged in commerce outside the home; therefore, we do not wish to have daughters who are incapable or
fearful of interacting with others or who are incapable of generating profit. However, most Christian
parents have turned their daughters over to an educational system that slowly transforms their Christian
daughters into a full career mentality designed for men. To put this in football terms, our society has
attempted to put both parents on offense (i.e., income producers) and left no one on defense
(i.e., homekeepers). Although both girls and boys need to learn math, science, history, etc., they need to learn these subjects
for different reasons. Boys should be groomed for providing and protecting the family; girls should be
prepared for nurturing and educating the next generation. The end result is that the next generation are
trained to be mighty in contrast to the public educational system which is training children largely devoid
of character and confused about the healthy composition of the family by God's design.
Less disease in the family. Schools act as a greenhouse of communicable diseases.
"Nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold alone"
1996). The common cold is only the beginning. Infectious diseases your child is more likely to get if attending public schools are head lice, the flu, pink eye, mumps, mononucleosis, measles, chicken pox, herpes simplex, hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV, and many more.
Some of these contagious diseases are spread by a simple cough while others require the intermixture of body fluids.
Despite all the immunizations efforts, pathogens spread like rumors in our public schools.
Many parents cannot leave a sick child home alone and cannot take off work.
So, little Johnny is sent off to school with his runny nose to share his plight with other kids.
Students threatened with academic penalty will attend class knowing they may transmit their airborne afflictions.
What's the result? Publicly educated children bring the infection home to share
the misery with the rest of the family. You pay for the doctor visits and prescriptions.
Challenges of Homeschooling
As I speak of possible disadvantages to homeschooling, I
will attempt to give solutions to the problems. Some of the supposed
harms of homeschooling are built upon isolated cases or uninformed
Questions about the legality of home-educating. No
fear! The Department of Education states, "Parents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have the option to home school their
of Education, NCES). Educational regulations differ from one
state to the next. Homeschooling organizations all
across this country can help familiarize you with your state
laws. The most prominent legal organization protecting and
promoting homeschoolers' rights is Home School Legal Defense Association
Limited access to sports. Yet, taxpayers have access to school
sports in some districts. Tim
Tebow, a homeschooling alumnus, won the Heisman Trophy in
2007. He participated in public sports in accordance with Florida
law which allows home-educated children to participate in sports and
Loneliness. Yet, this would not be true for parents and
sibling who interact in a healthy way. Furthermore, Christians are
commanded to build fellowship we one another.
Exhaustion for the mother. Yet, many moms teach children
enough self-teaching skills that the children need
less help as they grow older.
Weaknesses in the education received. Yet, on average,
home educated children have superior education. The home-educated children of an average mom test higher than the students of a certified
Not all parents are qualified to be teachers.
Granted, not all parents are qualified to be teachers just as not all parents are qualified to have custody of their children.
There are grounds that can disqualify a parent of all parental rights, e.g., molesting your own children.
However, the exceptions should not direct the norm. Although "[m]ore than 60 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 25 and 64 has no postsecondary
education," teachers are required to have certification (U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of
Education Fiscal Year 2007 Performance and Accountability Report Highlights, Washington D.C., 2007, p. 17).
So, people doubt that the average parent is capable of providing a quality education to their children.
Some parents are not
literate or have known weaknesses in certain areas of study.
Thankfully, homeschooling parents can join forces with other
home-educating moms and dads who are strong in specialized
areas. These relationships are gained through friendships and formal co-ops. Distance learning
also allows parents to connect their children to specialists. "New data on homeschoolers’ use of distance learning showed that 41 percent of homeschoolers had engaged in
some form of distance learning..." (Education
Department, NCES, 2003 Survey).
Untrained defenses. Yet, exposing ourselves to evil is
not the proper method for developing righteous defenses. The purpose is not to have life forever in the home. We don't expose an
infant to the same amount of germs as older kids because we recognize that
infants have a compromised immune system. We protect them from crawling
indiscriminately in the grass because we know she cannot defend herself against fire ants. As children get older, their defenses grow stronger.
Eventually, we want children to have impenetrable defenses. They need
to become the defenders of truth and those advancing righteousness to a fallen world.
They will be useless if they also defect by way of corrupted before begin life on their
Socially underdeveloped children. However, most
homeschoolers converse with adults better than publicly educated
children. Home educated children frequently demonstrate greater
character and love for their fellow man.
Parents and children remain too connected. Yet,
our great cultural problem is not children who are too connected to their
parents and siblings. Our crisis is millions of fractionalized families
who lack proper connectedness between husbands and wives, parents and children, and
Costs too much money. It is true that
homeschooling parents bear a heavier financial burden than the parents
of publicly educated kids. While others may have dual incomes, most homeschooling families are
two-parent homes in which mothers guide their household and care for the children.
If you and your spouse have careers, part of your costs will be the
opportunity costs of a sacrificed income. As tax payers, they are already
subsidizing the educational system. By pulling their children out,
they are not directly benefiting from the tax dollars spent. (Of
course this is true for all taxpayers who do not currently have children
in the public educational system which means this is another form of
socialism.) Parents dissatisfied with what government schools
offer have two options: enroll in a private school or start
homeschooling. Parents who do not embrace the discipleship
benefits, etc. of homeschooling may still elect to homeschool simply
because of the high cost of private schools. "For the 2003-04 school year, national average private school tuition was
The average home-educated child needs
less much than $1000 per year in supplies. The average cost per student for the public educational system is higher than both
the average student of privates schools or home-educating parents.
Fairness, at a minimum, would support parents using vouchers for the
education of their own children in whichever system they choose. Free resources may be
available through the public school district, the public library, or your church library.
Criticism from family and
friends. Although homeschooling is growing at a staggering rate,
some people remain prejudiced against home-education. Mostly
ignorance gives birth to this bias. Question: Are you
spineless to the degree that you will allow others to direct in our life
in such a profound way? Yielding to adult peer pressure is equally
as dishonorable as teens succumbing to the crowd.
Reverse discrimination of homeschoolers
against non-homeschoolers. The Pharisees believed they were more
righteous than others. In some ways they were more righteous, but
their purity got to their heads and brought them under Jesus' sharpest
criticism. In your heart, dear homeschooler, you must not strut
like a peacock. Your path is better! But, we are all
sinners. Neither education, wealth, beauty, pedigree, popularity,
or righteousness give us the license for arrogance. You are
inherently no better than a thug rutting in prison. He bears the
image of God with you just as you have the potential for the worst forms
of sin with him. If we are saved, we are saved by grace.
What next? If you feel persuaded to homeschool, I'd recommend that you start by speaking with other
parents whom you know who already homeschool. I also strongly suggest that you attend a
homeschooling conference in your area.
Furthermore, become acquainted with the homeschooling laws in your state and county.
Finally, you need to contact homeschooling
[NOTE: This article is still being
developed. I hope that you will comeback to read more later.]