Home Schooling is Not the Best Option
For those of us who have never been exposed into the world of home schooling, it carries a certain mystique. We might envision a family alternating between algebra and Bible study, keeping a safe distance from the rampant worldliness in schools. Or perhaps we see children sitting around the kitchen table practicing spelling while mother supervises. Despite these traditional images, home schooling is growing and gaining respect. This is due in part to high profile success stories like home schoolers finishing first, second and third in the 2000 Scripps - Howard National Spelling Bee or the Colfax family in California who sent three sons to Harvard. However, home schooling raises many questions including issues of academics, socialization, and religion. Thus, despite the significant growth and special cases where home schooling is deemed necessary, I propose that it is not the strongest alternative for a child's education.
The idea and practice of home schooling are not new. For centuries children have learned outside of formals school settings, even when schools were readily available. It was not until the 1950s that the contemporary home schooling movement began as a liberal, not conservative, alternative to public school (Lines 1/8). According to Patricia Lines, a senior research analyst for the U.S. Department of Education, schools were too rigidly conservative for a handful of families in the fifties and sixties who instead pursued the liberal philosophy that the best learning takes place without an established curriculum, and that the child should pursue his or her own interests with the support and encouragement of parents and other adults (2/8).
Then, in the 1980s many conservative and religious families began home schooling as the school culture drifted to the left away from the traditional. Both the left and right wings of home schooling are active today with an estimated 1.5 million home-schooled children, as many families have both philosophical and religious for their choice (Kantrowitz & Wingert 1). Joining them are many home schoolers who simply seek the highest quality education for their child, which they believe public and even private schools can no longer provide.
Forty years ago home schooling did not satisfy compulsory education requirements in most states. Due to a gradual change in legislature, all states accept home schooling as a valid alternative but regulations vary by state. Lines asserts that at a minimum, families must file basic information with either the state or local education agency (3/8).
One of the most important criteria to consider when looking at home schooling is academics. In an era when the focus on accountability has become magnified, achievement of scholars is key to evaluating education. One of the first things to consider when looking at the academic quality of education is the ability of the teacher. Jennie and Donald Rakestraw, both...