Today, many parents are homeschooling their children. A U.S. Department of Education’s report shows that approximately 1.5 million children were being homeschooled in 2007 (Lips & Feinberg, 2008). This is almost 3 percent of all school age children (Lips & Feinberg, 2008). A private researcher, the National Home Education Research Institute, estimates 2.5 million children were being homeschooled in the 2007 – 2008 academic years (Lips & Feinberg, 2008). By either count, homeschooling is growing exponentially.
Parents have been teaching their children at home for centuries. During the 1970s, the interest in homeschooling increased. Legal advocates had lots of opposition when pressing for the legal right to educate their child at home and change compulsory school attendance. The National Education Association fought to place restrictions on home schooling. However, most of the efforts have failed. As a result, homeschooling is legal in every state.
Reasons for Homeschooling Growth
There are numerous reasons why parents turn to homeschooling. Changes in the families and public schools drive the increase. Public schools grew larger, more bureaucratic, and more impersonal. Parents felt more alienated as the school was less responsive and less adaptive to cultural needs. This was combined with the loss of the Christian culture and curriculum the parents found offensive or against their social values (Gaither, 2008).
The major reasons for homeschooling cited by two-thirds of the parents interviewed are concern about the school environment, dissatisfaction with the academic programs, and the desire for religious or moral instruction (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2004). Parents feel responsible for their child’s education. Often they feel the child is best educated at home, either by themselves or by another.
First, the parents often feel they know what is best for their own child. Children learn differently and homeschooling can quickly respond and adapt to what is best for the child (Terry, 2011). In the home, the child is the sole focus, rather than one of many. In the classroom, the teacher has to focus on the majority of the students, leaving the slower and the quicker student out (Terry, 2011). Often, if a child has dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, they fall quickly behind. The parent can spend the additional time and effort to make sure the lessons are structured so the child can learn. For the quicker student, lessons can be structured so they are more challenging.
Second, if the school system is poor, a child should not be forced to attend a failing school. As a matter of fact, the majority of parents (31%) chose homeschooling because of concern of the environment in the public schools (NCES, 2004). This concern includes both the social and the academic environment. The homeschooled student is away from peer pressure of drugs and alcoholism and away from violence...