For seven years, I slogged through the public school system before my parents made the decision to homeschool. At the time, I couldn’t understand why they were so concerned about making the switch.
Frankly, I wasn’t learning anything in public school, so from my perspective, it couldn’t get any worse. Only later, when I asked my parents about their thought process, did I learn how much propaganda there is against homeschooling.
The core of this propaganda is the idea that parents are unqualified to teach their kids. After all, public school teachers are required to have a degree and license.
If teachers really are uniquely qualified, it doesn’t show: public schools have only gotten worse since I exited their grip. American children routinely perform below grade level in reading and math. And the left-wing agenda of many schools is on full display as education officials force radical race and gender ideology into the classroom.
But whatever a parent’s reasons for considering homeschooling – religion, academics, school environment, or something else – parents are qualified to teach their kids.
There’s continuing debate about whether homeschoolers perform better academically than children in conventional schools. But the data are clear: 78 percent of peer-reviewed studies show that homeschoolers academically outperform students in typical schools.
Personally and anecdotally, I can attest to this as I graduated summa cum laude from college. My parents gave me an education that prepared me for college quite well and that met my needs better than the public school did.
Indeed, parents are the experts on their kids, which makes them uniquely fit to teach their children. They know what their kids need, how they learn, and how they thrive. Even if some of this seems foreign to new homeschool parents, it becomes evident quite quickly to parents when working with their kids.
One worry my parents had when considering homeschooling was accidently not covering something key in our curriculum. While some homeschoolers use a fully DIY curriculum, most families select textbooks, worksheets, and other materials from homeschool curriculum brands to craft an education that works best for their kids. Having an existing curriculum can provide a safety net and assuage worries about missing a key concept.
These days, there are even options for pre-recorded lectures online or via DVD. Plus, some homeschoolers purchase curriculum packages that have all the subjects bundled together for an expected grade level.
Many homeschoolers also attend homeschool co-ops, which are conglomerations of tutors and teachers that offer classes parents can sign their child up for. I would describe co-ops as being somewhere between a classroom and a group tutoring session. Classes often have fewer than 10 students, which means each child gets greater individual attention. Students typically attend once a week, then complete homework outside of class. And unlike public schools, co-ops allow parents to choose the right classes and teachers for their child.
Another common concern for many starting homeschool parents—especially those with high school–level kids—is how to teach subjects that aren’t their strong suits Here, the plethora of homeschool options comes in handy, whether it’s a co-op class, a great textbook, or DVD lessons.
When I was homeschooled, my father taught music lessons and computer coding, in addition to helping out with tough math questions. For math curriculum, we used a textbook that had accompanying video lessons and explanations for all answers. I also took foreign language classes from a co-op and private tutor.
Finally, many parents wonder if they can actually get their kids to complete homework and their daily lessons. This ultimately comes down to patience and parenting style. Admittedly, this area was one of the biggest struggles when my parents started homeschooling.
When I first switched from public school to homeschool, I was very dependent on parental supervision to learn. It was a struggle for me and my mother. I was used to putting in zero effort at public school where I already knew the concepts being taught. In homeschool, I suddenly had to learn things for real.
But gradually, as I became an independent learner, my mom could take a more hands-off approach, letting me read, complete worksheets or reports, and ask questions as needed. And being an independent learner was instrumental in my ability to flourish in college and beyond.
In the beginning, homeschooling may take some additional effort, but by the time the homeschooled kid graduates high school or college, he’ll be beyond grateful for the effort his parents put in. I know I am.
Written by Jordan Alexander for Intellectual Takeout ~ October 31, 2022