I recently went to an event for homeschooling at a convention center in Ontario. For years I heard about the home school phenomenon and looked at it somewhat askance. Like most, I was full of misconceptions about the parents and the academic achievements of their children/students.
Faced with an unknown, the imagination tends to run wild.
The children must be raised to be antisocial. The parents are libertarian anarchist, stockpiling food and guns for the coming apocalypse. The parents/teachers must be either brilliant or do not understand how dumb they are. The parents are rich in order to hire tutors and be away from their work. Clearly it is impossible for home teaching to compare with classes being taught by full-time professional unionized teachers. They do not have access to quality curriculum and teaching materials or would know how to use it if they had it. They hang out in their own secret communities. No one can be expert on everything so parents cannot do a good job educating their children. The parents must be antisocial.
As it turns out, the previous statements are wrong on nearly every account. Since homeschooled students lack the distractions that public school students experience, their study time tends to be more intense and efficient, leaving extended time for social and extracurricular activities. Home-schooling parents tend to be super soccer moms with an intense list of activities scheduled for their kids/students. Home-school parents find ways to work together and share resources. The Home School Association of California offers several services and advice for parents who are interested in removing their children from the foibles of public education. You may also wish to check out Home School Legal Defense.
For parents of faith, there is Christian Home Educators Association of California.
I went to the convention with a home school mom and a Libertarian-leaning friend who knew nothing about home schooling but was considering offering some internet-based classes. Home school mom was the proverbial kid in the candy store, drooling over all the books and services being offered for the home school community. It was a sea of books and study guides. Many were offering classical education material and methodologies. Also tutors, tutor training, internet classes, and charter schools offering special services for the homeschooler. My Libertarian friend came early to see some presentations and lectures. She came to us in tears proclaiming, “I’m in America again!”
School Districts remain very suspicious of home schooling and will challenge the parents. When tested home school children are usually two to four years ahead in academic achievement compared to students of the same age in public school. It is common to find 15 to 18-year-old home schoolers taking classes in the neighborhood community college. With increased parental supervision, home-school kids are well behaved, been instilled with good values, are fascinated by the world around them and can-do things other than Nintendo and being masters of social media.
Mothers and fathers of home school kids understand that the greatest responsibility parents have is raising their children well. They took the trouble to examine how and what their children were being taught in the public schools and were shocked. Educational priorities seemed to have shifted from giving our children the tools they needed to manage their own affairs to social engineering, resulting in students being dumbed down.
“Where the people fear the government, you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people, you have liberty.” -John B Barnhill (1914)
Liberty is in the DNA of the home school movement. I fear tyranny is the province of public education.