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Who SHOULD Homeschool?

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The reality that homeschooling is superior to public schooling has come as a very inconvenient truth to the public school advocates who attack homeschooling.  They used to argue that those without college diplomas and teaching certifications could not do the job of the teacher.  However, in EVERY academic study (controlled or not) I’ve ever seen, homeschoolers have done as well or better than those in public schools. They then argued that homeschoolers could not be properly socialized.  However, in EVERY behavioral study (controlled or not) I’ve ever seen, homeschoolers have done as well or better than those in public schools. Pathetically, the most passionate argument against homeschooling these days is that homeschooling undermines the public school system. Of course this is an absurd charge, as the public school system needs no help in failing to educate our children even at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars per child per year.

While homeschooling clearly outperforms public schooling on every meaningful measure, it is not for everyone, as I indicated in my last post.  There are legitimate reasons why some parents might not want to homeschool. In this post, I will cover just some of the reasons why homeschooling may be right for you.

You Didn’t Graduate College, or High School: Homeschool students outperform their peers in public schools across all socio-economic and demographic categories. They also outperform irrespective of the parents’ educational attainment, or lack of formal education. The children of uneducated parents do better in a homeschooling environment than they do through public schooling (or private schooling).  In one study, it was found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentile points higher in math and 49 percentile points higher in writing than public school students from families with comparable education levels. The argument against homeschooling for parents who didn’t graduate college or high school is baseless.  While homeschooled children of parents with PhDs outperform their public schooled and private schooled peers from families with comparable education levels, the children of parents without degrees have the most to gain from homeschooling on a relative basis.

An added benefit of homeschooling for parents who don’t have college or high school degrees is that they finally get to learn what public schools failed to teach them.  Parents tend to be far more motivated to learn something when they know that it will benefit their children than they were to learn it when it was being thrown at them in a public school environment. Homeschool blogs are filled with stories of parents learning material 20-30 years after the public school failed them.

You Value Time: Time is one of our most precious resources.  It is always being depleted and we can never get it back. Society makes judgments based on how much people can accomplish in a given amount of time. Those who waste it aren’t given the responsibilities and don’t receive the benefits that society provides to those who are deemed to be good stewards of valuable resources.  Like the DMV, public schools are largely a waste of time. The average school day in America runs about 6.5 hours a day, however, actual instruction at these schools can be as little as 2.0 to 2.5 hours a day after discounting administrative tasks, movement between classes, homerooms, study halls, lunch and discipline.  In a homeschool environment, time is not wasted on class clowns or hallway fights.  Homeschool parents can do more in three hours, and in a way that is tailored to the learning needs of their child, than the public school system can in a half day.

You Are a Minority: Nearly half of our nation’s African American students and nearly 40% of Latino students attend high schools where graduation is NOT the norm. If you live in a district populated with a plurality of any minority ethnic group, your school is likely to be well below average, and the average in America is already shockingly low. These terrible public schools help perpetuate the blight of the black and Latino communities in America, and homeschooling is the best way to avoid it.

At the other end of the spectrum, East and South Asian students face increased hurdles to academic success through the public school system.  As high school counselors and college administrators dismiss the best students as being unsocial math types, and average students as being disappointing failures, there is an appropriate sense of injustice bubbling up in a community that already buys into the political rhetoric of “valuing education”.  Homeschooling is the best way for these individuals to break free from the social constraints that are placed on them (other than changing their names and checking “other” under ethnicity on college applications).

You Live in a “Good” Public School District: Many parents believe they live in a “good” public school district because their school doesn’t get all the negative press that the 1700 dropout factories in the US receive.  Many parents believe that because a school district might have higher SAT scores than the national average, or a majority of the students go to college, that it is a “good” public school. The fact of the matter is that there are maybe a few “good” public schools in the entire nation.  One or two of them may cater to the individual needs of the student.  A select few of them might build the independence and self-confidence that is essential to living a free existence, in addition to preserving the intellectual curiosity that is essential to lifelong development and growth. Even the “best” public district schools are failures. If your goal is to help your child become an independent thinker, one who can adjust to an ever changing market economy, one who will have the tools necessary to thrive in college and in the workforce, then sending your child to a “good” public district school is not an option. Homeschooling, however, is always an option.

Religious and Moral Beliefs: We live in a nation that protects (in theory) religious freedom and individuality. So long as your thoughts don’t translate into actions that harm others, you should be free to think and act as you choose. Unfortunately, your ability to share your beliefs and values with your children is under attack by the public school system. This is equally applicable to an evangelical Christian, a devout Muslim, an ardent atheist, an environmentally concerned progressive, or a free market anarchist. Many public school advocates actually use your ability to share your values with your children as an argument against homeschooling. They want to be able to dictate what values your children hold dear. This was a driving motive behind Prussian education, and it is being used to persecute parents from Germany to England to California!

I don’t particularly care what your religious, ethical, political or other beliefs are. I will defend your right to share those beliefs with your children, because no matter how much I may disagree with your beliefs, I am certain that I will disagree with the corporate, political and special interest driven beliefs that government schools will try to impose upon your children even more. When you hand your kids over to the state, you also hand over a large part of their moral development.

You Want to Protect Your Child from Bullying: Bullying is rampant in schools. 1/3 of all teens have been bullied, and the effects of bullying can be devastating to the social development of a child. Bullying can be violent, and in some cases it leads to suicide.  Public school advocates often make the argument that dealing with bullies is a part of growing up – it is a stupid argument.  There is no need to subject kids to needless bullying, and it doesn’t make them better able to handle the real world. In the adult world, bullying is a crime.

You Want Your Child to Be Loved: The world has become a more comfortable place to live through technological advances and economic development.  We now have cars, cell phones, refrigerators, air conditioning, and heating systems.  However, the world can still be a cruel and harsh place, even for the most privileged.  Emotionally, almost everyone is hurt by others, whether it is through bullying as I have already spoken to, a friend who abandons someone in their time of need, a boyfriend who cheats on his girlfriend, or the 50% of marriages that are likely to end in divorce.  Once your child leaves home, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for them to be alone and without love. You can try to prepare them for those moments, but it is unlikely that you will be able to prevent them.

However, while they are young, you can shower your children with love.  Instead of sending your children off to a public school to be controlled by teachers who need to give their attention to 20-30 students, who have no personal connection with or vested interest in your child, you can share that time with your child through homeschooling.  Aside from all of the academic, social and safety benefits of homeschooling, the act of homeschooling sends a loud and clear message to your child that they are truly loved, that you are not interested in handing them off to someone else.

 

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56 Responses to " Who SHOULD Homeschool? "

  1. This “ardent atheist” homeschooler loves your article! It wasn’t part of my own decision, but I know people who ended up homeschooling because they were tired of their child being preached to, quite literally, by public school teachers!

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Thank you, I’m glad you loved the article!

      • Denese W. says:

        I love your article. I have been thinking of home schooling my kids for a long time. If a child is supposed to go to behavior school from public school, can I home school instead of him going to behavior school.

        • jodie says:

          Yes, of course you can homeschool. Your sons behavior may improve being at home with you and then there won’t be a need for behavior school. My son is 8 and was afraid of his teachers so I pulled him out of school, his behavior was awful. His first day home was fantastic and we’ve never looked back.

  2. Marty Forte says:

    A very well written and supported essay. I would suggest that you submit this as an article to the major homeschool publications. This essay could easily be the jumping off point for a wonderful discussion on homeschooling.

  3. ashlea says:

    Sadly, homeschooling is not bully free. Bullies are everywhere. On the upside, chances are the bully’s parents are your friends and you can keep open lines of communication. Which means you can be part of the bully’s village and help heal the bully’s self esteem issues. Your child will be hurt in the process, but you’ll be there to coach them through and help them see that the bully is insecure. Still not fun, but life isn’t always pretty.

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Right, but the thing about public schools is that they are breeding grounds for abusive behavior – and parents have the option to save their kids from it.

  4. I agree with the points you have made in your article. I was left wondering though, what are the ‘studies’ you keep referring to? It would be nice to have a bibliography at the end of the article, in case one was inclined to do further research. Thank you for your eloquent contribution to a movement our family holds dear.

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Thank you, Beatriz. I will cite/reference some of the studies in future blog posts. This statement was on the totality of them, I have reviewed dozens of education related studies, and never, not once, have I ever found one that showed that public schooling is in any way superior to homeschooling. I’ve looked for them. I’ve seen studies that have made the claim (often on bogus assumptions or suspect data collection) that public schools are better than private or charter schools, but I am still waiting to find one that says the same relative to homeschooling.

  5. Donna Harris says:

    Very nice. I’d add that even working parents, or single parents, can homeschool. I do, and it’s been very helpful to be able to train the children in independence!

  6. Yes!

    We will start homeschooling next year. All-day kindergarten and only 1 recess is ridiculous.

    It’s amazing the number of eye-rolls we receive when we mention homeschooling our son–from people with children who have experienced bullying and bad teachers. Strange the stigma that homeschooling possesses.

    • …and I forgot to mention that they are not even allowed to talk at lunch!

      Talk about not letting kids learn social skills!!!

      • Trista says:

        Jessica-

        Our elementary doesn’t allow talking at lunch either. It is a new principal with a background of *marketing* of all things and business administration. She has never been a teacher – ever. And this was the very first thing she changed. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve EVER heard of! I thought it was only happening here….makes me sad to think it’s also happening elsewhere.

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Congratulations on making the decision to homeschool as opposed to turning your kids over to the state!

      The people who rail against homeschooling the most tend to fall into a few categories.

      1) People who are simply trying to validate their own poor decisions by trying to tear down those who don’t want to make the same mistakes.

      2) Those who benefit financially from the failed status quo, i.e. teachers unions, school boards, publishing companies, etc.

      3) Those who are truly ignorant and don’t care to think critically for themselves, refusing to ask why the system is so pathetic. These people are usually products of the public school system.

      4) Social engineers who think they can raise children better from distant ivory towers and capitol buildings than parents can.

  7. Excellent post! I would agree that a reference to support stats would help to solidify the point, but overall this is excellent! I’d be proud to share with your permission on http://www.Unpluggedmom.com, please let me know, thanks!

  8. Taylor says:

    As a raised homeschooled person, and now homeschooling parent, I love this and deeply agree with most of it. In my contemplations I can think of only 3 reasons not to homeschool children.
    1) If doing so will place detrimental financial strain on the family.
    2) If the kid wants to go to school… I did. It lasted for 3 months in high-school and was a very eye-opening experience. However, my mom was so anti-school that she couldn’t really support me in this experience. If we raise our children to be self-directed homeschoolers, then we also assume that the kid will be fully able to make good decisions for their own educational needs… even if we as parents don’t understand those decision.
    3) I think this is the most important one – if a parent will not ENJOY homeschooling with their kid. I love it. I love being with my kids all the time. My sister values her children and the pursuit of her career and would be antsy if she was “stuck” at home all the time with her boys. This would not be a good learning environment.

    But beyond those three reasons, we should go forth and homeschool! Thanks for the good read.

  9. Trista says:

    We are new to homeschooling, but have thought about it for a long time. I wanted to start homeschooling when our oldest was in 5th grade and never enter our middle son. My husband took a little longer to realize it was that important for our own family and we pulled our now freshman this year. Our second son is in first grade and will end this year or next (depending on how much attention our oldest needs). Our 3rd, 4th, and 5th children are in preschool and will not go once they reach kindergarten; and our daughter will not go at all. My husband took a long time to decide because his siblings are public school educators and I don’t think he was ready to argue and stand up for our family’s educational decisions as much as he knew he would have to before now (he’s quiet & the baby). He’s known every argument for homeschooling and could adamantly defend it to others for the last six years, but wasn’t ready until now. I’m just thrilled we’re finally getting our children out of the public school system!

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Trista, congratulations on getting your husband fully on board! The outcomes for your children will end up being the best arguing points with your husband’s family.

      • Mary G. says:

        You would wish that would be the case, but don’t hold your breath. I have a sister-in-law who was violently opposed to my homeschooling, and two sisters who were negative, but not as irrational about it. The sister-in-law is a private school department head.

        After 12 years and having raised a lovely young daughter to womanhood, the best I can say is that they finally (!) stopped hassling me about it. They’ve never been, and probably never will be actually “supportive” of my decision.

        Stick to your guns and do what you know is right for YOUR family!

        • Mary G. says:

          Sorry, forgot to mention that my daughter’s last end-of-school-year testing had an overall score average of 99th percentile. That means she did better than 99% of other students her age taking the same test.

          Nary a word of praise from the entire family, even though I made a point of letting them know about it.

          • Antonio Buehler says:

            Mary, you are awesome! Your children are so lucky to have you – a lot of people find it very difficult to stand up to their family.

  10. [...] Antonio Buehler writes a concise list of Who SHOULD Homeschool.  His inclusions and exclusions are particularly interesting to me.  He does NOT include [...]

  11. mom23 says:

    Your article is interesting. My children recently were doing a virtual school through our county. The teacher aka vice principle, had the kids labled based on their previous standardized test scores, before she had even met them. Then we went to a play group for home schooled kids, were my children were bullied, and a 9 y/o kicked my 5 y/o son in the stomach. The homeschooling children were nastier then any pulic school children we had previously encountered. I recently enrolled my children back to a good public school, and believe I have made the right choice.

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Thanks for your input. Unfortunately, a virtual school through your county isn’t exactly homeschooling. In homeschooling, parents don’t outsource their “labeling” to education “professionals”. Your bullying experience is most certainly not the norm, but I wish your children the best of luck in government schools.

  12. Thank you for this article! It is so true as a homeschooling parent, that I am learning things that the public school system failed to teach me, but need to learn now to teach my own children and loving every minute of it! I homeschool 3 children and some days are more trying than others, but the rewards for my children are priceless! THANKS

  13. Kat says:

    You forgot one big group who should homeschool: military families.

    My oldest child would have been in 4 different school districts by now if we had sent him to public school, but instead he has seamlessly used one curriculum for 8 years now. I can’t imagine the lack of learning that would have occurred with that many different math programs, phonics/reading programs and if he would be as voracious a reader as he is currently.

    Yes, homeschooling 5 kids (and having a toddler underfoot) is a lot of work and some days are just not ideal, but in the long run the family is much closer and the children’s education is vastly superior.

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      You are absolutely right, Kat, military families are great candidates for homeschooling. Having coached football at a Department of Defense school in Europe I saw first hand how poor the schools were, and having the kids move every two years to another poor school only makes matters worse. Thanks for your input.

  14. Michelle says:

    I loved this article, but I think I loved the reasons NOT to homeschool even more- especially the “if you don’t love your children” one.
    We did the virtual school for two years, but I couldn’t stand being under someone else’s thumb for testing and having to send in all of their work. I wish I had started homeschooling years before I did, but I am so happy now that we have. My husband is fully onboard, and we have such a good time as a family now. Even the kids who were/are in public school are closer to us and as a family.
    It certainly is more of a lifestyle choice, and should not be entered into lightly, but, It is a wonderful way to raise your children. For that poor woman who’s kid was kicked by an older homeschool kid- I am so sorry. Most homeschoolers DON’T act like that, or at least the one’s I’ve met don’t.
    Bullying is definitely a HUGE problem, and my kids suffered from it, which is why I initially pulled them out of public school. The virtual school does prevent that, but the restrictions you are under are the same as public school- as they really ARE public schools.
    As time goes on, I become more and more pro-homeschool and anti-government run schools.
    Thanks for the GREAT article!!!

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Thanks, Michelle. I’m glad you liked both articles. I agree with you about virtual schools still being public schools. They take away some of the bad aspects of brick and mortar public schools, but not all of them. I’m glad you went further and are now homeschooling. I’m glad you are closer as a family!

  15. Mary Millin says:

    Outstanding article!! I will definitely be sharing it with others. We have homeschooled our 3 children (including a set of twins) since day one, and our oldest (age 15) will finish in a few months. It is definitely a serious commitment and one thing that keeps me going is thinking about what we would have to UNteach them each day. We’d much rather spend the time and energy on teaching them practical stuff they can/will use.

  16. Brian Millin says:

    I just wanted to add that we always felt we could school our children more effectively and efficiently than the public school system … I worked as a full-time interpreter and classroom aide in public schools for 9 years. I know how limited the actual instruction and interaction time is for each student, especially with a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:25 or more! Although a few head-strong relatives feel we are “harming” our children by homeschooling, we see their real academic levels (strengths and weaknesses)–they are not simply numbers that legislative bodies need to fill academic competency quotas. Knowing what our children are learning every day is especially helpful for us, since it enables my wife and I to build on what they are learning with what they are experiencing in other areas of their life. The reality is that learning must relate to real-life situations, otherwise learning will never be seen as beneficial.

    Many individuals, both friends and strangers, are constantly remarking about our childrens’ use of their knowledge in real-life situations, as well as their development and continued refinement of social skills. My wife has done a fantastic job of incorporating any and all school-learned knowledge into everyday life, so that the practical use of learning is seen as not a chore, but as something that will benefit them for the duration of their lives. And she’s kept their progress charted so that everyone can see where they are in the curriculum scope and sequence. At times my occupation takes me into public school classrooms during the instruction times, and I am continually seeing disruptive behavioral issues of students causing between 0-50% learning efficiency (percentage of actual instruction happening as compared with the potential). Several classroom periods I have interpreted continual “crowd control” strategies by the classroom teacher for the entire period! Material that was planned to be discussed was simply assigned as homework. More and more classroom teachers are finding themselves unable to cover the material completely in the classroom. Our students only have homework, and their homeschooling learning efficiency is between 80-100%. As a parent, we want the best for our children. Accepting the primary responsibility for teaching and training our children is not only a privilege, but it also helps us identify our own academic weaknesses. Being honest with our homeschooled children helps them realize that our own personal experiences may have been better if we had seen the value of, and applied, what was taught in our public school classrooms. It also helps them appreciate that even though math is not my personal favorite subject, I am thankful I have at least the background and math skills I do, and now welcome the opportunity to refresh my sketchy algebra and geometry memory. If only I could have been homeschooled and taught at the level and speed I could handle when in public school!… Sorry for my rambling expressions. Great article, and excellent points made in the comments. Too bad government agencies who see homeschooling successes as a threat to the public school “machine”. Here’s hoping to get better academic numbers on “test day” to prove competencies and successes. Where is my child’s best interests in that equation??

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Brian and Mary,

      Thanks so much for your comments. Your three children are indeed blessed to have you commit so fully to their growth and development. I agree with all of your points. It’s a shame that people still think that homeschooling “harms” children, when in fact it is the public school system that does the most harm. I too wish I had been homeschooled – sadly my real education began after my formal schooling ended.

      Thanks again for your comments!

  17. Dawn says:

    I liked the article and found it as I was searching out information about the possibility of homeschooling my 5 y/o. However, in reference to many of the comments about how bad public schools are… I feel like as a successful product of public schools and a former educator public schools are a lot better for many kids than homes chool would be b/c too often the parents don’t care. That said parents who care and are willing to put in the time and effort to homeschooling can have far better results…

  18. Do NOT tear down the public school teachers! They certainly didn’t get into it for the paycheck. Most of them DO have an investment in the children. They DO care about the children. They do have to follow state and administrative rules whether they want to or not. Yes, it is very difficult to meet the needs of ALL of the students effectively; however, they do the best they can with the resources they have! Most of them DO care what happens to the students in the class. Instead of being negative toward those teachers, trying praying for them instead whether they agree with the homeschool decision or not….

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Amanda, we do not tear down public school teachers. We tear down the failed public schools, and bad teachers. We honor good teachers, even if they unknowingly participate in a system which ultimately harms far more kids than it helps.

  19. Great article. As someone who has been supporting families to leave school for the past 16 years, I appreciate your presentation. Nowadays, I like to turn the question around, and ask, “Who shouldn’t leave school?” The answer is: people who like going to school for the immediate lifestyle it offers.

    We know that one does not need to go to school for preparation for the future. One can attend college, get hired, start a business, travel, and do anything in the world without attending or completing high school. So, if one does not need to go to school to prepare for the future, one might go to school because it is the way they want to live their lives as teens.

    Believe it or not, I have met many teens who do, including my own two children who attend school. They have friends, play sports, and more or less enjoy their teachers and go along with the assignments. Many teens visit North Star, and then tell me that having the information that they have a real alternative to school is just what they need to stay in school.

    So, school is for those who want it, right now, as a fun and interesting and meaningful way to live. Everyone else should consider homeschooling and determine whether they have the capacity and support to utilize this approach!

  20. FaithInHim says:

    I agree with most points, but the “minority” comment is an eyebrow raiser. It was almost like you were saying “you dont want your kids around a bunch of blacks and mexicans”. So are you saying that as long as they are the minority its ok, but when they become the majority, its time to run?

  21. N says:

    I was hoping you’d link to some of the research you mentioned in the article. A good read, thank you!

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      I put in some hyperlinks. I will hopefully be writing much more this coming spring where I will pull in more research.

  22. [...] goes to bed “Love.”  That one simple word, conveys so much!The last paragraph in this article and the lovely words in this blogpost  make me very glad I’m homeschooling and [...]

  23. Cloris says:

    Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. – Eleanor Rooseveltsee more

  24. Becky says:

    Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece. – Dale Westsee more

  25. [...] One study found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentile points higher in math and 49 percentile points higher in writing than public school students from families with comparable education levels. (Source) [...]

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