The Benefits of Homeschooling
According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), there are now more than two million children being homeschooled in the US (Ray, “Research Facts on Homeschooling”). This movement began growing in the 1970s, when some popular authors and researchers, such as Raymond Moore and John Holt, began to write about reform in education. They suggested homeschooling as an alternative educational option. As a result, today, the percentage of homeschooled youth rapidly increases by 7 percent to 15 percent annually (Ray, “Research Facts on Homeschooling”). Homeschooling is legal in all 50 US states, as well as in many foreign countries. Despite this fact, home education evokes significant public mistrust. The corresponding statistics reveals that “fifty three percent believed it should be legal and 39 percent thought homeschooling should be illegal” (Moreau 9). In other words, almost a half of the US population is against this kind of education. Therefore, homeschooling is a worth alternative to a public education as it provides better opportunities for a child’s cognitive and emotional development, reduces economic costs, and saves more time for extra-curriculum activities.
Given that home education is more individualized and aimed at meeting the needs of one child (or a small group of children), it is appropriate to assume that homeschoolers receive better possibilities to advance their mental and emotional capacities. This idea corresponds with the findings of NHERI, which states that “the home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development” (Ray). The measured variables that lead to this conclusion include “peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem” (Ray). Besides, it is detected that “adults who were home educated are more politically tolerant than the public schooled” (Ray). Considering such qualitative data, one can presume that children who are taught at home gain the necessary cognitive and emotional skills or, maybe, even excel their publicly educated peers. Most likely, the benevolence of home schooling is connected with the fact that parents know their children much better than teachers. Moreover, they are supposed to be more interested in doing their outmost for providing their offspring with the best possible care and education.
At the same time, homeschooled students do not lack social interaction as many people believe. NHERI accentuates that, despite having classes at home, children actively participate in extra-curriculum activities aside their home places, which provides enough opportunities for social interactions (Ray). To be more precise, home educated children are engaged in various kinds of group sports, church-related activities, volunteer work, field trips, and various excursions.
The corresponding data is stated by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which reveals that “homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects” (“Academic Statistics on Homeschooling”). It is necessary to clarify that the longer children are being educated at home, the better academic performance they express (HSLDA). In addition, academic excellence of homeschooled students does not depend on their race, ethnicity, or religion (HSLDA). Such finding correlates with the NHERI’s assumption that home educated children are more tolerant and politically correct.
Moreover, the poor quality of education, harmful social environment, such as lack of religious education, compromised morals, etc., are pointed out as the main reasons why a growing number of parents prefer to homeschool their children (Lips & Feinberg, “Homeschooling”). Parents believe that “providing religious and moral instruction” is easier when it is done at home by a child’s role models (Lips & Feinberg). Considering the above-described parental accentuation in education, it is not surprising that children who are taught at home are more tolerant. Moreover, they possess well-developed emotional intelligence and maintain strong moral values.
Without doubt, it would be wrong to think that public education does not maintain the same goals or that all students at schools lack tolerance and moral values. The fact that is suggested by the aforementioned statistics is that home educated youth is shielded from the temptations imposed by their peers. For instance, parents believe that providing homeschool education serves to protect their youth from “physical violence, drugs and alcohol, psychological abuse, racism, and improper and unhealthy sexuality associated with institutional schools” (Ray). Moreover, one may assume that better academic performance of the homeschoolers is connected with the absence of stereotype threat, which is a common phenomenon that affects many school students. Therefore, it is natural to conclude that homeschooling provides better opportunities for academic and personal growth.
Apart from that, many experts and common parents agree that homeschooling reduces financial burden on families, as well as on the entire nation. Therefore, this type of education can rightfully be considered as more economically feasible than public schools. Consider the statistics, “the growing number of students being educated at home is also influencing the American Education system and saving taxpayers between $4.4 billion and $9.9 billion in instructional costs each year” (Lips & Feinberg). Undoubtedly, such data constitutes a strong argument in a favor of the home education.
Furthermore, the similar compelling statistics is revealed by HSLDA. Specifically, it states that “the average cost per homeschool student is $546 while the average cost per public school student is $5,325” (HSLDA). Scrutinizing this data, one may calculate that homeschooling is approximately 10 times cheaper than educating children in public schools. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number of home educated people continues growing and this trend, in overall, is supported by the government.
A corresponding testimony is revealed by Kathleen Berchelmann, M. D., in her article18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children. Berchelmann explains that school education is much more expensive than homeschooling. Considering the rationale, “private education has become unaffordable, especially for larger families”, therefore, parents have to set the priority: “save for college, save for retirement, or pay private school tuition” (Berchelmann). Without doubt, paying for private education is the least important aspiration. As a result, parents believe that it is reasonable to teach children at home with the purpose of accumulating money for college. This decision is especially easy to make when a family has more than two children, which implies greater educational expenses. Moreover, even in case of public education, parents experience significant financial burden connected with the expenses on delivering children to school and taking them back home, money for lunch, etc. Taking into account the above-mentioned arguments, one can rightfully conclude that homeschooling is more economically feasible for the entire nation.
Moreover, teaching children at home saves much time for extra-curriculum activities for children, as well as allows parents manage their daily schedule more effectively. For instance, Kathleen Berchelmann reveals that as a mother of 4 children she struggles to combine motherhood and career. In particular, the woman claims that driving children to and back from school takes approximately 4 hours per day. As a result, her children have limited time for homework and hobbies after school (Berchelmann). Besides, adults also experience a shortage of time caused by such schedule. That is why, homeschooling is a worthy time-saving alternative to educational faculties.
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In addition, the idea about more properly distributed time during homeschooling is supported by the researcher, Brian Ray. In his article, Research Facts on Homeschooling, the scholar provides qualitative data, which supports the premise that home education is more effective in terms of time management (Ray). Therefore, it is one of the reasons why parents choose to teach children by themselves.
Despite the aforementioned positive implications of homeschooling, the opponents of this kind of education believe that homeschooled youth losses in competition with public schooling graduates due to the fact that the latter group is better socially integrated. Consequently, young people who were homeschooled struggle to reach success at work (Seelig 8). The rationale that supports this premise is the following. At school, children learn working in teams during social interactions with peers and adults. Therefore, homeschooling is not sufficient enough for developing the needed social practices. In particular, even if students who study at home have regular daily interactions, these communicative practices lack the abrupt challenges and unpredicted issues that are faced by people every day during private and professional dialogs. In other words, homeschooled children do not expand their zone of comfort to the same extent as their school educated peers do. Thus, they do not obtain necessary social practicing.
Emphasizing the shortcomings of home education, a professor of the Practice, Management Science, and Engineering from Stanford University, Tina Seelig, reveals in her book What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 that working in team is one of the significant skills in receiving academic education. The fact is that when students are in a team, they can learn together naturally. Community services, field trips and sport evens are the means to have more social interactions. These activities help in building a person’s self-esteem in accordance with self-observation and the peers’ assessment. As a result, the diversity of social activities positively correlates with a greater life success.
Besides, peer review is a method of identifying students’ academic performance. Specifically, providing in-depth feedback for peers helps in developing critical thinking, and improving other academic skills. In addition, providing written and oral feedback is the possibility to teach the youth how to express their critics and ideas in a socially acceptable manner. In other words, in this way, students advance their communicative skills. Given the above-mentioned arguments, it is natural to agree that here are some advantages and benefits, which only can be enjoyed while attending school. Therefore, home educated children are deprived of such advantages. Nevertheless, as was described above, the absence of school life is not reflected in students’ academic performance, emotional development, and respectfully, life success.
In conclusion, one should stress that even though homeschooling is not a newly appeared educational tendency, it gains popularity in the modern world. The fact that home education is praised by numerous scholars, as well as by common people is predefined by significant advantages of homeschooling. In particular, the needs and propensities of the youth is better studied and met due to the fact that parents know their children well and care to develop their abilities. Besides, at home, the role models of young people are capable of instilling the principles of morals and, in many cases, religious beliefs that are important for a family. It means that home education ensures better developed tolerance and emotional intelligence in addition to advanced mental capacity of a home educated student. Partly, it occurs due to the fact that inside their families, children are protected from harmful influences of peers, which allows achieving greater academic success. Moreover, homeschooling is much cheaper to maintain both state and family levels. Furthermore, home education is connected with better time management as it releases the time for school-related activities (such as a walk home, communication with teachers, etc.). Considering these arguments, homeschooling can be rightfully considered as more advantageous than obtaining a degree in an educational establishment. Despite the fact that many people are adverse of this kind of education, it is more likely to continue expanding.