I think I may have some answers as to why homeschooling is on the rise. These reasons are completely non-scientific and haven’t been tested, but they’re definitely reasons why our family has chosen to homeschool our six youngsters.
Less Chaos & Expense
When we looked into the future with the ages of our kids, we knew there was going to be an element of chaos. All six kids would be in 3-4 different schools all at the same time. We added up school supply expenses per kid, and you know what was the breaking point? Buying 6 packs of markers, when 1 pack of markers could be shared among the kids at home. Yup. Markers. A $3.47 box of markers had turned into a $20.82 expense. And that was just the markers, not to mention backpacks, cases, binders, paper, graphing calculators, etc.
Then there was the travel element. There is a school bus system in place where we live out in the country, but in these times, I’m not letting my children stand out in the freezing cold a half mile down the road to stand there, waiting for someone to pick them up when I know at any moment they could get abducted by a stranger driving by. I suppose there’s the argument that I could sit there with the car running with them, but let’s face it. Vehicles sitting on the side of the road are targets, as well. People stopping to ask if you’re okay or if you need roadside assistance, people needlessly calling the sheriff to address a car in distress (since they don’t know you’re just sitting there waiting for the bus) and basic accidents – too many people texting and not seeing cars on the side of the road. You’re likely to get hit.
If we chose to drive our kids to school, I’d have to drop all them all off at 3 different schools at different times. That’s a 20 minute drive into town, and an additional 10-15 minutes per kid at each drop-off, since they now require you to go through some funnel of cones to drop your kid off at the door. We’d spend an hour and a half just doing this for all the kids, and that’s just in the morning. We’d have to do it all over again in the afternoon. No thanks. Then there’s the gas money. Think of all the gas that is being used to cart kids just to school. Pass.
The Authentic, Well-Educated, Passionate Teacher is Gone (Or Diminishing)
I can speak from experience – my mother had her master’s degree in elementary education and taught for over 35 years. She was national teacher of the year one year back in the 90’s. In high school, I helped her with her lesson plans as part of my own education (out-of-school applied learning program). I saw the attitudes of other teachers, heard the gossip, how they talked about children, their parents, listened to how they talked to each other and about the school system, and what was consistently broken about it.
I have a confession and observation for you. My mother was an extremely talented, passionate teacher who elevated her students. But she was a horrible person on the inside and a terrible, judgmental and passive-aggressive mother behind the scenes.
These days, after getting a more current inside view of the teacher/district system, are far worse. There’s bullying, politics, disagreements about education methods and gifted kids are misunderstood in their demonstration of boredom for ADHD.
Teachers, from what I’ve seen and experienced in the past few years, aren’t as passionate about the career choice they’ve selected. Few have master’s degrees. Many choose not to pursue additional training or research other methods of training. Many made the choice for the summers off and seemingly easy job. They view it as a glorified babysitting position with union benefits. The effects of “it’s just a job” mentality have rubbed off on our kids in general in a negative way.
I can see their own inadequacies to take on the role of a teacher in a basic email or Facebook post. “I am your students new Kindergarten teacher.” Possessive punctuation was taught in grade school. This was the first sentence in the first email I had received from a homeschool online teacher. Let’s just say it didn’t foster confidence in her abilities.
What I saw happening to the public and private school systems from a teacher perspective led us to have the difficult conversation of having me take on our children’s education. I know not every parent out there is in a place to homeschool their kids or would even want to take that on. But if you’re in a position to, and deeply care about how your children see and experience the world and how they go about learning skills, then I highly recommend homeschooling.
Schools are No Longer Safe Places for Learning
Schools are built for a sole purpose. Learning. Education. Schools are not intended for social accolades or establishing friends and networks. They’re built for the purpose of educating and providing skills. Gaining social skills is just one little aspect of a school. Unfortunately, we’ve become a society that has put more focus on society within school instead of education. For that reason, as well, we kept our kids at home to educate them.
We decided that our kids could establish friends outside of school, through martial arts, sports, church and other arts programs. They didn’t need the stresses of between-class bullying, lunchtime drama, or unsupervised recesses.
We’ve seen an increase of incidents of inappropriate sexual contact with children, including molestation, intercourse, child pornography, and favoritism within the school systems. Our family wanted no part of that – and were not willing to take the risk of putting our children into the hands of strangers.
At home, school is just a basic part of our day. We sit down at the table and I’m able to sit with each of my children 1:1 to help them with their learning. I can see firsthand what they’re struggling with and what content they’re learning about. They look forward to school – there’s no stress, and I know they’re safe.
I realize that this post is full of opinion and has our own observations and perceptions. Perhaps you agree with some or all of what I’ve expressed, and perhaps you disagree. That’s totally up to you. I know there are good, ethical and passionate teachers still out there. But scoring the same quality of teacher year after year is most likely an anomaly. There was once a time where we could say that could happen; it’s just not so anymore.