Educational issues abound in conversations, newspapers, and the minds of parents. Does anyone like No Child Left Behind? How can we keep and attract quality teachers? How can we equalize educational opportunities for children, regardless of race, color, and creed? Why do many think the public education system is a failure? These serious issues helped me make a decision that is, perhaps, another major issue in education today.
I homeschool my children and have done so since they were born. With the exception of my daughter’s two-month experiment with the local grammar school because she wanted to “know what school’s like,” they haven’t spent any time in public schools. I homeschool my kids because of No Child Left Behind. My kids get to explore many topics in depth and they don’t have to worry about taking a lot of tests. I homeschool because, while there may be good teachers in the local school, how do I guarantee that my children will get that teacher? At home, they get me, and I am a known quantity. The myriad problems and issues of today’s educational system guided me into the homeschooling decision. These issues have guided and continue to guide other families into making the same decision.
More homeschooling families must have some meaning, and create other issues, for society. Perhaps, some of these issues are as follows.
The market for curricula should increase. Homeschooling families choose, or design, their own curricula. Do you want a religious based curriculum or not? Do you like unit studies? Do you want an online-based curriculum for your children, or do you want to stick to paper and pencil?
Fewer children will be problem teens. Yes, some people think all teens are problems, but if you’ve ever been around a number of homeschooled teens, you can easily change that mindset. These are kids that still actually talk to their parents. These are kids that do stuff for themselves, and their families, that has real value and meaning, so they don’t need to seek meaning as much elsewhere.
Status symbols will hold less value. The majority of homeschooled families don’t have significant quantities of disposable income, so their kids don’t get designer jeans. There’s also a tendency in homeschooled families to be environmental and shop at thrift stores. My kids, and the other kids I’ve seen, don’t seem to have a desire for status symbols as much as the kids in school have. For instance, my daughter thought silly bands (plastic, shaped wrist bands) were kind of cool, but she didn’t profess a desire for them. She didn’t save her allowance for them. None of her friends had them, so why would she need them?
Public schools will get less money. Schools get their funding based on the number of children enrolled in classes and attendance. If the percentage of homeschooled children increases significantly, schools will notice a difference in their monetary resources.
Fewer people will go to college. Homeschooled kids learn how to think for themselves. They learn, well, they learn how to learn. They learn how to teach themselves. Traditionally, you learn basics like reading, writing, and arithmetic in school and you go to college to learn how to think. Homeschooled kids are learning how to think for themselves at a younger age. As a result, a college education won’t be as necessary.