By Moral Shock
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 3 percent of children were home schooled in the 2011-2012 school year. “Among children who were home schooled, a higher percentage were White (68 percent) than Black (8 percent), Hispanic (15 percent), or Asian or Pacific Islander (4 percent).” (Homeschooling.) My theory on these numbers, is that many Hispanics, Blacks, Asians or Pacific Islanders have a higher rate of poverty than Whites. Many of these ethnic parents, spend more time working than at home, thus making it impossible to home school their children. Compared to White home schooled children who have better access and amassed centralized attention from their parents.
Home schooling should be an alternative available to all students regardless of race or socioeconomic status. With the technology that we have today, home schooling has already become an alternative to traditional brick and mortar schools. Home schooling is helpful for many students who live in the outskirts of towns, where his or her access to education is more than an hour drive away. Technology has enabled teachers to reach out to students through online classes, (which is arguably the future of education) paving an easier path to knowledge. Many schools such as Nevada Virtual Academy already offer online classes, which give the same benefit as being home schooled.
One advantage of home schooling is that some students are able to graduate earlier and head straight to college with high scores on their SAT tests. Since some students are able to learn various subjects at a faster pace, their curriculum is customized to their learning style and speed. Their parents are able to push them along the curriculum more quickly than if they were in a classroom with a teacher struggling with thirty students. Section 488 of the Higher Education Act of 1998 has made this possible, and it states “The student has completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law.’’ Changes to the Higher Education Act in 1998 made it easier for home schooled teens to enter college, yet the guidelines issued by the federal government made it unclear to universities how their eligibility to receive federal funds would be affected by admitting home schooled teens. Therefore, few colleges updated their admissions policies because of the ambiguity (College Admissions for Homeschoolers).
There are students that can benefit from the privacy of learning at home, especially students with disabilities, who require accommodations and modifications for their learning. A child with a learning disability can often be overlooked in a classroom. Even if the child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) it may or may not be followed throughout the child’s day. The students who need the most help with learning are often put in the smallest classrooms so that the teacher can give the student the attention he/she needs to learn. Obviously, if schools place students who have a hard time learning in smaller classrooms then it should make sense that students would learn even more given one-on-one individualized instruction, which can be provided in a home school environment.
Another reason to consider home schooling is when the child’s sexual orientation may affect his self-esteem and/or social status in a traditional school setting. LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual and Transgender) students have an increased risk for suicidal behaviors. With nearly 16 percent of students, seriously considering suicide, 7.8 percent have attempted suicide more than once in the past year (How You Can Play a Role in Preventing Suicide). This shows that home schooling can be a safe alternative for LGBT children, and sometimes what better place to learn than the safest place, home. Home schooling in addition to providing a supportive group of peers can help a developing LGBT child see hope in the outside world that he or she may not have otherwise.
Parents have the potential to provide a higher quality learning environment than what the state can provide. Children who come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds have the freedom to learn from home, while enjoying the luxuries that the average child does not even consider. Additionally, home schooling allows parents to impose their spiritual or religious beliefs on their children, without outside opinions intruding on them. There may not be a school within reasonable distance for this education and these parents want to provide the secular education, while still delivering the academic subjects. An access to a religious education, can help students have stronger academics when the parents are spending higher quality family time. Many times, this can provide stability while receiving one-on-one quality attention.
There are parents who would disagree with the idea of home schooling and are concerned that home schooling creates a child who may be antisocial. There are also concerns that home schooling is a way for parents to deny their children an education, or that it can be used as a cover for abuse and/or neglect. Of course there are merits to these concerns, but there are many home schooled children whose parents seek out social activities for them who do not suffer from social deficits. Whereas, there are many examples of children who go to traditional schools that come out still lacking social skills. While it is certainly concerning that a child may be abused or neglected it is doubtful that a child predator would simply not abuse a child because he or she goes to a traditional school.
The ultimate determination of the effectiveness of home schooling relies on the parent’s education. This is due to the fact that the education that the student learns is mostly from his or her parents. Parents without an education, should never seek home school as an option. An uneducated parent delivering a home school curriculum can be a potential burden to the child, as they will have a more difficult time learning than if they were sent to a public school. Educated parents make the best teachers, just as educated parents have better jobs than non-educated parents. We must consider the education of our children an important one, we simply should not home school children as way to make one’s life convenient. But, it is a viable alternative when there is an educated parent who can stay home and provide a customized learning experience for his/her child or children.
n.p. “Homeschooling.” nces.ed.gov, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 2 Nov 2014
n.p. “How You Can Play a Role in Preventing Suicide” http://www.surgeongeneral.gov, 2012. Web. 2 Nov 2014
n.p. “College Admissions for Homeschoolers.” http://www.homeschool.com, May, 2005 Web. 2 Nov 2014.
n.p. “The Negative Effects and Aspects of Homeschooling.”
http://www.middleschool.net, Web. 2 Nov 2014.
Penelope, Trunk. 3 Reasons to homeschool your gay child” Penelopetrunk.com, 2 May. 2013. Web. 2 Nov 2014.