Opposition to Homeschooling

Even after all questions have been answered, some people remain opposed to homeschooling.  Following are some of the reasons I have heard given:

Children belong in school
This is a statement of opinion.  It is not a fact.  Why do children belong in school?  What are the specific goals in sending children to school?  Is a classroom the best place to accomplish those goals?  Some people hold the opinion that children belong in school, but that does not make it true that children belong in school.

People who homeschool think they are better than everyone else
This, too, is a statement of opinion.  Stating an opinion does not provide compelling evidence that the opinion held is a fact.

What if a baseball player were to express the opinion, “Basketball players think they are better than everyone else”?  So what?  Who cares what they think?  First, it is unlikely that the majority of basketball players think they are better than everyone else (although there could be the occasional arrogant basketball player), so this is probably a misguided opinion.  Second, what they think has little, if any, bearing on whether they actually are better than others.  Finally, even if it were true that some basketball players think that they are better than others, it doesn’t provide evidence against basketball nor in favor of baseball; it just speaks about a minority of players’ arrogance.

Back to homeschooling.  This particular opinion might be true in some cases, but it is not universally true.  Even if it were true, it would not be an argument against homeschooling. 

That said, homeschoolers should be careful of the attitude that they convey.  Homeschoolers are not better than others.  Children who attend public school are not inferior people.  Parents who choose a different educational method are not automatically uncaring because of that choice.  They simply have made a different choice.

Studies show that the average homeschooled student scores 20-30 points higher on standardized tests than the average public school student.  Some believe the disparity in scores indicates that a home based education is superior to a public education.  In reality, all it indicates is average test-taking ability.  However, our society has placed great importance on test scores, so it is unwise to completely ignore them.

People who homeschool are hurting the public schools
It is the dedicated, involved parents who withdraw their children from public schools, leaving fewer parents who will help.  If those parents would remain in the school system, then they could make the public schools better.

When this argument is applied to other situations, it falls apart.  For example, many parents volunteer in their children’s schools because they want their children to have a good education, and they do not continue to volunteer after their children have graduated.  They are not accused of hurting the schools by not volunteering once their children no longer are affected by the system.  Other dedicated parent-volunteers move out of the district.  They are not accused of hurting the school by no longer participating in it.  Remember that their motives are not altruistic.  They invest their time in the school because it is the best way they know to give their kids a better education.

A case can certainly be made that students need their parents to be involved, but it does not hurt schools for parents to be involved only in their own children’s education.  Johnny’s parents should be involved in Johnny’s education, and it is benevolent of them to assist with other children, too.  They are not to be faulted if they decline to assist with other children or expect Jimmy’s parents to take responsibility for Jimmy’s education.

Homeschool parents choose a different method of improving their kids’ education than getting involved in the local school.  They do the teaching themselves.  That does not preclude them from volunteering in the public schools.  Many communities do have homeschool parents who volunteer in the schools and serve on the school board.  People who want to work to make the public schools better can do so whether or not they have children in the system.

Homeschoolers are withdrawing their kids from society
Homeschoolers make a choice to educate their children by tutoring them one-on-one.  They do not lock themselves in the house and refuse to participate in society.  Homeschoolers do volunteer work in hospitals and nursing homes, they take music lessons, play on sports teams, participate in 4H and scouts, and are statistically much more involved in their communities than public school students.

Kids who are homeschooled don’t learn how to work in large groups
Kids who are homeschooled learn how to work in whatever context gets the job done.  Why would a kid need to work in large groups to learn the multiplication tables?  The only large-group things I can think of outside the classroom setting are choirs, bands, orchestras, and sports.  Homeschoolers participate in those activities if their interests are in those areas.  In the Real World, people only work in large groups when it is appropriate to do so.  Homeschoolers learn how to work independently instead of waiting for a group to tell them what to do; many colleges and employers actively seek homeschoolers due to their inclination to be self-starters instead of waiting to hear what the group is doing.

Socialization
This has been proven to be a non-issue.  More here

Sports
This has been proven to be a non-issue.  More here… 

What about college?
This, too, is a non-issue.  More here and here

Academics
We send kids to school for an education, yet objections to homeschooling tend to be about non-academic issues.  A few object on academic grounds, though.

Some people fear that homeschooled kids won’t learn the things that they need to.  That is a possibility, and one that homeschool parents need to address.  Every family that claims to homeschool, but in reality is truant, reflects badly on homeschoolers.  Every homeschooled child who tests two-three years below grade level reflects badly on homeschoolers.  People have a responsibility to provide their children with an education – either through the public school system, through private schools, or by home tutoring.  Academic knowledge is not a problem for students whose parents take their responsibility seriously.

Recently I read comments from a person who objects to homeschooling because some people choose to teach about many scientific theories instead of limiting themselves only to the theory in which he believes.  How narrow-minded!  During the course of our homeschooling, we will learn over sixty subjects.  There is no rational reason to oppose homeschooling based on the content of a few weeks of one subject.

2 thoughts on “Opposition to Homeschooling

  1. Gina

    I think homeschooling is a great option for those who have that option; not everyone does. Homeschooling would not be practical if you’re a single parent. I also think that despite a poor performing public school, a child can receive an excellent education through parental involvement and after school education supplementation. The opinion about the “I’m better than you” attitude? Well, as an outsider who knows a whole lot of homeschoolers l’d say that’s a hit and miss. For an example, one of my friends is always telling me how smart, respectful and polite my son is and he’s public schooled. Her children are homeschooled. She talks about the positives and also her challenges. She doesn’t strike me as having that attitude at all. Only once I perceived it that way when a comment was made about she didn’t want other people influencing her children and thought that public school kids were being raised by other people. This was early on, right before she started homeschoolingThe neighbor is another story. She talks about always having the advantage and how perfect her kids are and that nothing is ever wrong or a challenge. She downs all other education and even acts like she downs parents who work and are not home to tend to their kids. Now, that’s arrogance for you. Would I consider homeschooling if I had the opportunity? Maybe, not I know that it will never be an option for me as a single parent, but I am very much involved in my son’s learning and after school, I am the direct influence in his life. I was a poor public school kid and have never had issues in school. I have an above average IQ and earned my master’s degree cum sum laude. I can also build and fix anything, so I don’t think my parents did a bad job at all and it proves that regardless of the method of education, you can succeed. I think success has more to do with upbringing, encouragement and influence, rather than status, or, public vs homeschooling.

    Reply
    1. WarmSocks Post author

      You are absolutely correct in saying that parenting plays a huge part in the outcome. Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder, as schools implement common core, for kids to do well. I don’t really want to get into a discussion of CC, but doubt that it will yield well-educated citizens.

      As for hsing not being an option because you’re a single parent, that’s not necessarily true. I know a widower who continued to homeschool his daughter after his wife passed away. He checked his daughter’s schoolwork in the evenings and provided the next day’s assignments. The daughter was in middle school and was mature enough to be home alone while dad was at work, so was a good solution for them. I know a divorced father who pulled his 6th grader out of public school to homeschool. The dad’s work situation made it easy for the child to accompany him to work and get his schoolwork done at dad’s workplace. Years ago, I watched three children during the day for a single parent. To comply with the state law that says only the parent can do the homeschooling, we made explicit that the parent was in charge of assigning schoolwork, and I was just answering questions to help out (as I would if the kids came to my house after getting off a school bus). Single parents who really want to homeschool their kids can find solutions

      If public school is working for your family, great. If it’s not and you want to try homeschooling, there’s probably a way to make it happen. Best of luck, whatever you choose.

      Reply

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