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Homeschooling: Harmful or Helpful?

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Homeschooling: Harmful or helpful?

Homeschooling is the education of children at home, typically by parents rather than in a public/private school setting. Unbeknownst to some, Homeschooling has been around for hundreds of years. It was the primary source of education before the 19th century and is becoming one of the fastest rising segments of K-12 education today. In many places, homeschooling is another option for parents who yearn to offer their children a different learning environment than public or private schools. Homeschooling can offer a more specialized education along with better opportunities for children that are better suited for an individual situation. The progress and achievement of the homeschooling movement validates that something is working.

Many parents, teachers, schools, and political figures are highly against Homeschooling. This is a very controversial subject that has everyone talking. Does it work? Is it hurting our children or helping them? Answers to these questions can be identified by stating facts and statistics that will open your eyes to the world of homeschooling. Families are different now than they were hundreds of years ago. Education is becoming more important especially if you want a good job later in life that you can retire from. More and more people are graduating and attending college. Who ever thought there would be numerous types of teaching to pick from? Is it actually a parent's right to choose what type of education their child gets?

It's discouraging that we have a problem with picking which way to educate our children when there are parts of countries that are not able to provide any type of education at all. In the book, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, it describes a very poor part of Pakistan where there are no supplies, no books, and no school for children to learn from. We should embrace the fact that we have numerous ways of choosing how we would like to be educated. Public Schooling, private schooling, catholic schooling, online schooling, and homeschooling are just a few. If a person can teach themselves online as an adult, how come an adult/parent cannot teach their child at home themselves? It seems a little contradictory to me. From the moment a child is born, the parents are there to teach them. They teach them to walk, talk, go to the bathroom, dress themselves, and so on. The morals and values learned in life are taught to you by your parents. Why would it be different with teaching them any other subject? Is it because it is different than what everyone else is doing? Isn't one of the things we teach our children is to do what we feel is right, not just go along with crowd? If a parent gets to make every other decision about what is best for their child, than they deserve to make the decision about what type of education they receive too.

According to Patricia Lines, Homeschooling had more than doubled in the five years between 1991 and 1996. It represents more than ten to twenty percent of the privately schooled population and is growing at a rapid rate (1). Although, it is thought that homeschooled children do not learn as well as public/private taught students, the statistics show something different. Homeschooling Statistics voices that almost seventy- four percent of homeschooled children have gone to college compared to the forty- four percent of the general population (1). This is a big ratio that brings instant attention to itself. It seems that not only are homeschooled children being taught well, they are attending college. Why not stop to think about the possible reasoning's behind that? Could it be that the individual teaching and extra flexibility a child has makes a difference? Or could it be that getting an education without distractions helps children to better focus on their work? It could be both. Also, there are approximately two million homeschooled children in the US (1). Most of them are K-12. Homeschooling parents are an assortment of families and income quantities. (1). It includes a variety of people from all walks o of life. Every race, every religion, every age, and every state has homeschooled children. There isn't any one particular factor that is setting it apart from other ways of teaching. The only difference is that it isn't taught in a classroom setting with at twenty other kids in each class.

According to the article The Harms of Homeschooling? Where are the premises?, Brian Ray gives us the context about repeated studies that have been conducted that show that homeschooled students are consistent in scoring higher than the public school average on standardized academic achievement tests. In fact, up until now there is nothing on record that shows homeschooled students are doing any worse than the children in the school system (1). All fingers point to homeschooling being just as effective as public/private school teaching. This research is hard to argue with.

Although this type of schooling is becoming more and more acceptable, there are still a lot of misunderstandings about it. Just like in Greg Morteneson's students in Three Cups of Tea, homeschoolers need to fight for their education. Education, no matter how it is received, is of huge importance. The students that Greg Mortenson helped didn't have a place of their own where they could learn. Greg took it upon himself to fight for them. He raised the money to build them a school. Homeschoolers just want to have their own place to learn also. It would be much simpler if this idea had more acceptances. Is there even a way to look past the negative and focus on the positive?

There are many pros and cons when it comes to this subject. Let's start with the proposed cons. Children who are homeschooled will not be able to be a part of a school sports team (although it seems this may be changing soon). This will not help in providing them with the understanding of team spirit or good sportsmanship. There will also be some social pressure that homeschooled children could feel due to being separate from other kids. Unfortunately, kids are mean and even more so when it comes to things that they don't comprehend well. A homeschooled student is considered a negative thing to a lot of people that don't understand it. Along the same lines of being on a sports team, it can be detrimental to a child who does not get the chance to develop a competitive trait. Competing with other kids to get on a team, to do better on a test, or even simple fashion statements is an important part of growing up. It teaches rejection, and how to handle it. It also allows them to acquire the strength to face challenges and fight battles on their own. Of course, with that being said, that is where peer pressure and



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