Consider me the bearer of bad news, because I have to tell you something that you may not want to hear: there is something seriously wrong with the public schools.
But this is old news.
The bad news is that we can no longer pretend our children will get an education in them. The public schools are no longer a viable option for us.
Forget statistics; look around you!
In spite of our political history with both Iraq and Iran, most people don’t know the difference between the two countries. Just ask President Bush.
And while that’s bad, most people can't map out the 50 states from memory or know what capital goes where; nor do they know the continents, oceans, or significant mountain ranges in the world either.
“Well, so what”?” you might ask.
So I’ll continue: our children don’t love reading, and, therefore, never learn to conquer a difficult book or read books of substance; books that will broaden their minds, enlighten their understanding and bring some perspective on matters of real importance like life and death.
Books that just might breed some tolerance for other people’s ways.
We don’t know our nation’s history well, let alone world history. Why did the Continental Congress choose to ignore the slavery issue?
Most Americans no longer learn a foreign language including Latin which is responsible for 50% of words in the English language, and, therefore, foundational to understanding English well.
Why isn't it taught anymore?
Our minds are lazy, untrained, and steeped in triviality as the social media statistics prove.
And what about common decency? Schools used to reinforce the moral teachings of our ancestors, but in 1962 all that went out the window with the loss of prayer in the schools.
And with that went objective morality.
If you have no objective morality, then anything goes. And anything sure goes these days. And this has led to the most recent problem of gender debate with even young children now having “gender-identity” issues.
Or so their parents think.
Fifty years ago a child had never heard the word “gender.” You were either a boy or a girl; no further confusion required.
Messing with our children by confusing them about things they’re too young to understand the implications of, and then not teaching them the things that they should learn such as how to really read a book, is nothing short of gross negligence.
Is this our idea of improvement?!
Shame on us.
A democracy predicates an educated populace. A civilization predicates a civilized populace. For either to survive, we need to civilize and educate our children.
Assuming Responsibility for Your Child’s Education
Parent’s, until the 19th century, have always assumed the responsibility for their children’s education. If you think about it, why should the government be responsible for educating our children?
Why would we want it to be?
Why should we hand-over the responsibility for and the care of such a life-altering process as the training of our children’s minds to our government?!
We shouldn’t as too many great minds have already documented for us.
The good news is that many parents (to the tune of 2.3 million of their children and growing fast–no small number!) are deciding not to hand their children over anymore.
Enter the homeschooling movement and its 2.3 million students plus their parents and tutors.
Homeschooled students are getting an education that significantly outweighs their public-school peers.
And your children can too.
Homeschooling is a private education at home without the costs.
One parent usually has to give up his or her job to teach the children, so there is the downside that there can be a loss of one income.
You might even ask, “Can we afford to homeschool?”
Can you afford not to?!
Plenty of not-so-wealthy parents have given up one income, and I’ve yet to meet a parent who regretted sacrificing some luxuries to give his or her children a better start in life.
With good budgeting, it can work.
Homeschooling adds priceless value to the quality of your family too. Just to put things in perspective, wouldn't you agree that a closely-knit family is worth more than upsizing to a bigger home?
Visit any rest home and interview its residents. Ask them what choices they’d make if they could do it all over again.
Putting food on the table is a different matter. Some homeschooling moms work from home, as I did. You can also get paid for teaching other people’s children while homeschooling yours at the same time which has the added benefit of built-in friendships for your children.
More Common Objections to Homeschooling
Many parents say they wish they could homeschool, but they don’t feel they are qualified to teach their own.
Homeschooling itself is not difficult, and I say this in all honesty. You’ve always been teaching your children from the day your children were born.
Think of homeschooling as an extension of an already existing role. You are the most qualified person to teach your children because you love them the most, and you care most about their success.
Whether or not you have a college degree has nothing to do with your ability to homeschool either as studies have proven.
Any of my public-school teacher friends will tell you the skill they learned in college was how to manage a classroom. That’s a far cry from the art of teaching.
And what about the negative socialization issue?
Parents worry about their children not being socialized, but the truth is that the school environment today leaves a lot to be desired.
I’d rather my (hypothetical) ten-year-old not be taught sex-education in school, I’d rather my ten-year-old not decide that learning is boring and dumb, and I’d rather my ten-year-old didn’t know what drugs were, either, like I didn't know when I was a ten-year-old child.
With violence occurring every day in schools now, I’d be concerned with protecting my ten-year-old from the increasing bullying amongst the young and protecting him from potential violence too.
Learning about sex, drugs, and violence will come with time. A child who learns about them later will not be at any disadvantage in life, but learning about them too soon can affect their character development and mental health which does put them at risk for being at a significant disadvantage in life.
Besides, homeschooled children have plenty of social time and not just in isolated groups with children their own age.
On the contrary, they learn how to socialize with people of all ages which proves for better socialization skills.
Another thing that worries a lot of mothers is the anticipated loss of free-time.
But with proper planning, you’ll find you do have time to yourself. Your life is simplified in many ways, too, because you are no longer struggling to get children to and from school, and you are no longer the late-evening and weekend—when you are completely exhausted—teacher of homework.
(NB: You’re already homeschooling if you’re helping your children with their homework.)
Homeschooling in the traditional sense is a fantastic lifestyle with no stretch of the imagination. You are your own boss, not the state. You decide what your children learn and don’t learn, not the state. You take outings and vacations when you choose, and you take days off when you need to.
You can make sure your children know grammar ( the foundation of literacy) and everything else they need to know to become an educated citizen and person of good character.
In other words, you can really educate them, and you can do it in style.
One final concern that comes up a lot is that extended family and friends may not be keen on your homeschooling bravery.
If they aren’t, you can download my 10 Facts About Homeschoolers That Will Silence Any Naysayer to refute their arguments.
And don’t worry about their objections. If you homeschool following certain principles, then later they’ll acknowledge your wise decision. They may not say it directly, but eventually, they’ll stop making unwanted comments, and when they do, you’ll know what it means.
Please indulge me, parent, while I repeat myself one last time:
Homeschooling is your best option today, and a great option it is.
Elizabeth Y. Hanson teaches parents how to give their children a private-school education at home.