This was a question I was asked during one of my homeschooling seminars. I answered “no”. And even now, after having given it a lot more thought, I still will answer, “no”.
I think that homeschooling can save one family’s educational or family crisis. But our society as a whole, no way.
Homeschooling, first of all, is a family-oriented form of education, not a national one. So in order for homeschooling to fly on a national level, being practiced by the majority of the population, there would have to be a huge shift in cultural perspective. In other words, culture is what influences how many homeschoolers there are, not the other way around.
Also, I don’t think that homeschooling, by itself, will be an impetus for any particular change in our public education system. It might create more opportunities and allow for individual families to have a larger range of choices, but it won’t directly influence how standard public schools conduct themselves.
Lastly, homeschooling has been tied into the political agenda of a very small portion of our society. Evangelizing homeschooling, for some, is a way to solidify their politicalti, both in their community and with their children. While this is not a huge portion of the homeschooling population (there are no exact numbers of course, but my impression of the community, from within the community, it does not seem like a large number of people who are pushing for this), it is a boisterous population, giving a false-positive impression that homeschooling is tied into this particular political movement. While that exists, the only way homeschooling would change the face of our country’s educational system is if this particular political movement comes to control our government schools.
Public schools and homeschooling have little influence on each other in a general sense. Public schools might create more homeschoolers by essentially pushing kids and families away, and homeschoolers might be tempted to enroll in public school to have access to things that public schools don’t want to give out to non-members, but as for effecting each other’s educational quality – they have absolutely no effect on each other.
There is, however, a growing grey area where more and more “in between” options are offered, such as charter schools, ISPs, etc. Although these options might be good for individual families to be able to save their own educational issues, they aren’t going to save our country’s educational system.
I believe that the public school system could use a good jerk in the direction of how charter schools are offering more flexibility and adaptation for individual students. But until our culture actually values these things in schools, and until we get people into educational power that have a completely different goal in educating our kids, public schools won’t change much.
Homeschooling won’t save our educational crisis. Only a cultural shift in how we perceive education will do that. Homeschooling is an individual family’s solution, not a societal one.
What are your thoughts?