Can Homeschooling Save Our Educational Crisis?

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?


2 Responses to “Can Homeschooling Save Our Educational Crisis?”

  1. Laura in CA :) Says:

    I agree with you.

    What I wonder is if all of our homeschoolers will have an effect down the line? Future mayors, school board members, councilmembers, etc., are in our homes right now! 🙂 Heck, we all have future voters! 🙂

    Just today I was thinking about public school as a cult. I was trying to come up with similarities…I kept getting interrupted and haven’t quite fleshed it all out. What I’ve got so far is the general belief that public schools are the ‘right’ way to learn and any challenge (by alternative learning) is suspect, just like a religious cult believes they have the _only_ way to their god. I’ve got members of this ‘cult’ in my family and they definitely show signs of blind belief. 😉

    And all that ties into your point in this way…homeschooling may not (yet) be srong enough to change the mind of such a large ‘cult’ where there are members in all levels of society. But who knows what will happen generations from now when homeschoolers _will_ be in all levels of society in much larger numbers than today.

    Kinda exciting to think about, huh?? 🙂

  2. Mark Weiss Says:

    I don’t agree with you. Our entire system is based on a free enterprise model where we vote with our feet and our dollars. Since education is a monopoly, it is one of the institutions that does not “benefit” from market forces and hence is stagnant. No different that the Soviet Union of my youth. Home schooling in most states today is the ONLY free market force available where people can vote with their feet tell the establishment that you don’t buy in and therefore your tax dollars assigned for you child will NOT go to them.

    Remember the difference between chess and checkers. In one game you need to take all the other guys pieces, in the other, only a few strategic moves and you have checkmate. To me, home schooling and making this option easy enough for more to do it, is the ONLY way we currently have to change our system.

    So, love ya’ but have to disagree.

    Mark Weiss

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