After deciding to homeschool, many parents face opposition from various fronts about their decision. Whether its friends, family, or school officials, many well meaning individuals seek to change the minds of parents who have been convicted that the best decision for their family is one that lies outside the norm. Some of the arguments homeschool parents endure are:
You can’t properly educate your child at home
This argument results from a long-standing belief, by those who have grown up “in the system”, that typical schooling by “qualified professionals” is best because “that’s just the way it’s always been done”. In a nation where our students’ achievement ranking has continued to decline internationally alternatives to the current failing system, especially alternatives that are proven to outperform the norm, should be embraced. And according to HSLDA reports, when compared to grade level public and private schooled peers, home schooled students consistently outscore their peers in every main subject.
Children need structure in order to be productive adults
A typical brick and mortar school is very good at providing structure. Showing up on time, completing a task on time, accepting and adapting to rules are all taught and enforced at every age level in public and private school settings. This is a good thing. It is also not unique to those school settings. These lessons are able to be transferred into the homeschool setting with ease, as well.
Children need to learn how to fit in: The dreaded “socialization” argument
In most conversations about homeschooling, especially with those who have never experienced homeschooling directly, the socialization argument inevitably rears its head. The answer to this is multi-faceted. First, the issue of “fitting-in”; Mainstream school settings unarguably offer large quantities of time where children are exposed to other same-age children and given the opportunity to learn to behave within the standards of the culture, or “fit in”. In light of the fact that the last time most individuals were in one setting with 30 or so same-age peers was when they were in school, this is a false knowledge of “fitting in”. Exposure to older and younger children, as well as adults of all ages, and learning appropriate interactions in real-life situations, like homeschooled children are more frequently exposed to, is a much more appropriate education in fitting into society.
The second facet of this argument is that most homeschool parents would respond they don’t want their children socialized into the culture offered in typical school settings. In our culture as a whole, children are exposed to so much more than they ever have been in the past, and they carry this with them into the school setting, along with the beliefs and ideas they have been taught - or NOT taught – at home. Rather than have their children swept into this mass, homeschool parents prefer the opportunity to influence and guide their children’s social encounters. There are so many opportunities within the community for this to occur, that homeschool families usually find themselves having to schedule time for school around their social opportunities.