Within the United States, there has been a growth in homeschooling over the past few years. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschooling has gone from 5.4% to 11% of the population. In other words, the number of students studying at home has doubled.
It is not clear if this growth will continue or due to temporary problems. The purpose here is to explore several reasons parents are turning to homeschooling, given the challenges of teaching children.
Health and Lockdowns
For several years now, schools have essentially been out of business. Due to lockdowns and social distancing, it has not been possible in many places to even send one’s kids to school. Keeping a child at home temporarily can probably be worked out by many parents. However, when it is not clear when schools will reopen and or when schools open and then close and open again due to outbreaks and staffing shortages, it can become too unpredictable to consider being flexible.
Such a situation has encouraged parents to keep their kids at home due to the instability of schools at the moment. There are no lockdowns or other health restrictions to impede the learning experience with homeschooling. Children often need consistency to learn, and for many, homeschooling provides a consistency that was unavailable for several years from public schools. Whether this continues or not remains to be seen.
Concerns with Values
Recently, there has been a large amount of dissatisfaction with the decisions school leaders have made regarding health, curriculum, race, and matters related to sexuality in schools. In several counties in various states, parents have been challenging these decisions made by school boards that affect their children. The fighting has been so bitter that parents have been arrested, school board members threatened, and there was even a call for parents to be labeled terrorists. Such accusations are unfortunate, but they also make it difficult to learn.
In response to this administrative chaos and a disagreement with the values schools are supporting now, parents are turning to homeschooling. By homeschooling, the parent becomes the leader of the child’s learning and no longer needs to fight with teachers and administrators about what is happening in the classroom. By keeping children at home, parents can be sure that the values they support, rather than the school’s values, are passed on to the children.
Unfortunately, schooling has come to this. However, the alternatives for many parents involve fighting with educational leaders who think they know better, moving to another school district, and or charter/private schools. Homeschooling is a tremendous opportunity for those who disdain confrontation and lack the resources for the other choices.
Bullying and peer pressure have been problems in schools for a long time. Now, there are dangers of not just being picked on or pressures such as drugs but now extreme violence in school shootings. Many parents want their children to be in a safe a stable environment. If the home can provide this, it should not be surprising that parents turn to this form of education for their children.
Students need the kind of attention that homeschooling provides. This can help them grow as they imitate their parents or tutor. People often imitate the people they spend time with. If a child spends time with their parents, they will act like them. However, if a child spends time with friends, they will act like friends. Parents have to decide which influence is better for their own children.
Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but it is becoming clear to many the public schools cannot provide the stable, safe environment that parents want for their children. In addition, the desire to make students aware of every social injustice takes time away from learning how to do something about it, such as being a model and skilled worker who was educated to excel.