Homeschooled children have increased at least 20 fold since 1999, according to www.educationnext.com.
States finally broke the stranglehold of mandatory public education in the '90s, giving parents in every state their constitutional right to teach their own children, though state laws control the process. The home school movement then took off.
Some parents are being driven from the public system by deep concern, even anger toward Common Core. They object to the shadow takeover of education by the federal government and the humanist philosophy behind it. Of particular concern is the attack on religious worship. The above website says about a third of parents pulling children out of public schools give this objection. One mother, with both homeschooled and public-schooled children, related that her public school high-schooler snapped a picture of a Common Core multiple choice test question that asked about the effects of religious worship. All the possible answers were negative. Another mother in a firmly Christian home related that her 8-year-old daughter came home from school expressing doubts that her religious teachings are true—a matter rarely questioned at that tender age. Parents are deeply concerned.
Homeschool parents repeatedly say they want to be in charge of what their children learn. They don’t trust strangers or government at any level with the values their children are taught. Nichole Patty explains that she homeschools her children because “I want to be the writer of my children’s core standards and beliefs. I can share my belief in God and ignite a desire to learn. I can give them better tools for life.”
This parental watchfulness is valid because a child lives what he learns. Richard J. Maybury, in “Personal, Career, and Financial Security”, explains the models each of us form to interpret life; models established in childhood and rarely changed in adulthood. He relates that our Founding Fathers built protections for the freedoms of speech, press and religion into the Constitution so children’s models could form in moral ways. He says, “They (the Founders) did not want anyone controlling the flow of information because they knew controlled data leads to controlled models, which leads to controlled behavior.”
This makes the anti-religion bias of Common Core and public education a serious matter. Homeschool parents who believe children are happiest when they live religious and moral principles are acting to preserve their children’s values by teaching them at home.
Not all parents who homeschool are rejecting public education, however. Nannette Wiggins and Jane Mack of Orem describe themselves as homeschool moms and grandmas since 1982, long before the movement became popular. Both now teach their second generation offspring. Nannette embraced homeschool 32 years ago because she hated sending her two young children away every day. She approached her sister, Jane, whose reaction was, “Hey, I thought of it before you!” Both just wanted to be with their kids. Assorted children of the pair now also homeschool their children, as well.
Over the years, homeschooling has changed. It’s more acceptable and there are plentiful support groups and quality materials to help. Nannette now teaches music in a homeschool co-op where parents rotate topics yearly. Its one of the benefits of homeschooling: “You get to keep learning along with the kids”.
One thing you notice about homeschooled kids is their open and inquisitive nature. They look you in the eyes and they talk to you. They can communicate opinions, interests and ideas of their own. Consistently you sense they are confident, relaxed and unstressed. You see families together more; they are comfortable with each other and seem to enjoy each other in ways you rarely see outside the homeschool ranks. One criticism says homeschooled children don’t develop as well socially. If critics are speaking of the “attitudes”, rebellion, disrespect and animosity wrapped around many teens today, this would surely be true. Otherwise, the kids appear to be happy, have friends and develop social skills to thrive.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone or every child, as Nannette and Jane emphasize. They believe parents driven only by anger and distrust of public education and Common Core need something more than just their negative emotions to sustain them. While homeschooling is time consuming at first, it resolves into an orderly pattern that puts children in charge of their own learning curve and gives parents space to “have a life.”
In the end, it’s a choice parents make to be more involved with their kids. It isn’t, and shouldn’t be, however, a guilt trip for those who choose otherwise. Most parents are very well-traveled, their guilt trips having taken them around the world and back, and they don’t need any more travel time. If you are considering homeschooling, information is available at Utah Home Education Association at www.uhea.org. and dozens of online sites. Good things, good resources and solid support await you. And P.S: don’t forget to teach the Constitution!
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