I was home educated. From kindergarten through 12th grade my parents made the sacrifice to teach my siblings and I at home. There were parts I hated and there were parts I loved. There were times when I hated being home every day and there are days now when I am sitting at work, in a desk (not so different from school, eh?), and I wish that I could be home reading or writing. I loved being able to travel with my family and take off to Callaway Gardens for the day and have what Mom called “Domestic School Day.” I went to prom junior and senior year with friends that went to public school. I was on the yearbook staff. I went to classes with other home educated students where we learned about chemistry, the art of writing a good paper, Spanish, and various other subjects that can be difficult to learn on your own. I will admit that there was a time when I begged my parents to send me to “real school”, but in the end and looking back now, I am ever so grateful to my parents for their wisdom and decision to home educate me.
As I watch our government strive to take away the right of parents to educate their child(ren) at home, I wonder how many more rights will they start taking away? The same men and women that we have elected to protect and implement those sacred rights we have as citizens of a free nation, are the same people who seem to want more and more control over our lives.
In an article published by Parade Magazine (http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2008/edition_06-01-2008/Intelligence_Report), experts speculated that the number of families in the U.S. who are choosing to educate their children at home is increasing 7%-12% a year. That is an incredible number. The article is mainly focused on the case going on in California where home education is in danger of becoming illegal, a move which would place over 166,000 children who are currently being home educated into the public and private school systems of California. The state wants parents who home educate to have teaching certificates. The vast majority of parents teaching their children do not.
There are arguments galore when it comes to home education. My personal favorite is “socialization” and how home educated children are deprived of being able to socialize with children with children of the same age, or how they are unable to learn conflict resolution by staying at home. I don’t know about you, but living with ten other people who had ten varying personalities taught me conflict resolution. And there are many ways to give your children social outlets. Another argument is that the education received at home does not prepare you for the college experience.
As a home educated graduate that attends a university in the state of Georgia, I can say that my home education experience, while not perfect, prepared me for the college experience. My dad is a dentist in our hometown and my mom is a stay at home mother who has home educated for the past 15 years. While my father obviously went as far as he could in the academic world, my mother only attended two years of college. Yet, she was the one who stayed at home and taught my siblings and I. I have seven younger brothers and sisters, all of whom are or were home educated. One sister is a full time student the university that I attend and two of my sisters, though still in high school, are a part of the joint enrollment program at the university that allows high school students to attend classes and attain college credit that goes toward their college degree. I am a journalism/photography major, one sister is a Theatre Education major, another was a nursing major and recently switched to pre-engineering. The other sister wants to declare pre-med. We each have GPA’s that range from a 3.5 to a 4.0. As you can see, our education was far from lacking and our primary teacher did not have “certification.”
The lack of support for home education in our nation is incredible. All you have to do is look at the number of home educated students in our country, then see how they have gotten along in colleges and universities across the nation, and you can see quite clearly that home education is a legitimate educational option. Most of our founding fathers were home educated. Not only were they home educated, but their mothers were the ones who taught them and women were not welcome in the world of academia, yet were the ones trusted with the job of educating the children in the family. These same men, who were by today’s standards given a less than adequate education, created the most powerful document in the world. What does that say to you about home education?