Hey, looks like we’ve got a bit of controversy! I just received a follow up to the last guest post. Let’s hear Elliott Villanueva’s side of homeschooling. By all means, if anyone has something to add, now is the time!
“Homeschooling instills dogma” argues the previous post hosted on this blog; in the context that the word dogma is being used, the author is correct. There is still a flaw in this argument however, in the context that the word dogma is being used, all forms of education have “dogma” instilled in them in some way. “The only problem is that when something comes into our lives that’s different, we tend to stare.” Have you ever had someone who was raised in a public or private education system stare at you when you told them you were homeschooled? The dogma argument works both ways, so having “dogma” instilled in a home education does not make it any different in this regard.
Having “dogma” instilled in a home education does not make it different, but is it still acceptable that it has taken root? No, but homeschooling is actually the best education system in this regard. Wherever a child is educated, there will be “dogma” rooted in their education; but who establishes the “dogma?” In a private or public setting the “dogma” is out of the parent’s control and in the control of teachers and administrators. In a home education, the parents are the authority in this arena, by taking a balanced approach, they can remove the dogma. As they have the ultimate choice in the matter, homeschooling is the only widely available education system that a child can undergo without the “dogma” attached.
Based my aforementioned arguments, I believe that the author’s qualms do not lie with the homeschooling system itself; but rather with the choices made by homeschooling families that the author is familiar with. Choices, now that is where the real heart of homeschooling is. Contrary to the pronouncements of any United Nations convention, it does not take a village to raise a child; it takes a mother and father. (I am not saying that single parents should not homeschool; those who do should certainly be commended.) The author condemns an entire system, not on the merits of the system, but by the observing only a small fraction of the system.
On whether or not homeschooling results in superior academic performance, I actually believe it does not when controlled for demographics. Whether homeschooling will expand or inhibit educational resources must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
“Homeschooling does not always equal relational closeness.” This is true, and this is something homeschool parents must take into consideration. Homeschooling does however give parents more opportunities to build relational closeness. Not having relational closeness is not the fault of the homeschooling system, but rather with individual parents in the system.
“So why don’t homeschoolers encourage their kids to go into teaching? Why don’t the capable homeschool parents start teaching in their public school system? Instead of being selfish with your capabilities to teach, why not benefit as many people as possible?” Homeschool parents are selfish? Most homeschool families pay a huge opportunity cost in having one of the parents forgo a salary in order to teach the children at home; I think that homeschooling is one of the least selfish things a parent can do for their children. When a parent chooses to homeschool, they are implicitly stating that their children’s education means more to them than the money they could be making elsewhere. Most homeschool parents that stay at home have a minimum of some kind of post-secondary education, so that is often a significant amount of income they are choosing to forgo. Now, do they encourage their children to enter the education profession? I think that the best thing a parent could do, career wise, is to encourage their child to go where God has called them. If God has called them to be a teacher then they shouldn’t discourage it, but don’t encourage your child to do something that God hasn’t called them to do. In the anecdotal realm, I personally know several homeschooled young adults who are planning on entering the education profession.
“Most parents worry that their kids will run off to college and jump straight off the deep end.” Parents will be parents; but the problems with homeschooled children leaving home, either they won’t go or they go too far, is not exclusive of the homeschool community. The same results can be observed in children who had a public or private education, but were also raised in the church. While homeschooling may contribute to this problem, it is not the root of it.
The homeschooling system is not broken; it can actually be used to give a child the best education available to them. Are there problems? There are problems in every educational system. Some of these problems can be magnified by the individual choices of homeschooling parents. As an individual who was homeschooled, I can say that I will without a doubt consider homeschooling for my future children’s education.