Study on whether Homeschooling should be encouraged

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Many would agree that education is the key to success. There are many forms of education, one of them is homeschooling. Homeschooling no doubt, is gaining popularity among parents and their children nowadays.

There are many different interpretations on what is homeschooling. Basically, home schooling is an unconventional way of schooling and is a form of an alternative education.

A research done by Ray (2011) shows that there are about 2.04 million students that are homeschooled in the United States. There were an approximate 1.73 to 2.35 million children in grades K to 12 that was homeschooled in spring of 2010 in the United States. It appears that the homeschooled population continues to increase, at an approximate 2% to 8% per year.

The question that is often asked by people is whether homeschooling is legal or not. According to Mountney (2008), school is not mandatory and parents are not subjected by law to send their children to school. He even stated that parents are subjected by law to educate their children but that does not essentially have to be in school.

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Homeschooling has been a debated issue ever since it was first introduced as another method of education. Many are still wondering about the ideal answer for the question, which is, should homeschooling be encouraged?

Based on the research of this issue, homeschooling in fact, should be encouraged as it does have more pros than cons. Homeschooled children are able to interact with people of different ages, they perform better in their studies and parents are able to monitor their children's education and activities.

This report will show evidences and findings on the benefits of homeschooling and why it should be encouraged. The research is focused on the United States of America and Canada, due to the large amount of homeschooled children present in these two countries in comparison to other countries around the world.

FIRST ARGUMENT

Homeschooled Children are Able to socialize normally.

"A main reason for homeschooling is to equip children with a reasoned and guided social communication" (Ray, 2011).

Blythe Brown is a family physician in Calgary, Alberta who practices home schooling on his children (Williams, 2007).

"Everyone except homeschoolers seems to worry about socializing. Well, kids do just fine. With the extra lessons at the club, Scouts, Brownies, Sunday school, music, family events and travel, their socialization was quite complete. Homeschooling is about divergent, interest-based learning with a variety of age groups."- Blythe Brown, 2006

(Williams, 2007)

Nowadays, it is rather normal and healthy for students to gain exposure and mingle with people of different age groups rather than just socializing with people of the same age groups (Cheever). The homeschooler has a community-based socialization, instead of a classroom-based socialization. This plus point removes them from confinement with their age mates (Moitozo, 2003). They can learn from their older peers and on the other hand, help their younger peers. This in fact, just shows that the child is capable in adapting to various different situations and conditions.

Logically speaking, school is just a medium for children to meet people and mingle. Friendship can start from anywhere. Mountney (2008) claims that children make friends in school because they happen to be in school. He also mentioned that home educators find that homeschooled children can also make friends without difficulty when they happen to be in other places, such as for example, youth centres. But whilst children are confined in the school environment, they do not have the opportunity for other social interaction.

Critics had claimed that homeschooled children may not discover the socialization skills that are essential to live peaceably with others in the society (Ramirez).They believe that without school, children will not be able to mingle with people or learn to be socially active.

However, a research done by Ray (200) of the National Home Education Research Institute shows otherwise. He reports that a usual homeschooled child is busy with 5.2 social activities outside of their home weekly .These activities consist of afternoon and weekend activities with conventionally schooled children, such as midday field trips and cooperative learning programs planned by groups of homeschooling families. For example, several families in Washington, D.C run a home school drama troupe that performs at a neighbouring dinner theatre (Mattox Jr., 1999).School is just basically a medium for children to meet and thus form a friendship. Socialization knows no boundaries or age limit; it is something that happens naturally. As long as parents and the homeschooled child takes the initiative to get involved in activities outside of home, their social life would not be any different from conventional schooled children. Homeschooled children are able to develop a social circle outside of school.

SECOND ARGUMENT

HOMESCHOOLED CHILDREN are well prepared for college as they PERFORM BETTER IN THEIR STUDIES.

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According to a research done by Ray (2004), homeschooled children had showed similar academic achievements and preparedness for college as children from conventional schools (Williams, 2007). In fact, they are capable of competing academically with their peers in college that are from public schools.

Some colleges even highly regard homeschooled children and have been constantly recruiting them (Williams, 2007). These colleges are aware of the talents and the academic achievements of homeschooled children. More than 200 colleges, including prominent institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, actively seek out to attract homeschooled children due to their high SAT scores (Kirkpatrick, 2005). Besides that, homeschoolers have also reported admission to over 1,000 different U.S. colleges and universities (Bunday 2001, cited in Lines 2001). This proves that homeschooled children are well prepared academically and have what it takes to be in prestigious and well-known universities.

A study by Rudner (1998) on 20,760 homeschooled children showed that these children had the highest academic achievement. On average, homeschoolers score 30 to 37 percentile points more than public school children on the most generally administered K-8 standardized tests. (Mattox Jr., 1999).This shows that homeschoolers are able to score higher grades that those that are of the same age studying in public schools. Hence, it is clear that homeschoolers do not fall short behind in their studies.

(Homeschool Statistics)

The chart above shows that the national average scores of homeschooled children is higher than the national average scores of public schooled children. Based on the chat above, it proves that homeschooled children are indeed smart and have the academic preparedness for college.

"The academic performance analyses indicate that homeschooled graduates are as ready for college as traditional high school graduates and they perform as well on national college assessment tests as traditional high school graduates"- Jones and Gloeckner

(Williams, 2007)

Homeschoolers have in fact as much academic knowledge and maybe even more than public schooled children. This is because they gain a variety of academic knowledge that is not compressed by a certain syllabus like in conventional schools. Homeschoolers make the world their classroom (McReynolds, 2007). This helps them to explore and discover more knowledge in areas that might be of interest to them. Hence, they are more knowledgeable academically and are well-prepared, academically for college.

thIRD ARGUMENT

PARENTS ARE ABLE TO MONITOR THEIR CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES AND STUDIES.

It comes to no surprise that parents nowadays are eager to monitor their children's activities and education. Princiotta and Bielick (2006) mentioned that the frequent reason for homeschooling is related to the environment of public schools including safety, drugs, and negative peer pressure. There are many parents who opt for the homeschooling method so that they can keep track on their children's activities and performance in studies.

One of the main reasons on why parents choose homeschooling for their children is so that their children do not need to face the turbulent social issues that usually occur in public schools. Guterson (cited in Mattox Jr., 1999) reported that the children in his conventional school often have trouble navigating the chaotic social scene at school. The children in public schools are often preoccupied with the negative social scene in school and peer acceptance. Thus, they easily get distracted and may not be able to focus on their studies.

There are naysayers that claim many parents are not capable and more often than not, one parent must forgo their job to educate their children (Mountney, 2008).They also declared that homeschooling consumes a lot of either mom's or dad's time. They believe that it brings more burden to the family as time and money has to be sacrificed.

However, according to Mountney (2008) there are parents who both are able to continue working, either job sharing, adopting flexible working hours or enlisting the support of other family members. Parents can always find ways to change their working lifestyle to accommodate their homeschooling life.

Homeschooling families are also most likely to have at least one parent who has a college degree (Lips and Feinberg, 2008).This shows that they are eligible and have the knowledge to educate their own children. Moreover, parents can easily find source for curriculum materials online and through other networks (Lips and Feinberg, 2008). With the advanced technology and various facilities that are available now, it is absolutely easy for parents to find materials and reliable education sources for their children.

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"The best curriculum was our own interest-based curriculum, as well as combination of some courses commercially available. I was amazed to learn how efficient we were compared to conventional schools." - Blythe Brown, 2006

(Williams, 2007)

Parents can even set their own syllabus according to their child's interest and learning capabilities. The traditional classroom is teacher-driven, whereas homeschooling can be student-driven, and the child can master areas in the greatest way at the perfect time for great results (Moitozo, 2003). Their children would not be subjected to a particular syllabus like in public schools and can gain various different knowledge that maybe of interest to them.

Hence, homeschooling should be encouraged as parents are able to monitor their children's activities and studies. They can provide a better and safer studying environment for their children as they know what suits their children best.

recommendations

The government plays an important role in promoting homeschooling. They should encourage homeschooling as an alternate option of education. Eventhough homeschooling is rather common nowadays; many are still skeptical about going for this unconventional form of education as they are not sure how homeschooling works exactly. Some may not even know the existence of homeschooling.

Hence, the government should organize events, talks and seminars regarding homeschooling to help educate people about this form of education and the ways to go about it if they're interested. By doing so, this would surely clear the doubts of many people regarding homeschooling and thus, providing them an alternate education pathway to choose from.

Besides that, the government should also set up organizations to handle issues regarding homeschooling. This will certainly benefit those who are interested in homeschooling but needs a guideline and instructions on how it works.

Parents and children themselves should also take the initiative to find out more about homeschooling and help to spread the news about homeschooling to other people that might be interested. There are many ways for parents and children to find more information such as through government and non-government institutions. Furthermore, they can also source for more information through the World Wide Web which is extremely convenient.

Conclusion

It is undeniable that homeschooling is an unusual way of schooling and it uses a different approach in learning. Nevertheless, homeschooling has many benefits of its own. In fact, homeschooling actually has more pros than cons.

The reasons on why homeschooling should be encouraged are such as homeschooled children are able to socialize normally, they are well prepared for college as they perform better in their studies and lastly, parents are able to monitor their children's activities and studies.

Although homeschooling may not be the right choice for everyone, but it is another form of education that has been proven beneficial and successful. Homeschooling is also a good option for those who are facing with learning disabilities or Autism. Famous figures and scientists such as Leonardo daVinci, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were all homeschooled and were successful in life. Thus, homeschooling should, without doubt be encouraged.