Homeschooling: Why Not?
by Sam Sorbo
As a home education advocate who speaks around the country, people often ask me the basic questions: why do it, and how?
This misses the importance of education. It approaches the question of homeschooling in completely the wrong way. The question ought to be, “Why not?” How did we come to believe that our children would be better off, at the ages of five- or six-years-old, or even earlier, institutionalized in a system that by most standards is failing?
The US stands at about twenty-seventh worldwide for education.
As a culture, we grew to believe that sending our children to “experts” for their primary education was necessary because “school knows best.” Who taught us that? The schools!
Never mind that our public education system has undergone nine overhauls in less than three decades—each one purporting to “fix” the problem, and each one precipitating yet another, without fulfilling their initial promises. The last revamping implemented Common Core, to the tune of billions of dollars, without any prior confirmation of its efficacy. Would you put your children on a school bus if the brakes had never been tested? The education bureaucrats are succeeding at something—it just isn’t education.
So . . . why not educate your children at home? The first reason many parents give is they feel unprepared to do so. That’s job security for the education establishment. (Teachers do not play much of a role in this, as most teachers believe they are joining in a schooling mission and do not realize they are enlisting in a broken system.) But if you, as parent, feel inadequate to educate your third grader, why on earth would you want him to go into the system that arguably is worse than when you attended?
The second objection parents often have is the “social aspect.” I cannot stress enough that home-educated youngsters are generally more socially skilled than school children, who are stuck with peers all day long. Where will those children learn to interact with people of varying ages? Parents who assume that sending a child into a classroom of 20 or 30 other children will guarantee that she has friends are sorely misguided.
An important reason to home educate is that school unavoidably forms a wedge between the child and the parent. The child comes home with something for the parent to sign, absorbing immediately that the parent is under the authority of the school or teacher. In addition, the child spends the day in school, but returns home with work to do, and the parent serves as taskmaster to get it done! It’s an outrage. Every day at the school drop off, the parent tacitly says to the child, “I’m not capable of educating you,” or worse, “I don’t care to.” It really is no wonder that children increasingly challenge their parents’ authority as they grow older.
The most important reason to serve as your child’s educator is spiritual. When they took the Bible out of public schools, they didn’t remove religion; they replaced Judeo-Christianity with secular humanism, or irreligion. The schools instruct children they are accidents of nature and that survival of the fittest is the law of the land. But don’t bully, because that’s mean. It’s tantamount to child abuse, and it’s hypocritical.
Tell me again, why send children to public school?
This brings me to the “how” of home education. The great news is that homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds. It must, as our culture adjusts to the new paradigm of our shifting economy. Gone are the days of college degree, job for 50 years, gold watch at retirement. In our rapidly shifting economy, people need to be malleable and able to learn new things. The days of assembly-line education are numbered.
There are many options within the homeschool paradigm. One, of course, is the public school curricula online. I don’t advocate that one, because our public school students are not competitive globally, and our entire system of education misses the mark. In school, children learn that they can’t learn anything they aren’t explicitly taught, ergo parents who feel incapable of teaching second grade. Consider also that many graduates feel that they never want to crack open another book!
The focus of education need not be to instill knowledge on everything possible; it should be to cultivate a love for learning and the innate curiosity of the child. Classical Christian education endeavors to produce life-long learners—it’s made one of me, and I was the parent in this equation! Teaching your children how to teach themselves equips them for whatever life throws at them. Our public schools tend to focus more on “giving a child a fish,” which has spawned the unfulfilled promise “college prep and career ready.”
The focus of the parents should be to engage and cultivate a healthy, lasting relationship with their children. Keeping kids out of the institution is a great first step!
If you are just starting out on this incredible journey, please read my book, They’re YOUR Kids, to learn why and how I chose to home educate my three youngsters. Do a search online for a local homeschool group or co-op. They are myriad these days. Homeschoolers tend to be open, embracing and encouraging. We love to grow our ranks. We also love to share what we see as the greatest kept secret to enduring family bonds and a long-lasting relationship between a child and His Creator.
What could be more important than that?
Sam Sorbo is an accomplished actress, author and international model. Sam is the author of They’re YOUR Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate. Sam co-wrote, produced and co-starred in the feature film Let There Be Light with her husband, director Kevin Sorbo.
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