Home schooling is considered one of the fastest growing trends in the United States today. With over four million children being homeschooled, along with a 15- to- 20 percent yearly growth rate, many professional educators and school boards are concerned that this exodus will keep funds from entering the already diminishing public school system. But is home schooling better that the public school system? In this paper I will address key points to both public and home schools in regards to socialization and education.
Home School vs. Public School It was Theodore Roosevelt who said,” To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society” (Edwards. 2011). In 1993 there was a movie film that follows the life of a hoodlum named Caine Lawson and his close friends. The film gained notoriety for its frequent scenes of violence, profanity, and drug-related content. Menace II Society was critically acclaimed for its gritty portrayal of urban violence and its powerful underlying messages.
At the 1994 MTV Movie Awards, the film was awarded Best Movie, beating out the likes of Philadelphia, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. The film also won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. I remember having a discussion on how the media, to include movies have given certain neighborhoods a bad name and reputation because of the way it has been portrayed in movies. The teacher was from South Central Los Angeles, and we watched this movie as a class project. So who controls what is being shown or taught to our children in schools?
Many homeschoolers share this sentiment when it comes to public schools, believing that the violence, peer pressure, drugs and promiscuity found inside the school gates provide an inadequate setting to properly socialize their children. Yet 92 percent of superintendents believe that home learners are emotionally unstable, deprived of proper social development and too judgmental of the world around them, this according to a California study by researcher Dr. Brian Ray who works for the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).
So what makes home school socialization such a hot topic? With as many as 4 million children currently being homeschooled in the U. S. , along with a 15-to-20 percent yearly growth rate, many professional educators and school boards are concerned that this exodus will keep funds from entering the public education system. Many teachers also believe that successful home instruction by un-credentialed parents undermines their expertise and jeopardizes their jobs. A look at the research on this socialization debate shines further light on this issue. Classroom or Kids room
Why such a division or dichotomy in the socialization experienced between homeschoolers and conventional students? It all has to do with their learning environment. The NHEI disclosed that the 36 to 54 hours that students spend in school-related weekly activities make peers and adults outside of the home the primary influences in the children’s lives and not the parent. Realizing the harm that this constant exposure can produce, especially if it’s not countered by involved parenting and today if the child is lucky enough to be in a two parent home they both must work.
Most homeschoolers are well aware of their children’s need for close one-to-one contact throughout their education years. So how do these different settings affect children? Dr. Thomas Smedley believes that homeschoolers have superior socialization skills, and his research supports this claim. He conducted a study in which he administered the Vineyard Adaptive Behavior Scales Test to identify mature and well-adapted behaviors in children. Home learners ranked in the 84th percentile, compared to publicly schooled students, who were drastically lower in the 23rd percentage (www.
finehomeschooling. com/homeschool socialization). Many public school socialization advocates argue that homeschooling precludes children from experiencing real life. Dismantling the stereotype that home learners spend their day isolated from society at kitchen tables with workbooks in hand, NHERI reports that they actually participate in approximately five different social activities outside the home on a regular basis. Today, parents are
not surprised to see reports of fifth-graders talking about sex in class; hear about school shootings; find drugs or condoms in backpacks; receive phone calls from police and principals; or witness defiant behaviors and unrecognizable tones in their children’s voices. “Live and let learn,” say many parents. Most home educators are fine with this, as long as their children’s learning comes from mature, seasoned and embracing adults who have the children’s best interest at heart-above political or economic agendas. They also believe that such training should not come from peers either, which amounts to the blind leading the blind.
Prepared for Combat? Many Christian parents are concerned that homeschooling would not allow their children to fulfill the great commission of sharing the gospel with non-believers. They often site Matthew 5: 14-16 about being the light of the world. Christian homeschooler parents argue that even though young believers are to reach out to the lost, they are not called to immerse themselves daily in a hostile environment. Just as parents know that children are not prepared for war, many Christians believe that youth are not equipped to fend for themselves in the spiritual warfare taking place within schools.
A nationwide survey conducted by the Barna Group shows that 80 percent of Christian families send their children to public schools where their faith is attacked. Based on the study’s findings, it appears that their kids are the ones being “evangelized” by the religion of secular humanism. More than half of their Christian teens believe Jesus actually sinned and only nine percent hold to moral absolutes, while 83 percent of children from committed Christian families attending public schools adopt a Marxist-socialist worldview, reports the group.
Consistent with these figures, Christian producer and occult expert Caryl Matrisciana reports that 75 percent of public schooled American youth brought up in Christian households disown their Christian faith by the first year of college. NHERI finds that this is only true for less than 4 percent of homeschooled youth. Side by side the Pros and cons Public schools have varying degrees of educational prowess and resources. A good step is to check out local and state statistics concerning the level of education in your areas. These can be found online or by contacting your
district offices. Once you have cursory knowledge of the school’s educational aims, you should consider the following pros and cons. Pros:Cons: 1. Learning in a group setting1. High student teacher ratio 2. Extra-curricular activities2. Less independence 3. More curriculum opportunities3. School chooses curriculum 4. Diverse social education4. Peers based on area not choice With a number of statistics on line promoting both public and home school, it is easy to get confused as to what is best. Another good resource is neighbors who have been in the area for a long time.
Discuss your concerns over the educational opportunities in your area with people who have experienced it. One startling statistic is that more and more people are choosing home school. In fact the number of homeschoolers is now in the millions. Consider the following pros and cons in making your choice: Pros:Cons: 1. Free to choose curriculum1. Usually more expensive 2. Free to choose schedule2. Teachers not always qualified 3. Smaller teacher/student ratio3. Harder to provide social interaction 4. Teaches independence in learning choices 4. Stricter admissions in colleges
A con or a pro, depending on how you look at is that children are in the same vicinity for days at a time. Some parents cherish that time with their children and some parents are driven crazy if their kids are not out of the house. Again, going back to the first considerations, you must analyze both yours and your children’s needs. In conclusion as the famous educator William Lyon Phelps once said:” I believe knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without a Bible” (New Dictionary of Thoughts, 2011, p.
46). Mahatma Gandhi said in his book A Practical guide to True Happiness, the Bible can be of tremendous practical value to us. Many thinking persons have acknowledged this fact (Gandhi, chap. 4 p. 29). Regardless of your choice, the important thing is to understand what is available and the consequences of both systems. Through research and reading articles such the one’s I have listed, you are, in fact becoming educated about education.