- Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Homeschool children are involved in a great number of activities outside the home and are typically more civically involved. They also interact with a wider range of individuals from young to old and report themselves that they do not feel socially deprived. They are often rated as being friendlier and less peer dependent for their values, particularly as they grow older. An impressive list of social skills. In short, it is clear that homeschooled children are not missing out on socialization and are being adequately equipped to join the world of adults. Any accusation that homeschooling denies children the opportunity to be adequately socialized is just not accurate. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. These children often turn out the way parents and society in general would want children to turn out: friendly, confident, civically minded and involved, socially mature with good relationships with the authority figures in their lives, and possessing a moral compass that is independent of peers.
As evidence mounts in favor of homeschooling, critics shift their arguments away from concerns about academics and socialization and begin to present new "negatives" of homeschooling. Here are three examples of such arguments against homeschooling. The first is founded upon the notion that the government has a responsibility to ensure the education of its population in order to create productive citizens. From this reasoning Rob Reich argues that homeschooling needs to be regulated because of government's responsibility to assure adequate citizen preparation.(Reich, R. (2005) "Why Home Schooling Should Be Regulated." Home Schooling in Full View: A Reader. Information Age Publishing. 109-120. Click Here) But if the ability to participate in the community and contribute to the overall well-being of society is a measure of a good citizen, then the above-mentioned research shows that the homeschooled are being very adequately prepared to become citizens. One researcher concluded that homeschoolers do form an identity of citizen and are actually more civically involved than their public school peers.(Arai, A.B. (1999) "Home Schooling and the Redefinition of Citizenship." Education Policy Analysis Archives. Vol. 7, Num. 27. Click Here)
Reich also argues that the government has a vested interest in regulating the education of all children as it has a vested interest in the preparation of citizens. But we have already seen that regulation does not produce better outcomes. Furthermore, to call for regulation of an institution that is producing outstanding results while the institution that is heavily regulated (public school) is struggling to produce positive outcomes is a very weak argument.
The second argument against homeschooling is presented by Chris Lubienski.(Ray, B.D. (2000) "Home Schooling: The Amelioration of Negative Influences on Learning?") In essence, his argument is that homeschooling removes social capital from the public schools, leaving a struggling institution with even less valuable resources. It is undeniable that, when parents homeschool, they and their children are no longer a part of the public school system. But how does this impact the educational system? Mr. Lubienski writes that these types of parents are the involved type who should stay involved and work to improve the system rather than abandon it. This argument has two flaws. Those involved parents are involved to the extent that the school system impacts their children. They are going to advocate largely for changes that impact their children only, and any parents who are more committed to the educational system are not, most likely, choosing to homeschool. The second flaw is that while the social capital is taken out, the money remains in the system at the state level. In reality, then, the states would have fewer students to educate with the same amount of money. This should be welcome news, as money is often cited as a major issue in terms of school failure.
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