Dissatisfied With Public Schools?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in its The Condition of Education, 2009 Report, 38% of the homeschoolers in this country are homeschooling for reasons related to public school safety concerns, environmental concerns, or failure of their local public schools to provide quality academic instruction. Compare that to 36% who homeschool for reasons of a religious or moral nature, according to the same report. In other words, dissatisfaction with the public school system has surpassed religious motivations for leading families into choosing homeschooling. What that should be saying to educators of all types in this country, is that homeschooling is no longer an isolated portion of the population, but a growing movement that is affecting all families, all school districts, and all future citizens of this country.

As an advocate of homeschooling, and author of numerous methods, tips and strategies on how to homeschool effectively, these statistics do not alarm me, however they should alarm non-homeschooling families. They should alarm public school educators. Yet, while I advocate homeschooling as a viable, high quality, richly rewarding, and profoundly fitting way to prepare students for higher education, I am also a product of a quality public school education myself. So, I cannot deny that there are good public schools out there, good public school teachers, and systems that are working. But they are fewer in number than they used to be according to the perception of the public as evidenced in this report.

I also cannot deny that homeschooling will not work for everyone. Personally, I would not advocate someone taking on the high calling of homeschooling without being confident of their purpose and their commitment. Homeschooling is too near to my heart to wish that everyone would follow this path and then find that many did not end up doing it well. But the fact remains that many public schools are not doing their jobs well, and this is leading many families, a majority of those who homeschool, in fact, into an alternate choice for their children’s education.

If this is you, and if you are considering leaving the public school system in favor of homeschooling, be sure to do your due diligence. That is where the major paradigm shift comes in homeschooling. When your child goes to a public school, as a parent, your job is to get them to and from the school and occasionally attend a conference with their teacher. There is a blind trust that the school is doing their job and doing it well. You don’t have to think about curricula or “quality” or learning tools – you assume those are being taught. However, if you are considering making a change to homeschooling, you must take ownership of these foundational elements yourself. You cannot defer this responsibility to someone else, and therein is the major difference.

Curricula choices abound for homeschoolers, and most of them have teaching helps, lesson plans or instructions, etc., so the issue of how to teach is not the issue. The issue of how to put it all together and stay on track is the issue. Speak with other homeschoolers in your area before you make the shift from public school to homeschool. Get help from a homeschool coach who can help to direct you to appropriate curricula, provide diagnostics to assess your child’s academic weaknesses and strengths, and show you how to track and chart your child’s progress towards college.

It is clear that dissatisfaction with the public schools is on the rise, and many, like you, may be turning to homeschooling as an option. You are not alone. But if you are willing to look into an incredible method of seeing your children grow in academic wisdom, skill, and confidence, be sure to also take the time to consult those who will help you succeed, regardless of what draws you into the path of homeschooling.