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The Truth About Homeschooling in America

Many parents in America are discovering that when it comes to education, there’s no place like home. As concerns over public education increase, more parents are leaning toward homeschooling  to control the things to which their kids are exposed.

According to a report released by Education News last year, the number of children being homeschooled in all states (yes, even the liberal ones) increased by 75% since 1999. And while homeschool children only account for 4% of school children across America, the same report states that, “the number of primary school kids whose parents choose to forgo traditional education is growing seven times faster than the number of kids enrolling in K-12 every year.”

So what’s the big deal with public schools? What has so many families abandoning the system? The report states that over one-third of homeschool parents, a whopping 38%, choose to homeschool because of their concerns over the environment of public schools. “The environment includes safety, drugs, bullying, and the culture of public schools. As long as safety in public schools is an issue, homeschooling will continue to grow,” says Jeremiah Lorrig, spokesman for the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Simply creating an environment that’s accepting of everything except toy guns and anything deemed as “bullying” isn’t enough to keep our kids safe. But many parents realize this and aren’t willing to sacrifice their kids all in the name of tolerance. And, according to Lorrig, there are nearly two million homeschooled children in the United States, with the number increasing by 10-12% each year.

What About the Academics?

Safety isn’t the main concern for all parents. For some, the decision to homeschool is made primarily for the academic advantages. According to the report, homeschoolers achieve “significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students.” The report also notes that, “those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile.” And the notable difference in academic accomplishments and work ethics is widely recognized by colleges across the nation, such as Duke and Stanford, who pursue and recruit homeschoolers. So is it acceptable to graduate hordes of second-rate students or should more attention be given to producing citizens who can succeed at more than standardized tests?

More Bang For Your Buck

Homeschool students aren’t only safer and more academically accomplished, they’re also cheaper. The annual cost of educating one homeschool student is roughly 5% of the annual cost of educating one public school student. Yeah, you read that right. It costs a family approximately $500-600 a year per homeschool student, while it averages taxpayers $10,000 for each public school student.

Unfortunately, due to misconceptions and misinformation, homeschooling has developed a bad rap. But facts are facts, and the truth is, it produces better results for less money. It graduates more students who are well-educated, successful and motivated, all while keeping them safe and cutting the budget. In the grand scheme of things, the question should not be whether or not homeschooling our children is the right decision (which, of course, isn’t always a viable option for some families anyway) but instead…

What needs to be done to our public school systems to achieve the same results and ensure all students have the educational environment from which to come from and develop into quality citizens?

In pursuit of the truth,

Johnnie-Ann Campbell