Education is a fundamental component for the development and ultimate advancement of the society, and for this reason, all governments, therefore, insist on the provision of education for the children and youth. How this education is dispersed may vary from school-based education to homeschooling.
Homeschooling refers to a form of child education that is carried out within the home rather than within any formal school structure. The education is provided and supervised by the parents of the child. Homeschooling dates back farther than knowledge at schools since before schools existed, children were taught primarily at home.
However, the past century has witnessed the evolution of education, and today school-based education is the primary mode of providing education to the majority of the students. Some countries insist on compulsory schooling where every child is supposed to attend a formal school structure.
The US does not endorse mandatory schooling and parents are allowed to carry out homeschooling. While homeschooling has been practiced marginally, the past decade has seen it gaining considerable ground in the US, and this begs the question of whether homeschooling is better than school-based education.
This paper will set out to argue that homeschooling is not good for society. This assertion will be reinforced by providing well-supported arguments against homeschooling. Merits of homeschooling will also be given to provide a balanced view of the topic.
Arguments against Home Schooling
While our society is built on the fundamental principles of equality, homeschooling in most cases goes against the idea of equality of educational opportunities. This is because homeschooling is mostly undertaken by relatively wealthy and well-educated parents.
Lubienski states that homeschooling is an active attempt by affluent parents to pursue the best possible advantages for their children regardless of whether this hurts the chances of other children (209). While it is true that homeschooled children stand out from their school-educated peers in terms of academic achievements, this advantage is gained unfairly.
Lubienski theorizes that homeschooling is a reaction against the typical democratic means of educating young people (209). It should therefore not be encouraged since we seek to create a democratic society where everyone is afforded equal opportunities to prosper.
Parents are inclined to mold their children “in their own image” and educate them according to their values, personal beliefs, and chosen lifestyle. Homeschooling results in parents educating their children as they see fit in terms of their interests which may not always be the child’s best interest (Meisels 116).
Without the outside influence that school institutes would provide, the child may be forced to conform to the ideas of the parent. This is in spite of the fact that members of society have a vested interest in the education of future generations. The parent’s right should therefore not be the only motivation in providing education to the child.
Schools embody democratic ideals of equality that are used to promote civic values. Lubienski argues that the school institute can be credited with social progress, an informed citizenry and assimilation into shared values (211). Schools are not only centers for providing education but also socialization institutes.
It is through schools that future citizens of the country are socialized into being members of the society and their views are shaped to be in line with those of the community. The whole society, therefore, has an interest in the education of children since it is necessary to safeguard the rights and liberties of other members of society.
Bridgeman, Lind, and Keating suggest that values should be taught in schools which also play a huge role in socializing young people (23). The advantage that schools have over parents is that they teach commonly held values that are embraced by the whole society and do not force children to adopt any one lifestyle.
Individual parents have different values and ideas and are therefore not best equipped to teach values to the children. Every society strives to provide a quality education that will be beneficial to the student and by extension the entire community in the future.
The quality of education provided can be guaranteed by coming up with best practices and ensuring of scrutiny of school performance by the relevant authorities. The US has since the past decade embarked on aggressive steps to improve educational performance nationally through reforms.
Most of the reforms have been aimed at public schools which have seen changes such as closer assessment of instructor qualifications, standards for curriculum, and quality assurance in the assessment of students. However, homeschooling has not been subjected to these positive changes.
Research by Stewart and Neeley indicates that accountability for home school education has not increased accordingly with public school accountability and the educational quality provided cannot be ascertained (361).
Arguments for Home Schooling and Rebuttals
A primary concern of all parents is the well being of their children and parents go to great measures to ensure that their children are protected. Homeschooling gives the parent the means through which to actively protect their child. Many homeschooling families choose the form of education as a result of the dangers that are prevalent in public schools.
These dangers include; academic failure, moral decadence, and negative peer pressure. This thought is confirmed by surveys which reveal that many homeschoolers are concerned about leaving their child in an unsafe neighborhood school surrounded by many negative influences (Lubienski 209).
While it is true that homeschooling affords the child better protection that would be possible in a public school, this protection cannot go on indefinitely. The child will have to venture into the “outside” world, and the parent will not always be able to protect him/her.
Homeschooling may, therefore, have the negative effect of making a child ill-prepared for the dangers that they are bound to experience. All educational endeavors aim at producing exemplary performances by the students. Research indicates that homeschooled children thrive more academically than their school-going counterparts.
This superior performance is attributed to the personal attention they receive from their teacher, and Blok states that this is not a surprising fact since educators have established that the ration of the teacher to student has an impact on the effectiveness of teaching (49). A one-to-one ratio where one teacher attends to one student is the most effective method of teaching.
In school-based education, there are several students who require the attention of the teacher and the teacher cannot manage to give each student full attention. The one-to-one ratio is unachievable in a school-based education system since the number of students will always be significantly greater than that of the teachers.
Blok confirms that one-to-one tutoring would be very expensive to implement in a school setting and hence remains out of reach for schools (49). It is also unlikely that the teacher in school will go at the pace of all the students since different students have varying learning habits and capabilities.
The slower students are therefore disadvantaged if the teacher goes at an average or high speed. Homeschooling does not have these demerits since the student has the full attention of the teacher. Homeschooled children, therefore, have an undue advantage over school going children due to teacher availability.
Homeschooling has a positive impact on the family in terms of dealing with children with special needs. Meisels reveals that homeschooling is very beneficial for handicapped children and highly gifted children whose needs cannot be met by the school system (111).
This is because the parent can spend more time with the child and the one-on-one attention helps override conditions such as ADD (McDowell 202). The Child is also shielded from problems such as racial tensions and negative peer influence which are prevalent in school institutes.
McDowell proceeds to observe that homeschooling has a positive impact on the personal lives of the parents especially if the parent does not feel “forced” into homeschooling (202). Despite these evident advantages, homeschooling may hurt the child’s future since they are protected from tensions that are a part of daily living. It would be better if they were left to experience things such as racial tensions and develop proper coping habits for them.
The US does not require compulsory schooling since the government recognizes the rights of parents to educate their children at home. This has resulted in an increasing number of parents opting to home school their children in the past few decades. While parents should have a right to raise their children as they see appropriately and educate them if they wish, these rights should be weighed against the greater good of society.
From this paper, it is evident that homeschooling denies the child the opportunity to be properly socialized into society. While the educational achievements from homeschooled children are impressive, Lubienski asserts that education is a public good and the public has an interest in how it is provided (208). Homeschooling negates this interest and therefore undermines the common good of the society.
This paper set out to argue that homeschooling is not the best form of education. To this end, this paper has acknowledged the many demerits that come about as a result of homeschooling. In particular, this paper has highlighted the fact that children are a social asset and homeschooling fails to take this into consideration.
The paper has also given the merits of homeschooling which include higher educational achievements. Even so, it has been noted that the positive effects of homeschooling are outweighed by the negative factors. Bearing in mind the many disadvantages of homeschooling, the rapidly expanding size of homeschooled children in the US should be cause for alarm.
Blok, Henk. “Performance in home schooling: an argument against compulsory schooling in the Netherlands.” International Review of Education 50.1 (2004): 39–52.
Bridgeman, Jo, Lind Craig, and Keating, Heather. Responsibility, law and the family. USA: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2008. Print.
Lubienski, Chris. “Whither the Common Good? A Critique of Home Schooling.” Peabody Journal of Education 75.1(2000): 207–232.
McDowell, Susan. “The Home Schooling Mother–Teacher: Toward a Theory of Social Integration.” Peabody Journal of Education 75.1 (2000): 187–206.
Meisels, Tamar. “Home-schooling: The Right to Choose”. Israel Affairs 10.3 (2004): 110–137.
Stewart, Payne and Neeley Richard. “The Impact of home schooling regulations on educational enrollments in the United States.” Education 126.2 (2002): 353-363.