Home Education—Safe, Sound, And Successful

by Terry Bowman

The ruddy complexion faded to a pale white as the color drained from his face. His eyebrows, two brown furry caterpillars, arched their backs. The fine lines on his forehead furrowed deeply like freshly plowed ground. His wide-eyed look, resembling two ping-pong balls, conveyed his surprise. His mouth dropped open like a fish on land groping for water as he uttered the words, “What! You homeschool?”

Have you seen this response? I now expect it along with a whole battery of questions—questions like: “How long have you been homeschooling? Are you going to home educate through high school? It must be a big commitment. How do you find the time to do it? Why did you decide to homeschool?” Let us not forget the granddaddy of all questions, "I admire your commitment to your family and home educating, but…what about socialization?" Do these questions sound familiar? This is the typical battery of questions we face when new acquaintances find out that we homeschool.     If you are a home educator, I am sure that you have faced these same questions. Believe it or not, there is some value to these questions for they cause us to reflect on the reasons that we decided to follow this difficult path. Looking back at our decision to homeschool, I can identify three main reasons that we chose to home educate.

 The first and foremost reason is we were concerned about the negative influence imposed on our children by their classmates—an aspect of "socialization." Unlike earlier generations, children in today’s elementary schools are exposed to violence, bullying, drugs, alcohol and filthy language. During the several years that my two older children attended public school, my wife served as a grade-mother. She was appalled by the children's misbehavior, their lack of respect for their teachers and their unwillingness to learn. We were concerned that our children would claim these same attitudes. We felt that it was more important for our children to adopt our morals, values and beliefs, rather than those of their peers. The loudest “knock” against home education voiced by opponents is that homeschool children lack socialization skills. Is it not amazing that “socialization” was the primary driver in our decision to home educate?

The second reason we pulled our children out of public school was the content of their study. We were concerned about the public education system’s de-emphasis on the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. We were even more troubled over their emphasis on evolutionary theory, tolerance for immoral behavior such as homosexuality and sexual promiscuity, intolerance of Christian beliefs and revisionist history—the rewriting of history to deliberately remove God from HisStory.

The third reason we chose to homeschool revolved around the poor quality of our children's education. Relocation resulting from a job transfer took our children out of one of the best school systems in the state and placed them in one of the worst. As one of the counties in the state with the lowest average family income, our county’s school system suffered from insufficient funding. As a consequence, much needed books, materials, teachers and classroom space were often sacrificed. My wife’s experiences as a grade-mother soon revealed that the majority of the parents had a “don’t-care” attitude. This attitude was evident by the extremely low percentage of students turning in assignments and the unwillingness of mothers to help with grade-mother duties, baking cookies, etc. In addition to insufficient funding and lack of parental involvement, a high student-to-teacher ratio contributed to the poor quality of our children’s education. Teachers were not able to adjust their teaching methods to address each child’s unique learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.). For example, a child who learns best through visual stimuli may not learn well in a class where the teacher relies heavily on verbal instruction. This child is no less intelligent. They are simply not in their optimum learning environment and are often stereotyped as a “slow” student. Sadly, they are inappropriately placed with other “slow” students. This is like sending up a flare that communicates to the child that they are some way inferior to other classmates. We wanted our children, each with their own distinct learning style, to have the best opportunity for academic success.

We are in our eighth year of homeschooling our three children. If someone were to ask, “What are the benefits of homeschooling?” I would summarize the benefits with this statement: Home education is safe, sound and successful.

Homeschooling is safe as it protects our children from school violence, bullying, drugs, alcohol and sex-related peer pressure. It minimizes our children’s exposure to society's distorted values, morals, and beliefs that run rampant in our public schools.

Home education is sound as we are able to emphasis reading, writing, and arithmetic. We are able to teach our children accurate science and history and to incorporate Bible study into their curricula. Homeschooling provides a vehicle to teach our children respect for others, to build their self-esteem and to instill within them a Biblical worldview.

Last, but not least, homeschooling is successful as we have been able to pass to our children our own morals, values and beliefs. It is successful as we can ensure that our children master the material. We are aware of our children's academic limitations, their learning styles and their struggles and are able to give to them one-on-one attention that would not be available in public school. As a result, our children's scores on national achievement tests are consistently well above national averages. Home education equips our children to think and teaches them to teach themselves—a priceless tool for future years.

If you are concerned about the negative influence of your children’s classmates and the content and quality of their study, perhaps you should consider home education; it is a safe, sound and successful alternative.

 

Terry Bowman is a part-time freelance writer. He and Karen, his wife of over twenty years, make their home near Wilmington, North Carolina with their three children: Neal, sixteen, Mark, fourteen, and Lori, twelve. The Bowmans are in their ninth year of homeschoolng.

 

 

GREENHOUSE is NCHE's flagship publication. 

GREENHOUSE magazine is published quarterly, with an annual graduate special issue published in May. That's five issues, each containing at least 40 pages of full color for $3 an issue.

$15
Subscribe

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.