A Case for Home Schooling

From the July 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

Not long ago, Americans home schooling their children were viewed by most as outcasts or religious fanatics. But times are changing. A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll has monitored public opinion on education for many years now. In 1985, when they asked pollsters about home schooling, only 16 percent approved of it. Today, that figure has jumped to 36 percent.

Home schooling is growing at a rate of 15 percent per year. It has more than tripled since the beginning of the 1990s. More than 1.2 million American children are now taught at home.

There are two main reasons for the rising popularity of home schooling. First, many religious families deliberately withdraw their children from a system they consider to be grossly immoral. These are the families popular culture labels “religious fanatics.” But these days, even mainstream America realizes the moral standard at public schools is far worse than even 15 or 20 years ago. As schools lose control of their kids, some parents opt for a more controlled educational atmosphere—at home.

The second reason for home schooling’s rise is that in many communities, public education is just plain bad. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), kids taught at home outperform their public schoolmates by 30 percent! And, they claim, the longer kids stay at home, the wider that percentage gap grows. Those who doubt HSLDA’s figures ought to look at other studies which show how American kids are consistently outperformed by kids from other industrialized nations.

There are still those who disapprove of, and even criticize, home schooling. But what the latest statistics reveal is that there is a growing number who disapprove of, and even criticize, the epidemic of violence and sexual immorality spiraling out of control in our schools. This growing number disapproves of the quality of education in public schools. It is the voice of this increasing number we should worry about most if we want what’s best for our children.