Homeschooling is sometimes argued about with emotion, passion, and fervor. Why?
While I have not surveyed and interviewed all participants in this discussion, I've observed and paid attention. From this, I've come up with a list of three primary reasons for why this topic is debated so hotly. The first reason I like to call "Who's the better parent?" The second reason is related to getting a quality education, and the third is all about religion.
Who's the better parent?
I homeschool my children. I do this because I can. I do this because I want to. My best friend does not homeschool her child. Frankly, I don't think she should homeschool her child. He's a bit more difficult than my kids and I would imagine there would be more power struggle than education going on if she did decide to homeschool him. My friend and I have talked about this on occasion. I don't look down upon her for putting her child in school. She doesn't think I'm a lunatic for homeschooling. We both understand that we made the best choices we could for our families.
I don't think all people are that way, however. I have met some people that homeschool who are adamant that homeschooling is the best and only responsible way to educate children. I've met people who think there's no way a parent can do better than a certified teacher in a support system. Sometimes, listening to these types of people, I get the feeling what they are really worried about is "I'm a bad parent because I do or don't homeschool," or "She's a bad parent because she does or doesn't homeschool."
That is, homeschooling gets a lot of flak because it makes people think about their parenting and if they are doing a good job or not.
Whatever your choice is, you need to be clear with yourself. Make the choice that is best for your family. Be confident in your choice and toss the guilt aside. If you made the choice that is best for your family, then you are being the best parent you can be, at least in the context of education. Forget what others think.
How will kids get the best education?
Once again, the question of the best education isn't spelled out in black and white. Pros and cons litter each side of this dispute. Homeschoolers get more attention from their teachers. My kids, for instance, have two parents and two kids. (He only works with them in the evenings and weekends, but he does work with them.) Kids in a classroom are often at ratios of 1 to 10, 1 to 20, or even 1 to 30.
However, the teachers in the classroom generally have the kids' attention, or can get it. They had an extra year of college in training.
What's more, the teacher only teaches that group of kids. A homeschooling mother might have three kids in three different grades, but a teacher in a classroom is only teaching one grade. The classroom teacher doesn't need to have Algebra, Multiplication, and Counting techniques all in her head at the same time. The homeschooling mom might need to.
Additionally, teachers are more regulated by the schools and the kids take more tests.
Which is best? There is no black and white answer.
The last big reason for homeschooling being debated with passion seems to be religion. Many parents pull their kids out of school and homeschool them for religious reasons. (Many parents homeschool for reasons other than religion. For my husband and I, for instance, religion was not a factor in our decision to homeschool.)
Religion is an emotional topic. Enough said.
Many more reasons exist for why kids are homeschooled and why the issue is so flammable. Highly gifted kids might not be challenged in school. Some kids might not be emotionally able to handle school. Physical problems may make school too difficult. And, there are many more reasons. For each of those reasons there are parents on both sides of the fence.
What is more important to parents than their children? What is more emotional for us than our children?
Homeschooling is hot. It will remain a touchy issue for as long as parents care about their children.