Using this to introduce where I'm coming from, I can say the same. We homeschooled our children for 17 years, each of them “K-12”, graduating our youngest at age 16. We started, and for 4 years led, a homeschooling support group that, now more than 20 years later, is still helping Silicon Valley homeschoolers. For several years we helped in the organizing and running of a homeschoolers' convention also located locally, and volunteered at that convention and at Christian Home Educators Association of California's (CHEA) statewide convention. We were not, however, leaders in CHEA, though the co-leaders of our support group were part of CHEA's Regional Advisory Board. I've also written several articles that are part of the online support website, Homeschool Christian.com (Getting Started Homeschooling Index and Support Index). There's nothing I'm boasting of in all that (I wish I could have said all this in one, reasonably brief sentence), but my family and I have lived and seen from the “inside” the things I say.I’ve thought about the issue of homeschooling – a LOT.
No argument or quibble on this point, just adding that, similarly, there is no single method of homeschooling. Some parents more or less literally recreate a classroom in their homes – desks, textbooks, white boards, etc. - some use hands-on life experiences, students' interests, zero textbooks and library books by the hundred-weight. Our family was in between but closer to the interests and experiences end of the spectrum.... there is no ONE universally correct answer as to whether homeschooling is right or wrong.
The frame of reference from which this comes troubles me. Whether one is a Christian believer or not, the education of one's child(ren) is the responsibility of the parents. They may delegate some of the tasks to others (perhaps because of their special expertise), but not the responsibility. In terms of history, government-run (public) schools are a recent phenomenon. The leaders of the US in the 18th and well into the 19th centuries were educated at home – by parents and tutors – for, roughly, what we might call elementary school, and then went to institutional schools to prepare for college. More ordinary citizens would, instead of college prep, have been apprenticed to learn a trade, learned their family's business, or gone to work on the family farm. This was probably the pattern in many/most countries outside of the US. Thus, public schools should not be regarded as the default option or some sort of norm.Yes, there can be many positive reasons for deciding to educate one’s children at home, as an alternative to public or private schooling. As well, one’s justifications for homeschooling may, in fact, change – and perhaps, several times. … The key consideration here is that you have a high confidence level as to the school’s track record of being a safe environment.
Again, no argument or quibble on this point. One option, one we were able to use for our children, is concurrent enrollment in a community college during high school. This let our kids take classes they normally would have gotten and get college credit. Terms vary: some colleges may have a minimum age; some may limit how many credit hours a concurrently enrolled student may take. We graduated our younger daughter at age 16 so she could take a full load of classes (FWIW, she took and passed California's California High School Proficiency Exam – as did her brother and sister, BTW). I'll have more to say about flexibility in homeschooling.And homeschooling need not necessarily encompass a child’s entire academic career, as such decisions will be impacted by the changing variables of school choices and family situations.
There's several cylindrical metal containers of annelids here. First, the presumption that classroom-based school teachers are qualified to teach one's children needs to be questioned. They may be, but that should not be assumed. Not many public school teachers majored in the subjects they teach; Education was their major. The things they learned in their major – how children learn, education methods, classroom management – have value, but much of that, plus the expertise in particular subjects, are present in the textbooks and other curricular materials. Since much of the expertise is present in the curricular materials, the assumption that parents are not suitable as teachers for their children also needs to be questioned. Who knows their children better? The parents? Or a teacher who hardly (if ever) set eyes on their children before the beginning of the school year? Who cares more deeply about their children? Who will be able to give their more instructional time and guidance? The parents? Or a teacher with a class of 20-40 children?An important homeschooling variable to consider should be whether one is appropriately gifted and/or has the adequate training or teaching skills to do so effectively (and in some states, legally). You may be in a state that requires specific academic credentials and strict criteria for homeschoolers - can you meet such requirements? Are you willing to undergo the needed sacrifice of time, energy and patience to effectively teach?
Considering credentials further … public school teachers are required to have teaching credentials (aside from student teachers, who are overseen by a credentialed teacher). But are teachers in private classroom-based schools legally required to have a teaching credential. Not necessarily: the school might require it; the teacher may, though not required to do so; state laws may vary. As for homeschooling laws (in the US), they vary considerably. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)has a web page where one may find summaries of various states' laws. Only a few states get into whether or not a homeschooling parent has a college education or not, and none (AFAIK) make a college degree an absolute prerequisite to homeschool. States that do consider the education of the parents make that a factor in the degree of oversight of those homeschools.
As for the, “the needed sacrifice of time, energy and patience,” children usually enter school at age 4 or 5 (ignoring preschools and daycare, whose parents are much less likely to consider homeschooling). What have the parents been doing in the first 5 years or so of the child's life. Raising an infant and toddler certainly requires much “time, energy and patience”.
Speaking of cylindrical metal containers of annelids! Pretty much, this is a version of the classic but wearying S Question homeschoolers have been hearing for the past 20 or 30 years: ”What about socialization?”. There's a fundamental and questionable underlying assumption, here. Where does the idea come from that homeschoolers keep their children utterly isolated from the world? Seriously?! Homeschooled children never go to church? Homeschooled children never go to Sunday School? Homeschooled children never go to AWANA and groups such as Royal rangers? Homeschooled children never participate in Little League, Pop Warner Football, Upward Basketball and other sports leagues (including, but not limited to sports leagues organized by homeschooling parents)? Homeschooled children never participate in Girl Scouts, Campfire Boys and Girls and Boy Scouts? Homeschooled children never participate in community theater groups or choirs (or organize their own)? Ever heard of homeschooling co-ops – where parents take turns teaching subjects to all children in the co-op? Did you know homeschooling parents organize special classes, such as for literature, journalism, science, art and more? I mentioned support groups (ours was far from the only one in Silicon Valley!) … most have regular park days (as often as weekly) and field trips. And that's just the kinds of stuff our kids were involved in! There was (and may yet be) a homeschoolers' drum corps in Southern California. There are debate clubs for homeschoolers all over the US, with local/regional tournaments that culminate in a national tournament. Our problem was not finding opportunities for "socialization"! It was picking what we participated in so that activities didn't consume every day of the week.... But to think that one can keep their children in some little Christian “cocoon” that will keep their eyes and ears away from all bad influences – well, that make work for a period – but, ultimately, your children are going to one day have to face such influences without you.
Are your children and your Christian faith so small that it cannot handle viewpoints that are different or unwanted? And exactly how long are you going to try to protect them – all the way through high school? Are you then going to send them to a Christian college? The REAL world they are headed to has no Christian “bubble” to protect them.
I've been at this for something like 2 1/2 hours, and need to stop at this point, hopefully to continue another time. How did things work out for our children – our youngest is in her mid-20s? Our youngest has attended some college, and has for some years been a missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). She has staffed several schools at her base, and co-led several 2-month outreaches in several countries. Next year her plans are to move to another country, attend a university there and reach out to fellow students and city residents. Her brother has a business degree, works using skills he learned from his personal interests during “high school”, played drums in one of our church's worship bands, and achieved Eagle rank in Boy Scouts. Our older daughter did a couple of schools in YWAM (outreaches to Fiji and the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina; the latter was a career and lay service oriented school), was the primary caregiver for her grandmothers last several years of her life, and is now, ironically, a preschool teacher (she sees stay-at-home Moms as better for raising children, but is being a loving, caring teacher for preschoolers whose parents can't or won't).