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Homeschooling has grown in size and popularity in all the fifty states of America. The increase in homeschooling in the U.S. has resulted in national lobby groups pushing for its legalization. According to Cooper and Sureau, there are approximately one and a half million children in the U.S. currently under official homeschooling (110). American parents prefer home schools for a myriad of reasons. Despite the rapid rise in homeschooling, critics view it as an assault on the public interest in education. The current paper will discuss the phenomena of homeschooling in America. Despite its increased popularity, homeschooling is not a good way to educate children.
There are various reasons why parents in America enroll their children in home schools. In a recent study in America, it was found that eighty-five percent of parents enrolled their children in home schools because of fear about the environment of other schools. There were fears that public schools would expose children to a harmful environment such as exposure to drug abuse and negative peer pressure. Other reasons cited by parents for preferring home schools include; provision of religious instructions (seventy- two percent) and frustration with academic content in other schools (Princiotta and Bielick 12).
According to Gaither, homeschooling in America was made possible by factors such as suburbanization, feminism, political radicalization, and the increased secularization of public schools (332). The author argues that suburb homes offer better learning environments cause of their comfort and techno-rich interior. The traffic and ugliness of the outer environment make homeschooling appealing (333). Feminism has contributed to a rise in homeschooling. A good number of educated women in the U.S. believe that they should channel their education and talent into training their children at home (Gaither 335). Many religious parents prefer home schools as a way of shielding their children from the increased secularization of schools.
Despite the rise in homeschooling in America, opposition and criticism of the system have also increased. Critics see homeschooling as the ultimate form of privatization that glorifies private interest in education over a broader public interest. Other disadvantages of homeschooling include; lack of socialization for the children worry about substandard curriculum content and inadequate protection of homeschooled children (Cooper and Sureau 112). Critics view families that support homeschooling as narrow-minded and against the public interest. They accuse such families of creating unrealistic cocoons for their children. In addition, critics complain that homeschooling is an intense form of privatization in education and it denies public scrutiny on a child’s performance. The system of homeschooling also disenfranchises the general public from its genuine interest in education. According to Cooper and Sureau, many parents have been agitating for the right of their children to access public resources. Critics see this agitation for access to public resources as a way of draining money from public education into private home schools. Critics fear that public funds may be used to purchase curriculum and religious material that may cause division in society (114).
In conclusion, we can say that the U.S. has witnessed a rapid rise in homeschooling with the number of students now at 1.35 (Cooper and Sureau 110). Parents cite reasons like safety concerns, education content, and the negative environment of the public schools. However, homeschooling may result in secluded children exhibiting anti-social behavior. Homeschooling has led to the development of narrow-minded private interest at the expense of public interest in education.
Cooper, Bruce and John Sureau. “The Politics of Home schooling: New developments, new challenges.” Educational Policy 21.1 (2007): 110-131.Print.
Gaither, Milton. “Home schooling in the USA Past, present and future.” Theory and Research in Education 7.3 (2009): 331-346. Print.
Princiotta, Daniel, and Stacey Bielick. “Home schooling in the United States: 2003. Statistical Analysis Report. NCES 2006-042.” National Center for Education Statistics (2006). Print.