Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education reported in 2016 that 1.69 million children were being homeschooled, and that number had increased to 2.3 million by 2018. Since a global pandemic happened, those numbers have risen even more, to a whopping 2.5 million.
So, what does that mean? Parents feel that the public education system is failing them somehow. Here are a few things that are leading to this steep increase in parents choosing homeschool over public schools.
Conflicting Religious Beliefs
In a public school, there will be numerous faiths and beliefs represented, all of which the school and teachers are required by law to respect. Teachers can discuss religions, but they cannot teach any one religious belief to their students. While it is necessary to give equal respect to all students’ belief systems, the public school system is not exposing children to what their families believe; meanwhile, it’s also posing possible contradictions to their families’ beliefs. The Bible does not teach the theory of evolution. However, in most public schools, evolution is taught in science as fact. Families who believe the Bible as fact will struggle with this contradiction being taught to their children every day.
Children spend a lot of their time at school, and the influences there can have huge impacts on who they will become. If parents feel uneasy about what’s being taught to their children, then the option to move to a homeschool environment becomes a viable one. Religion, faith, and beliefs can continue to be supported and taught in the comfort of your home.
Proverbs 22:6a says, “Train up a child in the way he should go.” At Abeka, we take that calling very seriously. Every subject is approached from a Christian perspective, and you’ll find biblical principles used to emphasize and illustrate concepts in every subject.
Low Expectations for Student Achievement
Public school classrooms are home to a wide range of students and abilities. Teachers are expected to accommodate each of their students’ complex needs, regardless of whether students are behind or ahead of the curve. As a result, expectations have become lower in public school systems, and the test scores coming from those schools have, in turn, become lower.
Homeschool can provide the structure and organization children need. In 1 Corinthians 14:40, it says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” At Abeka, our curriculum is carefully developed with proven methods , and then tested, so you can trust that the standards are high, but attainable. And in a homeschool environment, as their parent, you’ll be right there to help support, challenge, and guide them.
Issues Teachers Face
When a teacher steps into their first real classroom, they’ve invested years into becoming an expert at educating children. They’re excited by the idea of molding young minds and eager to help them grow and learn. But just like anyone else, teachers thrive in a positive environment where they can do their job well. However, the climate they operate in can sometimes be a challenge. There are a lot of people to please – administrators, principals, parents, and students. If a teacher is hired into a position that faces issues such as a lack of funding, or if there are special needs they’re not trained to handle or a disregard for the effort they’re investing; if they’re unable to receive fair compensation, or even if there is a lack of respect from students, the passion they once felt for teaching can quickly fade, and the positive outlook they once had can be negatively affected.
Some of these circumstances are out of the teachers’ control, but these are very real issues parents consider when they’re making decisions about their children’s education. Parents want a teacher to be focused, dedicated, and attentive to the needs of their children. And if that’s not happening in the public school system, homeschool could be a more effective, appealing solution.
Public School Funding Cuts
As funding for public schools becomes tighter and tighter, it’s hard to watch an inequality of funds being distributed among districts. The students are the ones who suffer when resources are made available to certain districts and not to others. Music and the arts always seem to be the first things cut from public school budgets, and when that happens, the students who might have developed a love of reading or playing music, or a passion for the arts or acting, will never have that opportunity.
When the funds aren’t there to support the need for teachers and programs for the enrichment of exceptional students or for students who have special needs, teachers are stretched thin. In turn, students who need additional help or more of a challenge will remain held to the same standards as every other student in the class. If their needs are never addressed, it could be detrimental to their education and development.
Homeschool isn’t the right option for everyone. But for many families who are facing some of these challenges in the public school systems in the U.S., homeschool is a relief. The proof is in the numbers – from 2016 to 2018, the number of students being homeschooled rose by 61 million, and it continues to rise.
In a homeschool setting, parents are able to regain control over what their children are exposed to and feel confident about the level of education their children will receive. And there’s no better feeling for a parent than the confidence that their children are safe and on the path to success.