What are some reasons why parents homeschool their kids? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
It began with my own education. Though I attended good schools in a well-performing school district, I thought my education was not nearly what it should have been. I could have learned so much more history and science, and frankly it was just too easy for me to slide on through. I wasn't challenged nearly enough. Even while I was a student I was painfully aware of how much time we were wasting on administrivia and busywork. I remember one time in the sixth grade when there was teachers' strike, and some guy came in and started lecturing us in fascinating detail about the parts of plants. It was awesome. At 11 years old, we were totally able to understand it, but no one had ever taught us that way before. We usually used "the project method," which I later came to regard as truly a blight on our education system.
I started reading books such as Dumbing Down Our Kids by Charles Sykes (there are plenty of other newer books that are also critical of the U.S. education system; the problems are still there). I discovered that I was not alone in my dissatisfaction. I came to the conclusion that the U.S. education system just sucked. It's not mostly the teachers or even the administrators. It's the philosophy, the methods, and the unchallenging curriculum. The U.S. education system is exactly what one would expect from a bunch of teachers and education professors who have contempt for knowledge, per se, and think that the point of education is to build "know how" and social skills and give kids meaningful experiences. Gag me.
Then I heard about homeschooling. So, long before I had any children, I became 100% resolved that I would homeschool my children. There was no chance in hell that I would subject my children to public, or even private, schools. (My dissatisfaction extended to private schools after I read Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto.)
The problem ultimately is that schools try to make a one-size-fits-all system out of what ought to be a joyful and individual experience. It's not surprising that serving everyone the same education all the time is not nearly as efficient, engaging, or ultimately successful as homeschooling. (More on this theme: Is it hubris and a sign of cognitive biases running rampant for adults to believe that they can teach their children in a more effective manner than trained professionals?)
I won't brag about my son's experience so far but let's say that, so far, I feel perfectly vindicated in my choice.
Note: I'm agnostic. My desire to give my child a religious education has nothing to do with it. We do read the Bible, which, stupidly, kids are not allowed to do in public schools. We read it because it's the most influential book in history, not because we believe it. That said, I do have problems with the indoctrination that goes on in schools against the wishes of parents. As a libertarian, I frankly have contempt for the leftist indoctrination that goes on in public schools, and it is nice that we avoid that and can talk in greater depth about all sides of complex issues. I look forward to assigning philosophy books to my boys when they're teenagers. They'll be ready for them.
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