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Homeschool vs. Public Schools

In: Business and Management

Submitted By phillipsjc1
Words 1550
Pages 7
James Phillips
English 101-006, Ms. Medlin
Rogerian Argument
Nov. 13, 2015

Home schools vs. Publix schools Making sure safety and educational support for all home schooling students should be a top priority as the state works to help parents who want to still have an opportunity to home school their children. Over twenty thousand Carolinians students attend school at home in 2013 and according to Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse (2011), the national number of home school kids was close to two million children in 2010. She noted that while home schooling has become a “fashionable choice” for young urban professionals who want the best education for their children. The subject is still full of controversies about learning and social development, governmental involvement, standards, and safety. Opponents of home schooling believe too much is often left up to parents, who can teach their kids anything they desire and limit contact with other kids their age and environments. Home schooling is often associated with extremism, and potentially abusive situations are harder to identify when the home school students are isolated. Opponents fear that some parents choose home schooling out of fear or displeasure, rather than making a thoughtful choice based on their child’s needs. Proponents of home schooling believe home schooled children are healthy and advanced learners because they receive one-on-one attention and have some degree of control over their learning. They believe parents can make the best choices for their children. Research and evidence prove that these positive claims are true in safe situations but are lost in extreme cases. safety and parental support for all home schooling students should be a top priority for the state to help parents who want home schooling and want their children to succeed. Plenty of information exists to validate the concerns of the opposition of home schooling. In many cases, parents do have total control over the home schooling environment. South Carolina, for example, monitors home school kids by requiring children to take standardized tests in “grades three, five, eight, and 10” (Hovde, 2013). This requirement is the only major assessment. According to Joyce (2013), many states require even less from families who choose to home school. Twenty-six states do not require any testing, and eleven states do not ask for any kind of notification from home schooling parents. In these locations, parents becomes the law in place of any formal guidelines. In most cases such parental freedom benefits the children, but in others, as opponents note, the children lose out. In her article “The Home school Apostates,” Joyce (2013) tells the stories of several former home school kids whose home school experiences were dangerous and harmful because of their parent’s lazy stance. One woman explained, “I was basically raised by someone with a mental disorder and told you have to obey her or God’s going to send you to hell . . . . Her anxiety disorder meant that she had to control every little thing, and home schooling and her religious beliefs gave her the justification for it” (as cited in Joyce, 2013). In this same example, the parent failed to take an interest in teaching their child, choosing to simply hand out school books and require their pre-teen to self-teach. Joyce argued that this type of situation is not unusual and cited websites such as Homeschoolers Anonymous and No Longer Quivering where hundreds of others have shared similar accounts of their home schooling experiences. These students are in situations that are dangerous to their emotional, intellectual, social, and sometimes physical health, but little is done to protect them. Outcomes are not just limited to abusive situations. Sometimes home school students struggle to reach the same level as their peers despite their parents’ best intentions. According to Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse (2011), children whose parents chose “unstructured” home schooling do not learn as much or make as good of grades as their peers, falling behind students who were in structured home schooling and traditional schooling (p. 200). In the unstructured form of home schooling the learning process is entirely determined by the child. Where in “structured” forms, “the parents view themselves as important contributors to their children’s education (p. 197-198). Structured home schooling may still focus on a child’s individual needs and benefits, but the parents create lesson plans or otherwise guide the child’s learning (Concordia University, 2012). In a interview for Concordia University, Martin-Chang acknowledged that the results of the study might have been different if student success had been measured using a different tool. The results here were gathered from a standardized test with no connection to either the public school program or home school groups. Or if the children had been older than ten years old at the time of the test. Despite these qualifiers, Martin-Chang felt the study’s initial findings were in keeping with other research that suggests parental engagement with the child’s learning is a good indictor of academic success. In some forms of home schooling, it appears that there is a lack of this essential involvement. On the other hand, home schooled students whose parents used some structure scored higher on the independently given test than both the traditional students and the unstructured learners (Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse, 2011, p. 199). This result supports earlier research indicating the higher achievements of home school students. (p. 195-196). Such findings benifit the claims of those who believe that home schooling can have big benefits for children. Many believe that the big reason for home school success is parental investment. Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse (2011) “This advantage may be explained by several factors including smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, or more academic time spent on core subjects such as reading and writing” (p. 200). The flexibility of the home school allows parents to adapt the material and the schedule to the needs of their child. Who, ideally should know well and love tremendously. Public school teachers cannot currently give the same time to each child because they have full classrooms and more demands on their attention from administrators. Clearly, both opponents and proponents of home schooling have well-supported arguments for their positions. Home schooling is an option that often leads to high academic success and personal satisfaction for students. However some situations are unhealthy and harmful to a child’s development. The solution to the home school disagreement is a balanced approach that holds the benefits of home schooling while accounting for dangers. While as Hovde noted, abuse can occur in any educational setting, Joyce demonstrated that abused home school students have a harder time finding access to help. Joyce stated that, in the past “home schooling families had to look for help through an informal grapevine of survivors” (para. 44). Now those survivors are pushing for laws that assess state policies for protecting home school environment. In order for home schooling to remain a safe and rewarding option for parents and students, these extreme cases need to be taken seriously. Resources need to be available, and anyone found to have abused a child should be held accountable. Those who support home schooling should also support reforms that make home schooling safer for everyone. In addition, more research needs to be done on unstructured home schooling, maybe using a more in depth, surprise tests. Since standardized tests are known to have issues with cheating in many ways. Parents who are deciding how to educate their children should have access to accurate information about child development and learning. If total freedom is not the best option for children, parents should be encouraged to seek alternative methods of home schooling. The bottom line is that parents have a great deal of influence on their children’s learning, whether that learning is done in a public school or at home. Hovde (2013) said, “Better scores should be expected when parents are so involved in a child's education. I'd argue that parent involvement is the primary factor for student success in any educational venue” (para. 15). In her interview with Concordia University, Martin-Chang went even further suggesting that public school teachers and parents can create the same benefits as home schooling in traditional classrooms by giving time to individual students and creating choice in the classroom. True changes to public school classrooms will likely require other educational laws, but the point is that the learning environment is more important than the location you chose to learn. Still as public schools work and sometimes struggle to meet the needs of individual children making sure quality home schooling experiences should be a priority in the Carolinas and USA.

References Concordia University. (2012, Nov. 6). Are home-schooled children smarter? [video file]. Retrieved from Hovde, Elizabeth. (2013, Jan. 5). Sorting out the truth and myth in home schooling. The Oregonian. Retrieved from Joyce, K. (2013). The homeschool apostates. The American Prospect Longform. Retrieved from Martin-Chang, S., Gould, O.N., and Meuse, R.E. (2011). The impact of schooling on academic achievement: Evidence from homeschooled and traditionally schooled students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 43(3), 195-202. doi: 10.1037/a0022697

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