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March 13, 2002
Home-Schooling Vs. Traditional Forms of Education
1. The home school movement has grown from 100,000 in 1984 to nearly 2 million home-schooled students today (Lyman par.3). Not that long ago, the thought of schooling children at home was almost unheard of and thought to be something that would be done in the pioneer days. In 1969, Raymond Moore, a former U.S. Department of Education employee, and John Holt, a veteran teacher in alternative style schools, laid the foundation for what some have called one of the greatest educational movements of our time. In the years since, home schooling has become more widely known and many people are taking into consideration the possibility of this untraditional form of elementary and secondary education. There are three different points of view about home schooling: There are people who believe that home schooling is the best form of education; there are those who believe that public school will provide the best education; and there are people who believe that private school provides a better education.
2. There are many reasons why people choose to support home schooling. Some people think that children can get a better education at home, compared to a traditional form such as public or private school. “Popular belief holds that home schooled children are socially backward and deprived, but research shows the opposite: that home-schooled children are actually better socialized than their peers,” says Claudia Hepburn, Director of Education Policy at the Fraser Institute (Taylor par.2). Some people are home schooled for religious, or family reasons. Some people believe that they can better develop their child’s character or morality by teaching them at home. Susanne Allen, 35, a home-schooling mother from Atlanta, claims that being schooled at home will make her children “better citizens” because home schooling gives children the opportunity to work together rather than working individually. Allen said, “They learn to be caring for other people by seeing older siblings care for them” (Cloud par.16). Home schoolers are really being prepared for the real word, contrary to what some may believe. Working with their siblings at home prepares them for the relationships that they will have outside of the home.
3. Some people dislike public or private school education because they object to what the schools teach or because they believe that there are too many student behavior problems. Luigi Manca, a communications professor at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., who home schools his daughter says, “The problem is the schools have abandoned their mission. They’ve forgotten about educating” (Cloud par.8). Amy Langley, a home school mother of two in Decatur, Georgia, believes that “Two-income families don’t participate enough to make public schools work, and too much class time is spent on discipline” (Cloud par.16). There are many people who believe that the pros of home schooling outweigh the cons, but there are still people who believe that the traditional forms of education are better.
4. One of those traditional forms of education is public school. Some people choose to send their children to public school because they went to public school themselves and they never really thought of doing something different for their children. Another reason is that many families cannot afford to send their children to private school or to teach at home because both cost more money than you would spend to support the PTA at a public school. Some parents believe that the public schools are changing their methods to provide a more challenging curriculum by piling on the homework and adding more tests to the syllabus. In 1997 in a Public Agenda survey, 42% of parents of kids in public school said private schools had higher standards; only 22% said their own schools were more demanding. But in a new survey, Public Agenda found that 35% of public school parents still think that private schools are more demanding and 34% think public schools are tougher (Carnahan par.17). Other statistics show other reasons why parents choose public school over anything else. Of this year’s Presidential Scholars, 107 attend public schools. Of National Merit Scholars, three-fourths attend public schools, and nearly two-thirds of Harvard freshmen come from public schools (Carnahan par. 8). These statistics show that a public school education may be the best choice. Public school education may be getting better, but there are still those who believe the only good education is a private school education.
5. Private school is the other traditional form of education that most people are accustomed to. A reason some people choose private school over their other options is because they think spending the extra money will guarantee them a better education. Some parents, like Susan Rhea of Dayton, Ohio, choose a private school education over a public one because they feel that their children are not being challenged in public school. Rhea, who pulled her first grade son out of public school, says, “His school just wasn’t challenging” (Carnahan par. 1). Another reason might be that people think that private schools are run very well compared to the public schools, which are overseen by local governments. Statistics show that national test scores would be even lower than they are now if the private schools were omitted from the total results. Private school supporters believe that the government number crunchers show conclusively that far better results are being produced by private schools. Some parents also appreciate the religious or moral foundations of many private schools.
6. Everyone has an opinion about education and which form is the best. Home schooling is the new form of education that is rising in popularity, public school is a form of education that has been around for many years and is most widely used, and private school is the other traditional form of education that some people still trust over the other options. The evidence shows that home schooling is the best form of education. Home schoolers achieve higher test scores than students in other forms of education do. Public and private schools waste time on things that are not relevant to school. Home schoolers learn socialization skills away form the dangers and peer pressure associated with public and private schools, and home schoolers learn study skills and develop the ability to direct and organize themselves toward a goal. College admissions officers have begun to seek out home schoolers because they have already developed the study habits that university students need. Home schooling seems to be the obvious choice for education because of all the evidence supporting it. Home schooling has not always been a popular form of education, but it has grown in size and popularity for the short amount of time that it has been around.
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