Homeschoolers are accustomed to defending their choices. There is always someone who hasn't read the latest statistics on standardized test scores and assumes parents can't teach their own children. Of course, there are also people who are concerned about "socialization", as well as those who feel children should be exposed to a wider variety of beliefs, values, and opinions than they imagine homeschooling parents provide.
All of the preceding concerns have effectively been laid to rest by several large studies. Homeschoolers score at least thirty percentage points above public schooled children on standardized tests. Colleges are actively recruiting students who have been educated at home.
Now that a generation of homeschooled students have grown up, we can see that they are generally successful in their jobs and usually get married and have children. They are also more active in their community and more involved in politics than those who received public schooling.
Although some families homeschool in order to shield their children from what they perceive as negative influences, the vast majority of these parents still incorporate information about other beliefs, cultures, and religions into their child's education.
Homeschooled kids have fared a lot better than some people imagined they would, so now there's a new concern. It seems that some believe families who homeschool are cheating the public school system.
Teachers generally acknowledge that students do better in school when their families take an interest in their education. These are the families who are most likely to homeschool. Removing them from the public school system dilutes the average score for everyone.
Parents who homeschool have often been members of the PTA or active volunteers at their child's school. When these parents leave, their limited time and energy is concentrated on their own children, instead of directed toward the public schools.
Public school funding is based, in part, on the number of students attending. School districts do not receive funding for students who are being homeschooled, thereby reducing the amount of tax money disbursed to the public schools.
Because of these things, it has been suggested that increased numbers of students being homeschooled has contributed to the decline of the public schools.
Accidental homeschoolers think that's a backwards way of looking at it. They would argue that poor public schools contribute to their decision to homeschool. But what if it's true? What if homeschoolers could markedly improve the public school system simply by returning and getting involved?
Improvement takes time. If returning your student to school meant the school would eventually be better for other children, would you make the sacrifice? People often sacrifice their own well being for the greater good, but it's adults that are making those decisions for themselves. Don't parents usually do what they feel is best for their own kids and wait until their child is old enough to decide what he wants to sacrifice?
Do familes have an inherent responsibility to the public schools?