Monday, October 28, 2013

The Next Generation of Homeschoolers

The last fifteen plus years of studying education and public schools has only re-enforced my opinion that there is little hope for public schools. There are so many problems that I can only see the Gordian Knot of government schools getting bigger.

Homeschooling gives me a ray of hope for our country. I believe homeschoolers will have an impact far greater than their numbers would indicate, because knowledge is power.  And since in general children who are homeschooled have a better education, I think they will greatly influence society.

Ronald Reagan said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” I am afraid that like freedom, homeschooling must be passed on to the next generation. In general it seems that most children who are homeschooled view it positively and plan to homeschool their children. (My three daughters, ages 19, 17 and 13, have all indicated they plan to homeschool their children. My son, age 7, hasn’t talked too much about even having children, let along if he will homeschool them.  :-)  )

Even though most homeschooled children seem to like homeschooling I am wondering how do we increase the likelihood that our children will want to homeschool. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with:

Make it a positive experience – if our children enjoy the experience then they will want the same for their children. Homeschooling can be such a blast, from hanging out with siblings for hours, to doing vacations in off season, to being able to learn exciting and cool things when you want to learn them and at your own pace.

Explain the benefit – It is important to articulate why you decided to homeschool and enumerate various benefits that come from homeschooling. I know our reasons have increased and changed over the years. One of our first was we wanted our children to retain their love for learning. Over the years we found dozens more.  Once our children see the benefits then they will be more likely to pass on the experience.

Paint an honest picture – Children are pretty sharp. If we whitewash homeschooling and make public schools out to be the bogyman at some point our chidlren may toss out everything we said about homeschooling. By allowing children to see the few (very few) benefits of government schools and the few (very few) warts of homeschooling they won’t be easily swept up if someone points out a flaw in their education world view.

If you have any other suggestions on how to help our children homeschool the next generation, please add a comment.

1 comment:

Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

Off topic:...

A UH Economics Department study of the impact of furlough days (school closures) on juvenile arrest rates:...In School and Out of Trouble?
"What happens to crime when 180,000 DOE students and all of their teachers are given the day off? When a fiscal crisis led to 17 "Furlough Fridays" during the 2009/2010 school year, we found ourselves in a unique position to find out. While it is tempting to imagine streets being flooded with idle teenagers up to no good, a new UHERO working paper titled "In School and Out of Trouble? Investigating the Effects of Furloughing Public School Teachers on Juvenile Crime in Hawaii" suggests the contrary.
The authors, Randall Akee (an assistant professor at UCLA), Timothy Halliday (an associate professor at UH-Manoa) and Sally Kwak (an economist at the US Congress Joint Committee on Taxation), used juvenile arrest data from the Honolulu Police Department to investigate the effects of this unusual policy on juvenile crime. Using such a policy to test the effects of shortening the school year on crime is an example of what economists call a "natural experiment;" an observational study that allows researchers to ascertain causal relationships without using a randomized trial.

Contrary to what many would have predicted, their results indicate that the furloughs were associated with fewer juvenile assault arrests for assault and drug-related crimes. Over the course of the entire academic year, there were 20 fewer arrests for assault and 15 fewer arrests for drug offenses due to the furloughs. These reductions are larger than effects produced from national studies. It is hard to say exactly why this is but the authors speculate that, since 1 in 5 students in Hawaii are in private schools, the average socioeconomic status of families who do send their children to public schools may be lower than elsewhere which may enhance the ability of school to facilitate rather than prevent crime."