I’m proud to tell others that my son is home-schooled. He has never attended a conventional school.
My wife teaches him, just as she taught our daughter who is now attending college. In pursuit of a good education for our children, my wife chose to sacrifice the possibility of having a career. He learns better than most kids, if you ask me.
We equip our son with the knowledge he needs to choose values and ideals of his own.
Compared to children educated in public schools, the average home-schooled child achieves higher scores in all areas of learning measured by standardized achievement tests, according to the Widener Law Review report entitled, “Evidence for Homeschooling: Constitutional Analysis in Light of Social Science Research.”
Children educated at home also score higher than average on emotional intelligence, a measure of social competence, according to a study conducted by Jennifer Adkins at Western Kentucky University. Home-schoolers also have fewer behavioral problems than kids educated in public schools.
But the benefits of homeschooling go beyond academics and social life. Here are a few.
1.) Kids learn family values and common sense.
In an effort not to alienate transgender students, a Nebraska school district suggested teachers avoid using gendered expressions like “boys and girls.” In Portland, Oregon, a school principal accused a teacher of racism when a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was mentioned in a lesson. Even in Texas, a school banned red and green from its winter party to avoid any connection to Christmas.
As public schools continue to cater to special interests, they lose the ability to effectively educate and socialize kids to function in mainstream society. Teaching kids to be hyper-vigilant against offending people sets them up to be excellent people-pleasers — but they won’t be very good decision-makers.
I want my son to learn family values and traditions that have made our family strong and successful: confidence, conviction, courage.
He has the freedom to choose his values and traditions. Through home schooling, we teach him about the foundation of faith, theories of evolution, religious holidays, and how to shoot a gun. We equip him with the knowledge he needs to then choose values and ideals of his own.
2.) Kids have no little or peer pressure.
As children grow up, they are naturally influenced by their surroundings and pressured by those around them. Often, children make decisions as a group — whether those decisions are objectively right or wrong. Children, especially teen boys, pressure each other to conform to behaviors that can destroy an adolescent boy’s self-image; this is common on the school grounds and after school.
Teen boys also get pressured to dress alike, and disrespect girls and women. Boys who don’t conform are singled out and targeted for bullying. Since home-schoolers usually have home-schooled friends, they are less likely to make harmful decisions as a group — especially since they have fewer behavioral issues than public school students.
I’m happy to help my son avoid such destructive behaviors as smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, bullying, sexting, and using vulgar language and gestures.
3.) Kids’ natural abilities and interests are nurtured.
Public schools are designed to produce the most education with the least amount of effort. The school can be like a factory assembly line. In many cases, talented teachers have little room to innovate and no room to adjust their lesson plans to the unique needs of individual children.
Like sheep, children are led from one lesson to the next. In many schools, if one falls behind, they’re left behind. Children have different learning styles and not all learn well in a classroom setting. Public schools work well for some kids — but not for all.
Home schooling isn’t for every child, either.
My teenage son is a hands-on learner, and at home, we adjust his lessons to match his pace, interests, talents, and learning style. Learning math can be tied to his talents in building and repairing things. Reading and writing lessons can focus on his interest in animals. History lessons can go deeper into subjects and personalities that fascinate him.
4.) Kids stand out.
Astute observers frequently ask my wife and me, “Are your kids home-schooled?”
When we confirm their hunch, the usual response is something like, “I could tell. They act more mature than other kids.”
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt received most of their education at home.
Home-schooled children often stand out. They’ve been encouraged to be themselves, not follow the crowd, and be respectful to others.
Combined with their above-average academic achievements and emotional intelligence, these values set them up to be successful adults, who may change the course of history.
Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt received most of their education at home. Other notable home-schooled graduates include scientist Albert Einstein, inventor Thomas Edison, industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and writer Mark Twain.
Jon Beaty, life coach and father of two, lives near Portland, Oregon. He’s the author of the book “If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying: 7 Habits for Thriving in Your Faith, Relationships and Work.”