There is an article in Time about urban homeschoolers. These are homeschool families in cities, as opposed to rural or suburban homeschoolers.
It’s more than an article about urban homeschoolers, though. It’s almost a history lesson of the American homeschool movement. It’s quite fascinating.
For example, when homeschooling started, it was illegal in 30 states. Think about that. The government would put you in jail if you dared to question its authority over the education of your children.
This attitude, that children don’t really belong to the parents but to society and parents are merely temporary caretakers of the collective’s kids, not only persists, but is preached openly still today. This ad on MSNBC drew quick and fierce condemnation for making exactly that assertion:
“We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and realize that kids belong to whole communities.”
That is not a parody ad. That’s real. Think about that attitude for a second.
Despite the collectivist attitude surrounding education, the homeschooling movement grew from around 10,000 in the mid 1970s to over 2 million today.
Today, the trend is reaching urban areas:
Homeschooler Gwen Fredette lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children. “Our school system has a lot of problems,” she says. That’s an understatement: Philadelphia public schools are in flat-out crisis. After a video of a 17-year-old student knocking a “conflict resolution specialist” unconscious at Southwest Philadelphia’s Bartram High went viral last year, a social studies teacher at the troubled school told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I had a better chance in Vietnam. . . . Here, you lock your door and pray no one comes in.”
Nor is violence the only concern in the city’s public schools. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 60 percent of West Philadelphia schools had serious problems with mold or water damage. Budget shortfalls have left schools without nurses and made a collapsing public-education system “a chronic and seemingly immutable fact of life,” according to Philadelphia Magazine. Academic outcomes are horrendous. Just 10 percent of graduates from the city school district go on to get college degrees.
How do homeschooled children do in college? It’s a solid question, considering one of the more common push-backs against homeschooling is parents aren’t prepared or trained to be teachers. Turns out, they do just fine:
Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers — 66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent — and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.
Home school students do so well, they are now being actively recruited by colleges.
Now here’s something from the Time article that’s interesting. For years, homeschoolers had to answer questions about socialization, as if going to public school and dealing with the collective result of poor parenting is the only path to proper socialization. But now, with people realizing that homeschooling isn’t just a bunch of religious nuts, suddenly that isn’t a problem:
How will children learn to be well-adjusted members of society, the thinking goes, if they aren’t in school with other kids their age? Won’t they become social outcasts? Homeschoolers, particularly urban ones, view the question as ludicrous. Cities are social places.
Anyone fearing that homeschooled kids are being improperly socialized should visit the Yonkers home of Anne and Erik Tozzi. The couple met at Oxford, where Erik, a native New Yorker, spent a year studying medieval history. The Tozzis say that living on a closely packed city street has been a social asset for their five homeschooled children.
Author and homeschool dad Joe Kelly told the Huffington Post the same thing years ago, saying, “I know that sounds counter-intuitive because they’re not around dozens or hundreds of other kids every day, but I would argue that’s why they’re better socialized.”
The biggest obstacle to homeschooling in America continues to be government. State laws differ, with some being more liberal while others make burdensome demands. The Home School Legal Defense Association rates the states by regulations. The states with the highest amount of government involvement are in the northeast, while the Midwest boasts the highest number of homeschool friendly places to live.
As homeschooling grows, parents in states like New York and Massachusetts will have to become part of the school choice movement or become leaders in it. Government and the collectivists who reject education outside of bureaucratic control won’t surrender their authority easily.