Here’s Why Public Schools Should Be Grateful for Homeschooling

Image courtesy of debspoons / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of debspoons / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been noticing lately that many public school teachers have a thinly disguised disdain for homeschooling. One of the most popular reasons I’ve read is because they feel that since most homeschoolers come from affluent families (a myth), lower income students are at a disadvantage. Honestly, I’m not sure I see the correlation, but that’s okay because I’ve compiled a list of reasons why public school should be grateful for homeschooling.

– Homeschoolers contribute to a lower student to teacher ratio. One of the largest complaints of public schools these days is that they’re overcrowded. They don’t have enough room, and the amount of students per classroom is growing, which makes for an overwhelming situation for teacher. Let’s take a look at some homeschooling statistics. In 2007, there were approximately 1.5 million homeschooled students. Now that was seven years ago, and I’m sure it’s risen since then, but we’ll go with that figure anyway. If homeschooling were to suddenly become illegal, our school system would be deluged with over 1 million new students. Now that would be a disadvantage to students everywhere.

– While we still pay school taxes, none of that goes to our children. I’m not complaining about that. We’ve chosen to homeschool, and we’re fine with this scenario. But let’s put this into perspective. School districts everywhere are hurting because of the growing population and the fact that there are many low income residents. There just isn’t enough money to go around. It’s an appalling situation, and I get it. So this is why I don’t understand why some people hold such animosity towards homeschoolers. We are helping public school students. How?… I’m getting to that.

– There are less students to buy curriculum for. I realize that some homeschoolers do use the school district textbooks, but they are firmly in the minority. I happen to be in an inner-city school district. When my kids were in school, they didn’t even have enough books for the students who were there. They actually had to share with other kids. Imagine what would happen if 1 million new students enrolled in our school system. It wouldn’t be pretty. Think about it.

– Our school district provides free breakfast and lunch to everyone in the district, regardless of income. There are that many destitute students. I’m so very thankful for this program because these free meals may be the only meals that some of these children eat. I will never put down our school district for this program as so many people do. It is needed. Some of these children go “home” to sleep in cars. The district even employs a homeless liaison. So it’s quite plain that less students means more money per student for these lifeline programs. Homeschoolers are given meals at home (or at co-op, or at the park- you know what I mean). This means the precious little amount of money budgeted for these students can be stretched a little further.

My conclusion? Homeschoolers unknowingly put public school at an advantage. I agree that every child deserves an education. Our choice is not only good for our children, but it also benefits those in brick-and-mortar schools, as well.

What are your thoughts on this? This is a touchy subject for some, but it needs to be addressed. I’d love to hear from you.

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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

17 thoughts on “Here’s Why Public Schools Should Be Grateful for Homeschooling”

  1. This is so true. We are contributing without using our entitlement. In some Canadian provinces (like BC and Alberta, I believe), there’s actually a financial compensation for homeschoolers, like a tax rebate. Not that I would want that. But there is a recognition there that homeschoolers are saving the system money.

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    1. I don’t know the details of it, but it actually goes even further in some Canadian provinces. Many homeshoolers are able to enroll in charter schools where their students actually home school and the parents get to pick the curriculum (or at least if they don’t outright pick the curriculum they can pick off of a list) and then they school will purchase the materials for them. Each student is typically given a set amount of funds that they can use each year for their curriculum. Some families get to keep the materials and some have to return them to the school after the year is up. The final bill is then picked up by the government as the Canadian governement provides funds both public and private education. That being said, I know that there are similar options for American homeschoolers, but they vary by state and there are limited spots in these types of schools. As a side note, I really enjoyed this series. I really want to homeschool my children when they are old enough but my husband is extremely concerned about the loss of income if I stay home. Luckily, we have a few more years before our daughter is school age to come up with a plan.

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      1. Go Canada! What a great benefit to Canadian homeschoolers! Unfortunately where I live, things are pretty strict. I’m glad you enjoyed the series. Best wishes with whatever you decide, but remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way!🙂

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    2. I should just state that the reason I wouldn’t want a tax rebate is because I believe that the more government involvement there is, the more they have a right to become involved. For example, the Canadian Catholic schools have always been publicly funded. The problem is that now they have to fall in line with the same worldview as the public schools. Private schools, however, which have never been publicly funded, are able to have much more control over what and how they teach.

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  2. I didn’t know that. It’s nice to see that some governments recognize the underlying benefits of homeschooling for their own districts. I’ve often thought it to be strange that homeschooling parents can’t even write off our homeschool purchases on our taxes.

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  3. I do agree with what you have said. I know I’ve heard an argument from other parents that we need to leave our children “in school” because we are taking all the “good students” out, and then there will be no one left to “raise the bar.” CRAZY!! Now, if that really was true (and I don’t think it is) then there would be more time for teachers to focus on the students who are struggling without the “good students” getting in the way. People come to with some crazy ideas sometimes!!

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  4. I enjoyed your article! I agree that so many public school teachers look down on homeschooling families and think our children aren’t being well educated. Statistics show that that’s not the case in the vast majority of cases. In fact, there are far more public school children who aren’t well educated than homeschooled children who aren’t. Also, I totally agree that we homeschoolers are really helping the public school system just as you mentioned. Also, as one of your commenters mentioned, I think it’s best that the government keeps totally out of our homeschooling. By accepting government money, we are giving them a certain amount of control over our homeschools. One of the reasons that homeschooling is so successful is that the govt doesn’t have control over us! It does sound good at first, but when you really think about it, it’s not a good idea at all.

    Thanks for linking up with us on the Hip Homeschool Hop!

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  5. As a former teacher (who did not homeschool her kids), I was seemingly the lone supporter of homeschooling within all teacher groups, public and private. I think that people who don’t like the notion of homeshchooling don’t understand it. People are often afraid of things they don’t understand and understanding new things takes work–something that teachers today have very little of! Every homeschooled family does things a bit differently, just like every teacher does. The difference is that public school teachers had to get their teaching degree and their continuing education credits to do what they do. The fact that homeschooling moms and dads are not required to do this can seem threatening. I do NOT think it has anything to do with wealth or poverty.

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    1. I agree that that can seem threatening. The comments that prompted this post, though, all had something to do with how homeschooling is unfair to students in lower income households, which I truly didn’t, and still don’t, understand the logic of.

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