A few months ago I was at a family function chatting with a very sweet member of the family I don’t see very often. She was very curious about homeschooling, which made me happy because it’s obviously my favorite thing to talk about. After conversing for close to thirty minutes, she asked me a series of questions that I’m sure other homeschoolers have heard often, but still surprised me and, frankly, frustrated me. I didn’t let on, of course, and answered as politely and honestly as possible, but that one conversation really made me aware of all the false notions circulating about this educational choice that just don’t seem to go away- even when the answers are right in front of you.
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.