I haven’t posted on homeschooling for awhile, although regular readers will know that I homeschooled my own children for six years (middle school, more or less.)
But I wanted to share a recent article on homeschooling that explores and explodes some popular stereotyping about homeschoolers – basically that we’re all religious nutcases and political conservatives. The article quotes Georgetown law professor Robin West:
“The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.”
Okay, that’s just crazy. There’s now been considerable research into homeschooling (I especially recommend Homeschooling in America by Vanderbilt education professor Joseph Murphy.) Homeschooling has attracted parents from a wide range of beliefs, occupations, ethnic backgrounds and incomes, although they do have a couple of things in common: They’re not happy with traditional education options, and a majority of their kids perform at the top of the educational charts.
But what really captured my attention was Robin West’s plea to fellow liberal professors NOT to choose homeschooling for their own children. Why bother . . . unless this highly-educated cohort is, well, looking for a better educational option for their own families? I’m guessing there’s a story here.
Anyway, if you’re interested in this issue you should check the story out.