HSLDA President Micheal Smith cited a study done by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). They studied homeschooling and released a report which included the top three reasons parents choose to homeschool they are:
1. Safety: 31.2% These included negative peer pressure, drugs, crime and violence.
2. Teaching from a religious perspective: 29.8%,
3. Desire for a more academically rigorous education, 16.5% of parents.
My answer would have actually changed depending on when I was asked.
My introduction into homeschooling began when I was 19 years old. I was a freshman at the U of Michigan at the time and I was disillusioned with the education I had received. I graduated in the top ten percent of my class (800 students) from an "excellent" school and yet I felt I was poorly educated. I had never read a "great book" and my understanding of both US and World History was pathetic. I did excell at math and to my schools credit I did have calculus. But I knew I wanted something better for my children.
I had just become a Christian and began attending a church in the area. There were a lot of young families and many were homeschooling. As I became acquainted with the families I was more and more convinced that homeschooling was an option that I would strongly consider when I had a family. So initially, my decision was based alot on academics. But as I began to grow in my faith and study the bible I learned that I did not want my children to have only knowledge but to have wisdom.
Slowly, my initial preference to homeschool turned into a conviction. I am to the point now where I would not consider giving up homeschooling any more than I would consider divorcing my husband.
So if I were asked this question when I first thought about homeschooling I would have answered with academics. But now it would be religious conviction.
This study brings up an interesting questions; If safety or the standards in education improved, would families return to the public schools? I bet many would. But some may also be like me, they start out for academic reasons and then it becomes something more.
What is your motivation for homeschooling? Is it a conviction or preference?
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