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Why Are Urban, Professional Parents Choosing Homeschooling?

Why Are Urban, Professional Parents Choosing Homeschooling?

The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimated that in the U.S. in 2010,  there were over 2 million children being homeschooled. That represents about 4% of the country’s schoolkids.

Most parents who are homeschooling are doing so for religious or moral reasons. But the homeschooler demographic is changing.  According to Linda Perlstein, writing in Newsweek, there are an estimated 300,000 homeschooled children in America’s cities, many of them children of secular, highly educated professionals.

Why Is This Happening?

Here’s what Perlstein has to say:

Many of these parents feel that city schools—or any schools—don’t provide the kind of education they want for their kids. Just as much, though, their choice to homeschool is a more extreme example of a larger modern parenting ethos: that children are individuals, each deserving a uniquely curated upbringing. That peer influence can be noxious. (Bullying is no longer seen as a harmless rite of passage.) That DIY—be it gardening, knitting, or raising chickens—is something educated urbanites should embrace.

And she continues:

Several homeschooling moms would first tell me, “I know this sounds selfish,” and then say they feared that if their kids were in school, they’d just get the “exhausted leftovers” at the end of the day. Says Rebecca Wald, a Baltimore homeschooler, “Once we had a child and I realized how fun it was to see her discover stuff about the world, I thought, why would I want to let a teacher have all that fun?”

Parents Want A Unique, Customized Education For Their Child

Some parents are concerned that the current push under the No Child Left Behind Act for more and more academics starting ever earlier is not what education should be about, and they fear that their kids will get turned off to school altogether.

Others worry that their children won’t get the education that’s exactly right for them; by doing the schooling themselves, at home, they can assure that their kids are delving deeply into the subjects that interest them most.

As a teacher, I can say that with differentiated instruction, we try to accommodate all students’ needs and learning styles, but it’s impossible to do that perfectly with a classroom of 30 unique, individual kids.

The Downside

But is that such a bad thing? Don’t children need to learn to work together with their peers and help each other? And is it such a good idea for children to be constantly with their parents as they are growing up?

It is true that nowadays there are lots of resources available for homeschooling parents including, in some cities, curriculum, centers and classes designed especially for these youngsters.

And yet, I worry that these homeschooling parents will become the helicopter parents of the future, unwilling to let their children flourish independently, or to give them the freedom to grow as separate individuals.

Will These Kids Know How To Interact With Others From Different Backgrounds?

And, as someone who grew up in a very isolated town in the southwest of England, it also concerns me that these children won’t know how to interact with people from backgrounds quite different from theirs.

What do you think?

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Photo Credit: Multimedia Photography And Design – Newhouse School

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116 comments

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11:44AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Seriously? Studies have shown time and time again that homeschooled children are advanced in socialization compared to their public school counterparts. They are capable of socializing with ALL age groups, not just ones the exact same age (because where else in life does that happen besides school? I don't work with anyone my exact same age). They are also kinder, more caring to people of all backgrounds. There is a difference between socializing & socialized...learn it before commenting or writting articles about it.
They have also proven time and time again to do the same or better in college &/or work enviroments. Pretty cool for unsocialized kids!

As for "helicopter parenting" you either are or you aren't and the method of schooling won't change that. Most homeschool parents are homeschoolong so they can actually let their children flourish independently, or to give them the freedom to grow as separate individuals. Not the other way around.

7:20PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

I absolutely plan to homeschool.. and it is simply because I went through public school and even in all AP and honors classes I was bored out of my mind. The teachers rarely have the time or desire to tailor education to each student's needs. I can do that for my son, and give him the opportunity to sort of put emphasis on the things he truly loves or excels at. With so many parents choosing to homeschool there are now homeschool "groups" available where kids can get the social expansion they need through field trips, play days, and extracurricular activities. (many sports are offered through the YMCA or other activity based community affiliations).

4:33PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Eternal G: Precisely.

7:38PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

Because education nowadays leaves a lot to be desired for???

10:54AM PST on Feb 9, 2012

"Don’t children need to learn to work together with their peers and help each other?"

How does homeschooling prevent this from happening?

"... is it such a good idea for children to be constantly with their parents as they are growing up?"

You can't be serious. You do realize that public education, as we know it today, is little over 100 years old. For thousands of years, children have flourished in the company of their parents and siblings.

"And yet, I worry that these homeschooling parents will become the helicopter parents of the future, unwilling to let their children flourish independently, or to give them the freedom to grow as separate individuals."

This is unsubstantiated fear-mongering and prejudice.

"... it also concerns me that these children won’t know how to interact with people from backgrounds quite different from theirs. What do you think?"

It concerns me that children who attend the schools in their local district never meet children from other backgrounds because they only meet other kids who live in their local district! Not to mention they only socialize with kids their own age. That is, when they are allowed to socialize- I spent alot of time in detention for 'socializing'. ;)

I'm sorry to sound irritated, but these kinds of articles are so tiresome. What is to be feared from parents who care enough about their kids to take complete and total responsibility (as well as foot the bill!) for their children's educations? Th

6:43PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

I would love to homeschool (I am a social science professor with a liberal arts degree and my brother is a hard science professor so we would have much of the knowledge covered), but education is a social process and needs to take place in a social context. Where it does not, our democracy and social relations suffer, individually and collectively.

6:18PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Ms. Molland, I thought you asked some good questions and responded to them on my blog: http://mamaofletters.com/2012/02/07/in-response-to-a-teachers-questions-about-homeschooling/ I am planning to homeschool my two boys.

6:44AM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Personally, I think this increase in homeschooling is just an extension of 'helicopter parenting.' Parents are paranoid and overprotective and can't stand to let their kids out of their sight. I think that it's harmful to children and stunts their emotional and social development.

5:36AM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Home schooling is not allowed in Venezuela, unfortunatelly.. education has diminished in quality and content and indoctrination has aumented.. Communism is a bad thing...or so i think. Home schooling is great, if you are willing to dedicate the hours necessary to do it...it is not as easy as some people think and you really appreciate teachers after you have home schooled! but remember, you can shelter you kids too much from reality....

2:32AM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Although I taught (age11-16) for more than 30 years, I wouldn't have tried to home school my own children because there was so much didn't know about other subjects, particularly the sciences, that my teaching colleagues did. The kids loved team games too so they'd have lost out there.

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