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How Effective is Home Schooling?

Mar 18, 2008
More and more parents are turning to home schooling as an alternative to traditional education. Doubtless, this makes sense. Our homes are where we learn most of what life requires of us; and no teacher can do as much for a student as a parent does by talking, reading, and otherwise instructing a child. Home schooling extends this, and does so quite effectively: in fewer hours per day, home-schooled children frequently cover more material than students in traditional schools.

However, not all parents are prepared to take over the education of their children. They may not have the education themselves to do this; they may not have enough time; and most unfortunate, many of them simply aren't interested.

Given those three, it seems that schools are still necessary. And without a doubt, schools are still important for the foreseeable future: educational attainment in formal schools correlates strongly with every quality-of-life indicator. As it has been said, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

It would be wonderful if all parents had those the three fundamental educational resources, knowledge, time, and interest. But it is rare that parents have all three. And almost no parent has the comprehensive educational mastery necessary for a complete education. Even the best-educated parents frequently seek teachers for some subjects, whether the arts, math, sciences, foreign language, or some other.

And even if the rare parent were able to cover all of the necessary disciplines, limits still exist: there are no home-schooled college students.

Is home schooling the gold standard? In the future, will all children be home-schooled? Certainly, more and more of the world is attaining higher and higher educational levels. Possibly one day, every family will have one adult with the necessary resources to educate all children at home.

So home-schooling is very attractive, and perhaps one day will be universal. But for the near future, brick-and-mortar schools are still necessary for most children.
About the Author
Joseph N. Abraham MD is president of The American Public School Endowments and booksXYZ.com, the Nonprofit Bookstore Supporting Education. booksXYZ.com lists over 2,000,000 paperbacks, hardbacks, and audio books. Dr. Abraham is also the author of Happiness: A Physician/Biologist Looks at Life, an innovative self help book looking at Zen, biology, and fulfilment.
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