New data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows that the more educated parents are, the more likely they are to homeschool their children.
According to information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of homeschooled students between the ages of 5 and 17 has increased dramatically over the last decade, soaring 61.8 percent. The data also indicates that the more educated the parents, the more likely they are to homeschool their children.
According to the newly released data, an estimated 1.6 percent of students whose parents earned a high school diploma or less are homeschooled, while 2.2 percent of students whose parents have received vocational/technical training or “some college education” are homeschooled. Additionally, 2.4 percent of students whose parents have earned a bachelor’s degree or received some graduate education are homeschooled, and 2.5 percent of students whose parents earned a graduate or professional degree are homeschooled.
Though homeschool support organizations emphasize that parental motivation to offer their children the best education – and not higher level education degrees – is most important factor in determining whether to homeschool, the data trend suggests that higher educated parents are perhaps seeing the value and high quality of a homeschool education.
However, as Breitbart News’ political editor Rich Tucker noted Saturday, philosopher Daniel Dennett recently voiced his view at The Atlantic that “unsupervised homeschooling” is a “contemporary habit that will be most unthinkable 100 years from now.”
Despite the federal government’s recent data suggesting that higher educated parents are more likely to homeschool their children, Dennett asserts the common gross misperception of narrow-minded parents choosing homeschooling as a means to brow-beat their children into accepting only one set of ideas:
When we come to recognize that willfully misinforming a child—or keeping a child illiterate, innumerate, and uninformed—is as evil as sexual abuse, we will forbid parents to treat their children as possessions whom they may indoctrinate as they please. They may teach their children any religious creed they like, but only if they also teach the uncontroversial facts about the world’s religions so their children can make an informed choice when they grow up.
Summing up what he terms the “silliness” of Dennett’s position, Tucker writes, “Homeschooling is taking off because it works, and because it empowers parents. The bigger question isn’t whether it’ll be banned in 100 years; it’s ‘what will government schools look like in 100 years, with dwindling student populations?'”
Mike Smith, president of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), agrees in a statement to Breitbart News:
This growth confirms what we are seeing at HSLDA as well. Homeschooling will continue to grow as more parents are being exposed to the possibility and benefits of homeschooling. The major reasons people are choosing home schooling is that the primary competition to home schooling – public schools – is continuing to look less desirable. Violence at schools, bullying, academic digression, and social activism is increasing rather than decreasing, and more and more parents have come to the resolve that they simply can’t subject their children to this environment. Until these issues are addressed and get reversed, home schooling will continue to grow.
Echoing Smith, William Estrada, director of federal relations at HSLDA, tells Breitbart News the federal government’s newly released data on the tremendous growth of homeschooling is “what we have seen on the ground in all 50 states.”
“More and more parents are choosing to homeschool their children as they see the successful social and academic outcomes of homeschool graduates,” he said.
Michael Farris, Jr., at HSLDA media relations, added his observation that many younger parents “are choosing homeschooling because of the flexibility it offers in tailoring an education that meets their child’s individual needs. The public school method is one-size-fits-all, and people are realizing that there are better alternatives out there.”
Homeschooling veteran Ellen Gerwitz of Florida tells Breitbart News that she and her husband graduated all three of their children from homeschooling, and found results much different from Dennett’s characterization.
“The benefits from homeschooling have been numerous,” Gerwitz said. “Among the top ones are children who are independent thinkers and have not been indoctrinated by the concept of institutional education; close family ties; individualized instruction; self-motivation; time management skills; and more free time for hobbies and part-time jobs as well as community/church service.”
In advising new homeschooling parents, Gerwitz recommends avoiding re-creating the model of institutionalized education in the home, since the reason why parents homeschool is to provide a more individualized education for their children.
“Homeschooling has continued to grow more and more popular because the socialist agenda in schools to dumb down our society for the purposes of control has become more and more visible to parents,” Gerwitz adds. “They may not know why the schools are not working for their children, but parents can recognize failure when they see it.”
Attorney Deborah Stevenson, executive director of National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD), agrees there are numerous reasons why more parents are choosing to homeschool their children.
“Quite simply, it works,” she tells Breitbart News. “Homeschooling allows true parental choice, the freedom to learn in a way that makes sense for each child, and to allow students to advance at their own pace.”
“More parents understand they have the right to instruct their own children and more now know of the many success stories of homeschooled students entering college, earning degrees, and moving on to successful careers,” Stevenson continued, observing as well the benefits of homeschooling to students with special needs.
“Parents understand that providing individual instruction to children who have special needs is easier to obtain in a homeschool setting that it is to obtain from a public school, especially if the public school is inflexible about the kind of special needs instruction it is willing to provide, to pay for, or to make available.”
In addition, Stevenson notes the technology of the Internet has only increased homeschooling families’ access to many resources and supports.
“The rise of the Internet, social media, and homeschool support groups makes obtaining assistance and support for parental choices easier,” she explains. “There are more group academics and activities available for homeschooled children today than in the past.”
As the U.S. Department of Education observes the higher education levels of parents who are homeschooling their children, Stevenson also points out that institutions of higher learning are actively recruiting homeschooled children.
“Homeschooled students bring to the institution a varied background and a willingness to learn on their own,” she says.
“Parents may no longer be content to allow the public school system to compel their children to meet the needs of an inflexible curriculum,” she observes. “Providing an individualized curriculum allows a child the freedom to learn in a way that is specific to his or her needs, and is what fosters the best interest of that child.”