The Atlantic addressed a growing trend in “The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families” [Feb. 17], the trend of black parents deciding to homeschool their children to protect them from experiencing institutional racism.
The National Home Education Research Institute estimates that there are about 220,000 black children in homeschool, about 10 percent of the homeschooling population.
From The Atlantic:
“[…] barriers that in the past might have left homeschooling out of the question for many working-class families are being lifted. Greater access to public-education resources is making homeschooling more appealing, too. […] the availability of subsidies ensuring homeschooled children have access to standard public-school nutritional offerings, for example, and public programs allowing homeschooled students to enroll in extracurricular activities and after-school sports as reasons why families are increasingly seeing homeschooling as a valid alternative to traditional education.”
I have had many conversations in the past few months with a close friend who has lots opinions about homeschooling, most of which involve his strong conviction that students in general are not taught STEM subjects in ways that will help them advance academically and professionally.
We’re both black and we both think homeschool could be a serious option for future children. The Atlantic’s profile on black families who homeschool let us know we are not alone.
Based on conversations we’ve had, here are my top three reasons for considering homeschool:
- Allows parents flexibility over which subjects to emphasize (i.e. STEM, history, philosophy, religion, language).
- Allows children flexibility to become more expressive, creative and independent thinkers.
- Gives families an opportunity to create a more comfortable, nurturing learning environment.
My initial thought when the topic of homeschool or montessori school first came up between me and my friend was, Oh goodness, how would they ever really succeed outside of a structured environment? Over time, however, I began to wonder about what administrators and teachers really focus on most in conventional school settings? Is the mastery of subjects the foremost concern? Ideally, it should be. But is it?
I was educated in both public and private school settings at various points of my primary, secondary and college education. I’d also like to consider myself to be a critical observer of the education system nationally and locally. All things considered, it appears that in public school settings there needs to be more attention on comprehension, retention and application.
The attractive solutions to providing better education for one’s children seem to come down to three main options: homeschool, private school or moving to better school districts. All three require money. And there is the imbalance. Many families cannot afford to keep their children home, hand over thousands of dollars for private education or afford to move miles away from where they currently live. The bigger issue at hand is correcting the problems of public education.
That’s where the conversation about Common Core comes in. More on that later.