Home schools are in peril. Despite their popularity as an alternative to public schools, this program is facing some major challenges. This development has little to do with the quality or commitment of the teachers (most being parents to the students) or the motivation and intelligence of the students. Instead the culprit threatening this institution is a decades-long reform movement in America’s traditional schools.
Academic standards have changed the landscape of today’s education. Where once local school board and community leaders decided what was important for students to learn, state official – and in some cases, the national government – have set up a collection of curriculum meant to address the socializations and desired education of the students.
The implementation of standards have become so pervasive that colleges, universities, the military, and trade schools have either tied in their requirements with these standards or have come up with their own.
The standards are usually state implemented. They are suppose to reflect the current trends in today’s society. It may range from the use of technology, lessons on new laws or new discoveries in sciences, and an understanding of an ever-changing political process. These standards were created with the intent of preparing students for a changing and complex world.
As result, money and resources are being sent to public and private schools to meet these needs. This alone can leave many home schools at a disadvantage, especially for home schools/family households struggling to make ends meet.
Even the prospects of students landing a job after high school or going onto colleges have been diminished. Again, resources such as school-work programs, workability (for special education), and college or military recruiting are done at the local schools. These programs can help students prepare for getting into the workforce or moving onto college or other activities.
This is not to say that those who preferred home schooling over traditional have made a bad decision. Like the standards movement, many parents who choose to place their children in a home school environment have done so because they want them to learn something they feel they need to know.
However, home schooling and standards do have a conflict; it boils down to an argument between who should choose what the students must learn. Is it the individual choice of the parents or society’s?
In the long run, social norms may be a dominant decision maker, thus favoring the academic standards established by the state (or in the case for science, a national organization).
Still, this doesn’t mean the end of home schooling. Good home-school teachers and parents can adapt. School districts throughout the country offer home-schooling. Usually, a credentialed teacher will make home visits and teach subjects in accordance to the standards.
Also, for parents who choose to do the home school teaching, standards are available online or at local teacher supply stores.
If standards are not what the home school teacher/parents want, then another tactic is to find out what the child wants to do for the future. If the student wants to go to college, then the teacher/parent needs to research the qualifications for college entrances (again, books are available for test-preps, admission, and other information pertaining to college entrance).
Also, home schooling has networks throughout the country. There are organizations or groups made up of home school teachers, tutors, students and parents that are ready to assist in daily educational planning and effective teaching techniques. They may even help with technology and other amenities traditional school programs have.
Standards are an essential part of today’s academic culture. They’re guidelines that are designed to reflect what students need to learn in order to become productive members of society.
While standards may threaten traditional home school curriculum, it will not destroy it. Home school teachers, tutors, and parents have access to these standards, and at the minimum can use them as guides to help their students reach new academic heights.