growth in homeschooling


Growth in Home Schooling
by Carl Caton

Another school year has begun and another amazing advance in the home schooling movement. Rather than quote specific growth numbers, let me just say that no other educational format is on the same upward trajectory as the home schooling trend. It is an amazing time to participate in the process.

The explosion in home schooling points to several interesting concepts. First, there is an entrepreneurial revolution happening in education through the format of home schooling. A professional writer and home schooling father creates an amazing curriculum called Novel in a Year. This is a high quality product that takes your student, step by step, through the process of writing a fiction novel. That, my friends, is entrepreneurship. There are many dozens of these programs out there - and hundreds that are currently in development. It is an innovative explosion of creative, high quality products that are getting results.

Second, there are people with amazing credentials who are using technology - mostly the power of the internet - to provide free, high quality instruction on YouTube videos. One such gentlemen is a highly distinguished and gifted teacher, with more diplomas than one can count, who has posted over 1,800 high quality math videos online. What began as an effort to help a family member has evolved into a massive hub for learning. When I visited his site recently, more than 1,500 students were learning online at that very moment. And for free, I might add.

The "educational establishment" is wringing its hands, trying to figure out what to do with this flurry of innovation. Generally, groups are taking one of two approaches: attack or copycat. Many educational groups are attacking the home school movement in order to protect their selfish interest. Here's the funny part of that story: it won't work. Let me give you a laughable scenario of how this works. An educational group attacks a rural, home schooling family on the basis that the parents don't know how to teach, in fact, "those parents can hardly read and write!!!!" True. But let me ask you... where were those parents educated? Those parents you are threatening because they can hardly read or write are the same parents that likely attended public schools. Isn't that funny to think about. A failing public school establishment wants to discredit its own product.

I found this to be true in my own situation. I was working on my son's high school transcript and discovered that I had misspelled a word. I was horrified by the thought of having made such a blunder and being ridiculed by some menacing educational policing effort until I considered the thought: "I went to public high school and received a college degree as well... having never really been taught how to spell correctly". That is a funny thought to consider. Oh, and by the way, if you're reading this and conclude my writing style is weak, just remember... I went to public school!

The second response of the "educational establishment" is copycat. Last year, we decided to try out a course offered by a "prestigious University" (think of parade music playing in the background at this point). Yes, oh mighty and glorious institution of higher learning, we come before you and acknowledge your greatness. And we lowly subjects of yours, we peasants of home schooling, we thank you for the opportunity to enroll in your wonderful programs of higher learning - oh we thank you! What a joke that was. This institution is a stumbling giant. Trying to navigate their maze of bureaucracy was nothing more than a laughable comedy of errors. The course was of poor quality, the assigned instructor was inexperienced and the process of testing was confusing at best. In fact, we were never able to take the final test as the process of "proctor approval" was so random that this college graduate (me) couldn't figure it out. To cap it off, I called the organization this morning to give them some feedback on how difficult and convoluted their process is. After about thirty minutes of searching for the right person to talk to (no one appears to be in charge of anything), I finally made it to the right voice mail box. At that point, I was told that the supervisor was out of town and wasn't returning calls. "Call again another time". Great, customer service! So much for the great institutions of higher learning and their ability to provide education.

Another copycat attempt we experienced was a local junior college that is trying to compete in the "dual credit" space. We have a parent support group that helps families wind through the maze of paperwork required to register for dual credit. In fact, there are paid "consultants" who assist you in the utter complexity. We recently went through that process at our local junior college. Of course, we couldn't reach anyone by phone because these people don't return their calls. As advised, we made trek to the college, in person, to get the job done. What we found were bearded people, creeping around their offices in slow motion, all with coffee cups in hand. After four hours and being directed by foot to different offices at different corners of the campus, we were told it was best we didn't try to register as they were afraid "they would lose our paperwork". Come back when they're less "busy" we were told. Another shining example of public funded schooling.

The profound failure of public education is a driving force behind the incredible growth in home schooling. Much like the Detroit automakers of the 1970's who were trampled by Japanese ingenuity, entrepreneurial parents are taking matters into their own hands.  And winning. (Oops. Was that an incomplete sentence? Sorry, I am just another shining example of the public school experiment gone awry.)


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growth in homeschooling


growth in homeschooling