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. Societies, unfortunately, have found it necessary to generate educational systems in order to address three situations: those in which parents do not have the necessary knowledge to educate their children; those in which they haven't the time; and those in which they haven't the interest. In these three situations, it is in a society's best interests to provide education for those children.
And this appears to be a prudent decision for those societies who do so: there is a strong correlation between every desirable attribute of a citizen and a community, and institutional education. As one group put it succinctly, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Few parents have all three requirements.
And even those who do, almost always need some help. Few among us have mastery of visual and acoustic arts, mathematics, language, social studies, etc., that we can teach a child all the way through the high school requirements. And limits still appear. If a parent could handle all high school coursework, can he/she continue through the college coursework? Is home schooling our goal? Should we build our lives so that our children are all home-schooled? As our world becomes more sophisticated, and more broadly educated, perhaps so.
In the future, we might hope that all families have at least one parent with knowledge, time, and interest to home school. Home-schooling offers a lot of advantages to traditional education. But until we have parents with all of the necessary skills and resources, we will still need schools and school systems.
Joseph N. Abraham MD is president of The Acadiana Educational Endowment 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.