July 29, 2002

HSLDA Essay Contest: Category II, Second Place

"Why is Home Schooling Good for America?"
by Heather M. Roach

Why is home schooling good for America? Before attempting to answer this question, it is essential that we first define what is good for America. Americans have a wide variety of ideas of what is good for our country, ranging from a good economy to a strong military to a moral culture. It is a timeless principle, however, that a nation's character is determined by the character of its people. A good economy is just a symptom of a hard-working, innovative people. A strong military is only a by-product of a courageous, committed people. A moral culture is only a result of a people with strong moral values. When America is made up of people of faith, courage, character, and commitment, it will have everything it needs to prosper-and home schooling begets this type of person.

America needs people who are confident, well rounded, and socially adjusted. Children who are home educated, contrary to the expectations of liberal psychologists, have proven time and again to emerge from "school" as young adults who are more stable, less peer dependent, and more socially adept than many of their public and private school counterparts. Why? One reason is that home schooling places children in "real life" social situations, which are age-integrated, rather than the forced, unnatural, age-segregated socialization offered by conventional schools. Negative peer pressure, taken for granted in traditional school life, is virtually nonexistent in the home school, so children do not have to deal with it until they are mature enough to withstand it.

America needs people who are well educated and have a love of learning. Because home education is a one-on-one, parent-to-child tutoring relationship, curriculum can be customized to fit the individual needs of each child and the child is free to progress at his own pace. He stays interested and challenged, neither bored because his teacher must cater to his slower classmates nor frustrated because he cannot understand a concept the teacher does not have time to explain.

America needs people who are bright, creative, and hard working. Most home schooled students take far greater responsibility for their own education than typical children do. By the time they enter high school, home schooled students are expected to be mature enough to study and get good grades without a parent or teacher constantly looking over their shoulder. They quickly learn personal responsibility and a strong work ethic, which become assets in their adult careers. Also, because home educated students learn at their own pace and stay challenged, these students are far more easily trained in areas of skill than their traditionally schooled counterparts and are more creative and innovative because they have never lost their love of learning and discovery.

America needs people who are family-oriented and prepared for the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood. The bond between home schooled children and their families is often much stronger than usual because of both the quantity and the quality of the time spent together. In a home schooling family, parents may delegate responsibility for assisting younger children with schoolwork to the older siblings. This strengthens family unity and prepares young people for a family of their own when they reach adulthood.

Finally, America needs people who are well-informed, active citizens of their country. Over the last 25 years, homeschoolers have fought within the political system to gain and keep the right to home school freely. As a result, home schooled children have grown up with political activism as a normal part of life. They see the results of their parent's involvement and believe that they too can be world-changers. Without the pressure from peers to "fit in" which is prevalent in schools, home schooled students learn to weigh the facts, decide what they believe, and make their voices heard.

Why is home schooling good for America? Because it breeds well-adjusted people, well-educated pupils, creative, diligent producers, mature partners and parents, and involved participants in the political process. A nation is only as great as its people, and a home school is the ideal environment to produce a generation of young people who are great in knowledge, abilities, thought, character, and leadership.