Homeschooling is an increasingly popular option for Kentucky parents who want to improve their children’s education, according to a report presented to the Kentucky General Assembly’s Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee.
More than 26,500 families, or about 3.6 percent of all Kentucky families, homeschool their children, according to testimony presented by Kentucky Office of Education Accountability Analyst Deborah Nelson in September. Nationwide, about 3.3 percent of all school-age children are homeschooled.
A Multitude of Reasons
Milton Gaither, a professor of education at Messiah College, a private college in Pennsylvania, says homeschooling parents cite several reasons they choose home education for their children.
“I can say that advocates will argue that homeschooling allows for more flexibility in curriculum, family scheduling, child interests, etc.,” Gaither said. “They will note that it strengthens family bonds and facilitates transfer of religious and/or moral convictions from one generation to the next. They will say that it spares children the trauma of bullying, coarse peer culture, hyper-regimented curriculum and standardized testing, burned-out teachers, and overcrowded and underfunded schools.”
Escaping Government Schools
Lora Farrell, president of Pennyroyal Area Christian Home Educators of Kentucky, a home education cooperative based in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, says she knows of families that choose homeschooling because of the poor quality of government schools.
“Recently, I have seen many families begin to homeschool from a reactionary standpoint,” Farrell said. “They had a bad experience in traditional school, whether it was bullying or a school that wouldn’t couldn’t meet their child’s special needs or something else, and they needed to homeschool. I also see families begin homeschooling out of fear of the growing violence happening in schools.”
More Home Educators Expected
Farrell says she expects home education to become more popular with time.
“I believe that more and more people are seeing the benefits of homeschooling and that the numbers of families who choose it will continue to grow,” Farrell said. “Homeschool has become such a popular educational choice that there are more opportunities now than ever before.”
‘Their Children Are Thriving’
Many parents do a superior job of educating their children, and lawmakers should encourage more education freedom, Farrell says.
“The vast majority of homeschooling families are doing a phenomenal job of educating their children, and their children are thriving. Instead of hampering us with more regulations, allow us the freedom to choose the best for our families and to educate our children in the best way for them as individuals rather than have to meet national standards. Support us, rather than be suspicious of us.”