Why Giving Families a Choice Will Always Make Them Happier

Published March 20, 2018

“Homeschooling was for hippies, now it’s for hipsters,” Manisha Snoyer, CEO and founder of CottageClass, told me in an email.

Hippies? But hasn’t homeschooling traditionally and stereotypically been for strict, conservative Christian families?

Snoyer and I connected for a podcast and talked about CottageClass, her startup business that aims to connect parents, children, and educators in communities for personalized learning experiences. The company works sort of like Airbnb, enabling families to search in their region for “preschools, playgrounds, co-ops, micro-schools, and other educational experiences.”

It seems like a pretty neat concept, and one that Snoyer says has really taken off. Parents are tired of a one-size-fits-all approach to education, and they are eager to work together with fellow parents to ensure their children have access to every learning resource available. There are bilingual-specific programs, classes aimed at artistically talented students, soccer programs, music classes, and so forth.

All this, it must be noted, has come about without government funding, grants, regulations, “standards,” or mandates of any kind.

“Americans are rejecting the ‘homeschool myth,’ and experts say the misunderstood education might be better than public or charter schools,” Chris Weller wrote in Business Insider in 2017.

“Homeschooling has quietly experienced a surge in recent years,” Weller added. “Data from the National Center for Education Statistics, NCES, and analyses from Brian Ray, a homeschooling researcher at the National Home Education Research Institute, suggest the number of kids taught at home is growing by 3 percent to 8 percent a year since the total hovered around 1.8 million in 2012, according to data from the NCES. That puts the upper estimate at approximately 3.5 million children, far surpassing charter schools.”

Why the homeschooling boom? One explanation is the old adage that necessity is the mother of invention. Because our government school system is failing so spectacularly, parents have been forced to find other options to fill the massive void left by overfunded and underperforming public schools. Turns out, when parents are put in charge of their children’s upbringing, they can do some pretty amazing things.

“Research suggests homeschooled children tend to do better on standardized tests, stick around longer in college, and do better once they’re enrolled,” Weller reported. “Research on effective instruction suggests it’s all about personalization, in both content and style, which homeschooling offers from the start. And thanks in large part to the internet, contemporary homeschoolers have far more options at their disposal.”

Contrary to what the nation’s teachers unions, big government bureaucrats, and other public school advocates would have you believe, parents can and should be trusted with educating their children. Parents, quite naturally, want what’s best for their families, and they’ll do what they can to have access to the best resources — as innovative products and services like CottageClass and so many others prove.

Homeschooling and other forms of small, customizable approaches to education, including co-ops and micro-schools, will continue to grow in popularity as long as parents are allowed to be in charge. Hippies, hipsters, hardcore Baptists — you name it — they all have an intrinsic desire and interest in raising their children how they see fit. When they’re free from government overreach, they’re able to raise little hippies, hipsters, conservative Christians, etc., all of whom contribute to society in a unique and valuable way.

What’s more, parents are happy when they don’t have to fight with their local school district over curriculum, rules, and so forth, and they can spend their time on other things, like raising well-educated, well-rounded citizens.

[Originally Published at the Washington Examiner]