Independence Day is right around the corner. As we celebrate our nation’s history and the rights and freedoms America’s“fighting men have fought and died to keep,” it’s important not to forget the rights and freedoms we’ve lost over the years through government overreach, and to dedicate ourselves anew to regaining those freedoms.
Across the country, children are trapped in failing government schools, despite the fact our Founding Fathers never allocated the job of educating our nation’s children to the federal government in any of the United States’ founding documents. Once compulsory education took hold, government instructed parents how to raise their children and all but forced them to send kids to government-run schools, by creating a monopoly of “free” schools we, the taxpayers, pay for.
However, after decades of setbacks, the tide is finally changing in favor of liberty, and parents are reclaiming their right to educate their children how they see fit. In dozens of states this year alone, there has been an education-choice resurgence, with several bills to establish and/or expand school choice programs successfully signed into law.
But nowhere has educational freedom been embraced more fervently than in the homeschooling community, and the booming popularity of the homeschool movement is worthy of the best and brightest fireworks!
The authors of a recent Pioneer Institute paper, aptly named “Homeschooling: The Ultimate School Choice,” found homeschooling is, against all odds, succeeding masterfully.
“Although many may be surprised at the growth of homeschooling during the past few decades, the real surprise is probably how that growth happened and that it continues,” co-authors William Heuer and William Donovan wrote in the Pioneer Institute study. “Home school advocates and practitioners have succeeded despite a lack of funding, recruiting efforts, publicity, and grant money from philanthropic billionaires. Meanwhile they’ve faced opposition from the National Education Association (NEA), obstacles imposed by individual school districts and various state restrictions, regulations, and requirements.”
Homeschooling takes dedication, love, and tons of hard work, but research shows it’s well worth the effort. Despite “a lack of institutional knowledge with which to keep the homeschooling movement going forward … homeschooling has survived and prospered,” the authors wrote.
Why isthe homeschooling movement thriving? Could it be because parents, contrary to the misinformation spread by big government, are the most concerned and qualified caretakers of their own offspring?
The homeschooling movement is composed of passionate parents who actively seek the best for their children, and it’s a testament to the organic, free-market way the world can and should work.
“Unlike private, parochial, and even charter schools, there is no marketing to entice parents to homeschool,” Heuer and Donovan wrote. “The homeschooling way of life often originates via word of mouth and the old-fashioned way: one client at a time. Social networking, homeschooling blogs, and the abundance of how-to books authored by homeschoolers also have helped parents understand the realities of a homeschool lifestyle.”
Homeschoolers have overcome onerous regulation and opposition from huge, powerful special-interest groups to become leaders in educational innovation.
“Homeschoolers have essentially paved the way in self-directed learning,75 multi-age grouping, project-based learning, adapting to individual learning styles, and content mastery vs. seat-time,” the researchers wrote. “They continue to expand their use of alternative assessments, anywhere-anytime learning, and the use of apprenticeships.”
Through educational hybrids such as “mix and match” classes, internships and volunteer opportunities, experimentation with virtual learning, dual-enrollment and early college, and flexible curriculums, the authors note it’s “not unreasonable that these pedagogical innovations currently used by homeschoolers will have the potential to be scaled up and utilized by traditional schools and education reformers.”
With all that homeschooling families have been able to accomplish in recent years, imagine what they could do withoutburdensome bureaucracy and the smear campaigns propagated by teachers unions and other members of the educational elite.
This Independence Day, be sure to salute the parents who are taking their children’s educations into their own hands, shedding their families of the shackles imposed on them by an intrusive government our Founding Fathers never intended, and consider declaring educational independence yourself!