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Who Are All These People HOMESCHOOLING?
The Big Reasons Parents Homeschool
Is homeschooling just practiced by people with extreme religious views? Some people believe the majority of homeschoolers are religious or followers of religious New-Ageism. However, the truth is many homeschoolers don’t have a religious bone in their body. In Australia, very few homeschooling parents identified as religious reasons when answering questions about their reason to homeschool. Many homeschooling parents are homeschooling because they simply think they can educate better.
The NSW Board of Studies wanted to find out why people were homeschooling their children. Their 2013 survey of reasons parents’ homeschool is outlined below:
- 17% said they homeschooled for philosophical reasons
- 14% special learning needs
- 5% religious reasons
- 3% bullying
- 25% other reasons
- 37% declined to respond
The religious percentage seems quite low in this study compared to other data. The Parliamentary Homeschooling Inquiry committee commented on this aspect saying, ‘whilst only five per cent of applicants completing registration forms for homeschooling nominate religious reasons for homeschooling, 17 percent nominate philosophical reasons, and a further 36.5 percent gave no response, it is reasonable to assume the true number opting for homeschooling on this basis is higher than the five percent disclosed.’
A heightened sense of responsibility on the parent’s behalf was found to be common among homeschooling mothers. Homeschooling mothers desire to have more to do with their children’s development than schools allow. Mothers don’t believe their children will thrive without plenty of parental influence.
Homeschooling parents want to reclaim the control over their children’s lives that schools take away. Rather than schools, parents want to be the major carers. They want to start participating in their children’s lives as much as they did before school or daycare started.
Homeschool parents often started homeschooling as they noticed their children becoming more unhappy and changing for the worse. This can sometimes be brought on by bullying. Bill and Antoinette noticed a change in all their children’s character when they attended school:
The kids were always happy. They always played together happily before they went to school. But, almost as soon as they went to school, the eldest child, Joshua, would be crying. He’d have his arms lifted up towards us as if to say, “What are you doing? Why are you leaving me here? I don’t want to be here. I want to be with you- I’m always with you.” But, we were stoic; we thought it was best to leave him with them .
And, even though their children might be dreadfully unhappy in this environment, they persist in mainstream schools, because it takes tremendous bravery to go against the flow. Most parents feel they must go with the flow and get a good education by encouraging their children to go to school. And parents to question themselves about whether they’re qualified to look after their child’s education in the homeschooling arena.
Some parents resent the school system for the widely held assumption that schools are ‘better qualified’ to take care of their child. After all, there must be some reason over 90% of Christians aren’t homeschooling. Homeschooling requires too much courage for many.
Courage is also propelled when Christian parents run out of alternatives. Lack of alternatives made the Mac family think about homeschooling their 7-year-old, when he began struggling at school:
The main influence was that our son was miserable about school. In the morning, he was crying and didn’t want to get into the car to go to school. So we had to look at alternatives. That’s what got us looking at homeschooling.
A parent’s love for their child is one of the main things that helps a parent overcome the fear of homeschooling. Soon, those who were afraid of the consequences of homeschooling realize how effective homeschooling has been and embrace homeschooling. They laugh when others say, “Why on earth would you homeschool?” because they know it can be so much better than school.
 Erik Hayden ‘When Hippies Were The Ones Homeschooling’ (2011) The Wire <http://www.thewire.com/national/2011/11/when-hippies-were-homeschooling/44776/ >.
Libby Anne 'Not all Homescholers are Religious, But Many Are' http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2014/05/not-all-homeschoolers-are-religious-but-many-are.html
 Final Report. NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Homeschooling. Worldwide, homeschoolers present different pictures. A study conducted on American homeschoolers found most homeschoolers are Christian while many others are atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or Catholics. Many of these religious groups home educate because they think they can do a better job of passing on their religious convictions and beliefs, compared to public or private school do.Robert Grossman, Home is Where the School Is, (November 2001) p. 60 <http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/578270/posts>.
For more information about homeschooling in Australia, visit here.