These days, if you discuss “reasons for homeschooling” with an actual homeschooling family, you’re not as likely to hear much discussion about religion as you once were. Of course, there are still a great many parents who are driven to use full-time home education for religious reasons including the desire to teach them Godly morals in stark contrast with those taught in the public school setting. However, there are many that do not cite religion as a primary reason behind their decision to homeschool. And that is very disconcerting for the officials who thought “religious homeschoolers” were the only ones they had to “worry about.”
Not all states require homeschools to identify themselves as being secular or religious, which makes it hard to keep tabs on who’s homeschooling for what reason. For the homeschooling family, that works out great. For those looking to benefit from the manipulation of public education, not so much. Some homeschooling parents take great issue with the “secular or religious” question. Isn’t the right to homeschool your child just that? A right? If they cannot ask for proof of curriculum, these parents say, then they should also not be able to ask this question either.
Again, it’s not about whether the parent is homeschooling for religious reasons. It is, as we see the panic at non-religious homeschoolers by the establishment, a pointed effort to make sure they know their “common enemy.”
Looking At The Numbers in Homeschooling
According to a 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, there are some pretty interesting numbers concerning educational options across the country. For instance, private school has seen a decline in enrollment, while public school, homeschools, and charter schools have all seen increases in enrollment for the school year. More specifically, charter school enrollment increased from 448 thousand in 2000 to three million in 2016. That’s roughly 571%. During that same sixteen-year period, public schools only saw an enrollment increase of 1%. There was also an increase in the homeschool numbers as well. These students grew from 0.9 million in 1999 to 1.7 million in 2016, according to the same report.
In 2016, according to a survey offered to parents who homeschooled their children, the main concern was the traditional school environment, with emphasis on the children’s safety, drug availability and usage, and negative peer pressure. A desire to offer instruction with religious emphasis came in fourth on that survey. So even at that time, the National Center for Education Statistics was seeing that there were far more reasons to homeschool than religion in the minds of these parents. Something else was beginning to happen and it has created a shift in the way homeschooling is viewed, as well as how it’s undertaken.
The Influx of Regulation in Homeschooling
The state-sponsored opposition that many homeschool families across our nation come up against has become “extremely oppressive” with respect to regulations against homeschooling, including the desire to ban it altogether, according to THIS ARTICLE from the Christian Post. This website often speaks with Steven Craig Policastro, via interviews on topics like this one. Policastro not only founded the International Association for Creation but is the standing executive vice president as well, and he’s had a lot to say about the topic of homeschooling opposition.
Policastro says that homeschool opponents have realized that they are not going to be successful in making this practice illegal, so they are instead attempting to regulate it so heavily that it will be close to impossible for the average American parent to homeschool their children, regardless of their reasons. He speaks about how extensive numbers of school districts constantly attempt to require things of homeschooling parents that the law itself does not require.
In some cases, these public school officials are simply ignorant of the law, whereas others hope that homeschool parents will be the ones who don’t know their rights. They would prefer their mandates become the law, and so they hope that simply by demanding it, those accustomed to buckling under the appearance of authority will fail to exercise their legal rights with regard to homeschooling.
Be sure to check HSLDA to find out your state's homeschool laws and be informed. Many times, local homeschool support groups will also have resources for helping you homeschool within your state laws.
The Truth About Today’s Homeschoolers and Homeschooling
The truth is, secular homeschoolers are catching up with religious homeschoolers, with roughly 40% of the total homeschool population made up of reported secular parents. As it turns out, the homeschooling movement is no longer the exclusive purview of the Christian Right, and their goal is not the once-and-for-all dismantling of government schooling as a whole, as many claims. Instead, more and more parents are realizing that the model presented by the majority of public school systems just isn’t enough, and it certainly isn’t the best for their own homeschooled children.
Rather, the driving force behind many secular homeschoolers is the desire to offer better academic possibilities, diversify their children’s educational repertoire, and protect their children from the rising violence, drug use, and immorality that is running absolutely amok through the public system, especially in middle schools and high schools. It’s another reflection of the same argument that says the public school does more harm than it has ever done for good, and that is something that has the educational establishment up in arms about. The fact that there are rising numbers of parents seeking something other than religious freedom says that it’s becoming more normal to question the whole makeup of the public school system. And that could be worrisome for these institutions.
Things aren’t likely to change anytime in the near future. In public school, it’s quite obvious that things are getting worse and not better. Regardless of the number of laws that are passed to STOP IT, bullying, assault, drug use, and teenage sexual activity are rampant in schoolhouses across the country. In fact, in the wake of increased legislation, the problems only seem to be getting worse. And so, even secular homeschoolers are left with nowhere to turn but their own homeschooling opportunities. And once they embark on the mission, it becomes evident what they’ve been missing.
Your child’s education is so important, you have to ask yourself, is it worth the risk of leaving it in the hands of a government-funded public school system?
If you’re one of the secular homeschoolers looking to provide better academic possibilities for your homeschooled kids, you will want to attend a Great Homeschool Convention in a city near you. You’ll not only get to meet a variety of like-minded parents and educators who care about their child’s academic success, but you’ll have tons of other opportunities as well. Listen to some of the amazing speakers we have scheduled, attend excellent workshops, learn about other wonderful homeschool programs or browse from extensive homeschool curriculum and resource vendors who will surely have just the materials you’re looking for.
Since our seven Great Homeschool Conventions are regional, we understand that some families will be traveling greater distances than others. To help lighten that load, we are happy to offer hotel discounts, military discounts, and free admission to active clergy members. We encourage you to come to be a part of this great opportunity to jumpstart your homeschooling endeavor!
To find a list of convention locations, CLICK HERE.
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And remember, Great Homeschool Conventions are: Equipping… Encouraging… FUN!