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What homeschool gets right

It’s generally a better way to educate students

Over at Reason, J.D. Tuccille has written an instructive essay exploring why politicians hate homeschool. There are a variety of reasons why, but chief among them is this: Homeschool is generally better at educating students than institutional schools are.

There are, of course, plenty of students who fare better in the more structured environment of standardized education. But for the most part, educating students at home—in a more relaxed atmosphere, with less rigidity and more freedom—is better for everyone. For some crazy reason, many people are convinced that the best way to educate students is to cram them all into small rooms for eight hours a day, assign them mountains of work that they forget relatively quickly, and every so often administer tests to ensure that they’ve absorbed the information they’ve been fed (but don’t really care about). It is, upon reflection, a bizarre system—and also a distinctly unpleasant one: No adult, anywhere, would ever put up with such a taxing and thankless regime, not without at least getting paid for it.

Homeschooling, in the main, is simply better: It allows each family to tailor its educational needs to the student, not the other way around. It encourages independence, freer thought, self-determination and a healthier, more natural approach to learning about the world. It is certainly better at preparing students for higher education: Homeschool—self-directed, autonomous, and (at least on a daily basis) relatively concise—is far more similar to college than it is to high school, the latter of which is generally an enormous time suck that more or less follows the basic elementary school model. And of course, plenty of data indicate that, on average, homeschooled students do as well or better than their standard-schooled counterparts.

Why shouldn’t politicians hate homeschool? It is an embarrassing rebuke of the government school system, and really much of institutional education itself. Thankfully, the United States is—relatively rarely among world nations—a bastion of homeschool freedom: Even the most restrictive states in this country are generally tolerant of homeschoolers. Whatever education system you choose, it is wonderful that we have a choice, and that so many people are using that choice to better themselves and their children.

MORE: Homeschooled students still face bias in college admissions

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