Should we bother having kids if we’re just going to turn them over to other people to raise? Children are in school – or engaged in extracurricular activities and homework – for roughly the equivalent of a full-time job each week. Outside of sleeping and recreation hours, that doesn’t leave parents much time to shape their kids physically, mentally and morally for adulthood. Many families still rely on public schools to help complete the job of preparing their children for life. But is a partnership with public school still workable today?
In recent years, many public schools have adopted divisive and harmful ideologies, like Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender theory, and radical sex ed programs into their curriculum. These concepts are being injected into every school subject, from math to history to P.E., often sowing confusion and anxiety in students who may already be struggling to meet basic educational goals. Reading and math proficiency rates in American public schools have declined and stagnated respectively since 2017, and the trend is likely to continue or get worse as unnecessary focus is placed on these politically charged ideologies. Sending your child to public school in this climate is a gamble, and there’s a good chance they’ll develop into a young adult who hates America, opposes your values, or adopts perspectives on sex and gender that depart from biological reality.
Thankfully there’s a way out of this madness, but it’s a solution that requires a different way of thinking. “The Homeschool Awakening,” a new documentary film presented by actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron, tells the story of parents around America who are catching a new vision for their kids’ education. A funny thing happens when you choose not to be governed by preconceived notions about grades, schedules, classroom style, homework, or even the value of college degrees and wealth. Once you put aside everything you know about mass-produced schooling, you get to the heart of what education is — learning. And who better than a parent to harness their child’s unique learning strengths and build an educational plan that fits them?
One of the most pernicious myths surrounding education is that it’s best left to the experts. Lately, parents have been told by educational leaders that they are not the “primary stakeholders” in their kids’ education, that they should “keep their noses out of school curricula,” and that they are not “entitled to know their kids’ identities.”
But it doesn’t take a college degree, teaching credentials or a fancy title to educate your child. You’re already more qualified for the job than anyone on the planet. First, you love your child more than anyone else. According to one mom in the film, this alone means “you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else who can teach a child.” Second, you know your child better than anyone else. You know what makes them tick, what excites them and what deflates them. You can use that intimate understanding to your educational advantage. Loving and knowing your children will make you very likely to meet the third necessary qualification: a willingness to learn alongside them. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You can model teachability and enthusiasm and learn right along with them.
Opponents of homeschooling will say, “What about socialization? Homeschooled kids are socially awkward and will have trouble socially adapting as adults, right?” This is another myth that is aptly busted in “The Homeschool Awakening.”
Throughout the film, we see homeschooled kids of all ages enjoying multigenerational socialization of all kinds, from park meetups and co-op gatherings to grocery store visits and adventures across America. Older kids help younger ones, grandparents enjoy learning activities with grandkids, and teenagers get valuable on-the-job experience with working adults. Compare this to the dodgy social climate in many of today’s public schools, where instances of bullying, violence, peer pressure, bad language, inappropriate smartphone use and more can negatively affect learning. In a homeschool environment, socialization becomes an organic part of everyday learning.
Anyone who’s had kids awhile will agree that the formative years you have with them fly by all too quickly. One minute you’re snapping pictures of your adorable first grader with a backpack almost as big as her. The next thing you know, she’s in high school and filling her days with a million activities. Homeschooling gives parents precious time and experiences with their children that they won’t get on any summer vacation. “It’s actually a gift more than a sacrifice,” says another mom in “The Homeschool Awakening” — the gift of togetherness and a deeper relationship with your child as you help them learn. When you’re in the trenches of parenthood and trying to navigate everything, it’s easy to forget that the real wealth of life is the time you spend with family. Homeschooling is a great way to invest in your family. Join the growing number of parents in America who are learning how to “un-public school themselves” and help their children succeed.
Andrew McDiarmid is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. His writing has recently appeared in the New York Post, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, RealClearPolitics and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @AMcDiarmid and read more of his work at www.andrewmcdiarmid.org.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.