What Public Schools Can Learn from Homeschool Parents
In March, dozens of families attended the Greater Saint Louis Home Educators Expo. The discussions led by parents, former educators, and homeschool alumni were an echo of what public school teachers have rallied for since the establishment of standardized testing—more creativity in education.
Much like public school teachers, parents must ensure children receive a well-rounded education, but the difference is that parents are able to spend more time exploring their children’s interests.
“I want to help you love this,” Diana Waring explained to her children about her approach to educating at home.
Waring relayed her friend Beverly’s story.
Beverly was a mother who homeschooled her two boys. Lacking a college degree, she was afraid she would not be able to properly educate her children. One day, Beverly took her sons to the public library to pick out books that interested them. The boys gravitated toward cartoons. At home, they spent time creating their own drawings using homemade equipment. They caught the attention of a Disney cartoonist, who was amazed at what the boys were able to do on their own. Chris and Allan Miller are now professional graphic artists.
If the Miller brothers had been educated in a traditional school, certainly they would have been taught by a teacher with a college degree or higher, but would their creative interests have been fostered?
In Missouri, homeschool parents are directed to keep records of their children’s studies, much like the plan books teachers keep, but unless there is an issue—the state does not actively regulate what occurs inside the home environment. This freedom allows parents to teach in a stress-free atmosphere.
Often, homeschoolers are viewed with suspicion by traditional educators, but they shouldn’t be. Instead, officials should be looking for ways to provide a customized educational experience, like the homeschool experience of Chris and Allan Miller, for every child. We could start by creating an Education Savings Account program and empowering students with access to course choice.