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Is Your Child Dis-eased by School Attendance?

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Is Your Child Dis-eased by School Attendance?

By Linda Dobson

Playing dress-up homeschooling

The implications for our society of childhood spent outside of school are positive ones.

I’m counting on the fact that you, like many parents, know that something frightening is happening to our youth. Record numbers of children are being labeled learning disordered or placed on behavior altering medications like Ritalin. They are turning to illegal drugs and alcohol at young and younger ages. Cliques, bullying, and generalized torment determine a child’s standing in the school-centered pecking order, readying these future taxpayers for class distinctions in adult life. Hopelessness permeates the lives of many, who then turn to violence, including unprecedented mass murders committed, as a rule, at the very schools they are by compulsory attendance laws (with few exceptions) forced to attend. If any of these trends bother you, you just may want to continue reading.

Sure, there’s more than enough blame to throw around, and it gets thoroughly scattered. We’ve blamed parents, teachers, school administrators, doctors, politicians, lawyers and clergy. We’ve blamed lack of money, too much money, television, games, music, computers and movies. We’ve blamed Wall Street, Main Street, Washington, C.C., Hollywood, and every state capitol in between. So who and what are really to blame?

Maybe it’s time for us to consider the notion that blaming any or all of the above who, what, and wheres isn’t helping. Blame has been thrown everywhere – what a clue! I think this tells us that whatever the culprit is, it’s pervasive in our culture, and steadily eating at it, like a spreading cancer. Every one, every thing, every where can be blamed for contributing something to the problem.

Maybe it’s time for us to consider the notion that the cultural cancer is affecting our children, and that rather than address the cancer’s symptoms (all of the above), it’s time to look for the tumor and cut it out.

Homeschooling Can Help Individuals and Society

Homeschooling is the world’s most flexible approach to education. Being so, different families bend and shape it to meet their children’s needs. This means that no two families go about it in quite the sameĀ  manner. While writing Homeschoolers’ Success Stories, I wanted the largeswt selection of stories possible to choose from so that readers could see that homeschooling succeeds in a vast array of manifestations.

The array of possibilities presented to me with the support of the homeschooling community did not disappoint. In this book you will meet folks who homeschooled for a brief time, most of their school years, or moved back and forth between school and home. Their families chose homeschooling for reasons religious, philosophical, and utilitarian. Some focused on academic achievement, and others gave just enough time to academics so they could spend more time pursuing individual interests. Some traveled and others remained in small towns, big cities, or the suburbs. They approached homeschooling alone, with the aid of correspondence courses, with purchased curriculum, or with tutors.

Adults who were homeschooled are increasingly among us – as neighbors, friends, relatives, co-workers, employers. What have they learned from their experience, and does what they learned impact their lives today? Does learning without school, removing the influence of compulsory attendance, affect family life, chosen work, or the way one goes about learning through adulthood? If so, are there any implications for our culture as an increasing number of citizens reach adulthood with similar “years spent outside of school”?

Homeschooling Has an Impact

After 15 years as a homeschooling parent, after receiving mail and phone calls from countless homeschoolers for almost as long, after visiting face to face with countless other homeschooling parents at conferences across the country, and after collecting and reading media reports on homeschooling for almost 8 years in my capacity as news editor and columnist for Home Education Magazine, I am convinced that the implications for our society of childhood spent outside of school are positive ones.

While working on Homeschooling the Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8-Year-Old Child, I surveyed experienced homeschoolers about what they saw as the practice’s greatest benefits. Their top five answers bear repeating, as the benefits they witnessed on a personal level are the same ones that will benefit our society as a whole.

Homeschooling Can Cure Your Child’s Dis-ease

Homeschooling parents witness, and society benefits from:

  • Improved academic abilities – homeschoolers learn how to learn
  • Expanded social opportunities – homeschoolers participate in social activity with the general population of all ages
  • Stronger family bonds – homeschoolers build sturdy families, the foundational building blocks of a healthy society
  • Safer surroundings – homeschoolers learn in an atmosphere free of violence, drugs, bullying, sexual harassment, or threats thereof
  • Improved physical, mental, and emotional health – (anecdotally at least) homeschoolers enjoy relatively wholesome lifestyles

I am convinced that compulsory school attendance is the cultural cancer producing such frightening effects in our children. Homeschooling families, among others turning to alternatives to government school attendance, are voting with their feet for a cure to the dis-ease their children experience. My sincerest hope is that the stories in Homeschoolers’ Success Stories will show you that cure in action. It’s a simple one, really, and only you as a parent can administer it outside the institution. I share these stories so that your children, too, may recover or, better yet, never be exposed at all.

HomeschoolersSuccessStories homeschoolingAdapted from Homeschoolers’ Success Stories: 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives, one of many homeschooling books by Linda Dobson

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