SummaryWhat will homeschooling look like tomorrow? Mary Ellen Barrett asked five Seton Magazine contributors for their thoughts on the future of homeschooling.
Many years ago, when I first considered teaching my children at home, homeschooling was considered radical.
Many people even asked me if it was legal. This was always funny, when you consider a young mom with four children and one on the way was hardly the type to be living outside the law.
I never envisioned home education becoming mainstream and accepted during the following ten or fifteen years. I was caught up in the here and now, finding resources, discovering Seton, searching for like-minded people with whom I could build community, and just staying afloat.
Now, of course, I have those things: community, resources, and a great homeschooling groove with Seton, although I often still struggle to stay afloat, and the future for my homeschooling journey is getting shorter every year as I keep sending the children off into the world.
It occurred to me to wonder what some moms who still have a ways to go (yes, I mean those much younger than I) see as the future of homeschooling, so I asked some of our contributors to share their thoughts on the subject.
Yes, the future of homeschooling is bright!
Advances in technology will continue to aid students and parents, providing even better curriculum and resources. These support systems afford students the time to concentrate on the fine arts, athletics, and other interests. However, the main purpose of Catholic homeschooling will remain the same — to produce saints and scholars.
When we began homeschooling 22 years ago, we (and many others) did so as a reaction to the failure of the local school systems. But today, families are choosing to homeschool, not so much as a “necessary” option, but as the “preferred” option.
Homeschooled students are excelling in standardized tests and participating in extracurricular and leadership activities, enabling them to receive scholarships for higher learning. Universities are watching this trend carefully and have begun actively soliciting homeschooled students.
Where I live, the homeschool community has done a remarkable job of networking and working together. Organizations are taking notice, and there is an abundance of opportunities for homeschoolers.
The local science, history, and art museums offer weekly classes for homeschoolers. A local college has even started offering co-op and seminar classes for middle and high schoolers. A group of moms regularly schedule park days and PE days at the roller skating rink.
With so many opportunities to stay active outside the home, it is a balancing act with the school work at home and the hands-on learning available in the community.
While I have no crystal ball to foresee the future of homeschooling, I’d say the future looks bright for those who are called to educate in the home.
There is an ever-increasing supply of help available to homeschool families (online classes, support groups, co-ops), which removes some of the struggles homeschoolers faced a couple of generations ago.
Additionally, as the previous and current generation of homeschoolers grows into adulthood they will bring with them the understanding that educational success isn’t tied to the one-size-fits-all model of traditional education. Couple those factors with the negatives affecting many young children (bullying, stress) in traditional settings and I think it is safe to say homeschooling will continue to attract families seeking to provide quality education that meets their individual needs and standards.
First, one may need to ask oneself, why does one choose to homeschool in the first place?
For me, the answers are many: to protect a child’s innocence, to enjoy the time given for us to be together, to ignite a child’s imagination and form his mind in truth, to grow together as the family we are called to be.
My husband and I have a strong desire to be a part of our children’s learning experience and the development of their minds and hearts, and believe God has called us as parents to participate integrally in their formation.
While the ways in which this goal can be achieved are varied, the desire to guide one’s child in truth will remain important to the homeschooling families of the future. As our world and technology continue to develop in many surprising ways, we will seek to root our children in the unchanging truths past generations have shared with us.
We will make use of the positive aspects of technology that promote and further this goal, but we will choose also to protect with special care the traditions we view as perennially important: reading together, working together, praying together, playing together, enjoying leisure together, learning together in the central place where God has placed us, the home.
We believe these activities help us to grow in character and virtue. This beautiful growth into mature Christians is what we desire for our children and why we commit to teaching our children at home, both now and in the future.
We’ve been homeschooling only 9 years, and it is remarkable the changes that have happened. In the future, I see more opportunities for my children to get involved in courses and activities with other children and special resources.
Homeschooling is no longer sitting at the table with mom and a few textbooks. The possibilities keep growing and developing. It is an exciting time to be a part of the homeschool community. Instead of it just being school at home, homeschooling is now, and continues to become, a parent-driven, child-centered method of education.
That is the best education model in the world!