When someone says, “I home school”, what does that mean? For different families, the answers will vary greatly —they may even surprise you. Home schooling is often viewed as a movement of white conservative evangelical Christians. If you talked with families of homeschoolers, you would discover a variety of life-styles, teaching philosophies and focus interests that are just about as diverse as you can get. What you will find across the board is success. Home educators experience at least as much academic and social success as public schools without the benefit of public funds. According to the National Center for Education Statistics about 1.5 million students in the United States were being home schooled in 2007. There has been a 74 percent relative increase from 1999 to 2007 in the number of homeschooled students.
For over a decade, there has been a growing home schooling movement among Black Americans. A number of black parents are declining traditional educational options in favor of educating their children through home schooling, home-school communities and co-ops. In 2003, according to the National Home Educators Research Institute about 85,000 black students were home-schooled. Prince George’s County, the largest and wealthiest majority black county in the country has had the biggest increase in home schooling.
For my family the decision to home school came after many months of praying. While we are devout Christians, the decision to home-school was based primarily around the need to adjust our lives to accommodate my spouse sinuous work schedule and prepare for an upcoming move. Living in the D.C. area provides incredible opportunities to experience new adventures. So,I didn’t want to leave the area without taking advantage of these opportunities. My family and I were spending 3 to 4 ½ hours commuting my first grader to school uptown each day (it was an awesome language immersion DCPS school). Unfortunately, this left limited time for quality family time and extracurricular activities.
The home-schooling idea was not new to me. I had met families who had made this decision. Many parents home school to provide religious or moral instruction. Others make this choice due to school environment or dissatisfaction with academic instruction and/or to provide a non-traditional approach to education.
I would suggest if you are considering home schooling to first do your homework. There are regulations and guidelines mandated by your state and local districts. You will find an array of options in homeschooling. There are many home school communities in the area—you do not have to do this alone! Attend a home-school conference or book fair to review curriculum and resources available. Once you have decided to home-school, commit.
Although, it is not for every family, it works for my family. I know that God has given me this wonderful opportunity to minister to my children while providing a classical education.