School is Out on Home Education - and States Should Take Notice

Educational choice is a hot button issue in the realm of childhood education, and the homeschooling choice is gaining in popularity, particularly with parents who wish to take active responsibility in their children's education.

One of the primary issues surrounding home schooling in the United States is one of parental rights. Parents have a right to teach their children values and to prepare them to become self-sufficient and productive members of society. While this preparation, often referred to as 'socialization,' is one of the most commonly cited concerns about the homeschooling movement, research shows that home-educated adults are doing exceptionally well academically, civically, and socially.

Today an increasing number of parents are teaching their children at home, effectively saving the state thousands of dollars each year while parents spend their own funds on curricular resources, without so much as even a tax deduction for those expenses. This method of education is extremely economical for the state, and student results reveal that they are academically far surpassing their public school counter-parts.

Aaron Block, J.D. Candidate 2011 Regent Law, examined the results of the home schooling movement in America in his recent work for Juvenile Law. He makes the case that both states and the federal government should adopt public policies that proactively support parental rights especially as they relate to home education. He describes both the history and the present day success of home schooling and the various reasons why parents are returning to it. Then his work considers alarming international trends to ban home education and limit parental rights.

Finally, he suggests what lawmakers should do to protect parental rights and home education within the United States, arguing that based on fundamental parental rights, the higher academic achievement, and the cost-saving effects of home schooling, states should protect if not promote home schooling as an alternative to public education. At the very least, states should allow home schooling as form of school choice. His final article is forthcoming.


  1. As an aunt of three adorable children (ages 6, 3, and almost 1), I have witnessed some of the rapid behavioral development that takes place as each child encounters the world expanding around him or her. Reflecting on my former youth, I can pinpoint various events during my education (in the public school system) that influenced the way I communicate and perceive general expectations of myself and others. I think an environment can strongly impact a person’s perception, despite any possible genetic predispositions and being reasonably able to understand the outcomes of different choices will ultimately influence a person’s ability to communicate effectively in society. Parents and paid educators need to recognize the positive and negative consequences of the social environment they cultivate as it will affect the way future members of society perceive one another and communicate.

    Whether at home, in the classroom, or at the neighborhood park, children observe and develop patterns of behavior based on the interactions inherently formed and fostered within their environment; the expectations set forth become a standard that children will use to identify the consequences of varying acts of conformance. While children may have a wide range of needs, any legislation affecting the formative years must be in the best interest of the children. States should take a legitimate interest in the next generation, promoting fundamental parental rights, increasing the scholastic quality of public education, and improving standards for educators.

    Society should recognize the importance of teaching children to comprehend the consequences of their actions and encourage educators (parents or otherwise) to emphasize valuable perspectives that promote reason-based behavior. Home-school parents tend to believe they are in a better position to provide a setting where children can best develop these traits, while some worry the home-schooled child may be deprived of important developmental opportunities and limited to only those perspectives valued by the parent. However, if the states are capable of also emphasizing the importance of personal development by helping children develop appropriate social responses to adversity or opposing ideologies, then the states should learn from successful strategies employed my home-school parents without depriving the fundamental rights inherent to the family. Children would succeed more if both systems of education employed necessary benefits inherent to the different strategies. The future success of a society can often be measured by the current strength of its educational programs; communities that thrive are ones that provide a balanced environment pursuant to the excellent development of its children.

  2. In tandem with offering tax breaks for homeschooling parents, the government could further support home schooling by providing tax benefits or grants to programs that help Home School children, such as the YMCA's Home School Physical Education (aka "Hype"). Not only do these programs support home school education, but they provide additional financial breaks to the government by meeting other compelling state interests. In the case of home school physical education, that interest is lowering the costs of Health care by teaching children to be physically fit and to make healthy choices.