Homeschool in the US is something we frequently discuss with German friends and family. Homeschooling is not only unknown in German, it’s downright illegal – your child is forced to go to school, by police force, if necessary. There is no alternative, period. It is so engrained in the society that it’s hard to discuss homeschooling with Germans because of all the preoccupation and prejudice. Funny, because in a number of European Countries homeschooling is as legal as in the US or Canada, like in France, Italy or England.
Here in USA, homeschooling is quite common. In 2012, about 1.8 million students were homeschooled, a 100% increase over just 10 years. What makes parents homeschool their kids? Well, we did it because we were fulltime travelling. Other parents, because the distance to the next acceptable school is too large. But the majority homeschool because they don’t like the public schools that are available to their kids, and don’t want to send them to private schools, because they are no good either or not affordable.
Why don’t homeschooling parents like public schools? I guess (because I only know it for sure for the area where I live) because they don’t like the environment or the demographics of the next public school serviced by a school bus. Here on Hilton Head, where the public schools are pretty decent, the reason for homeschooling is mostly religious. Homeschooling parents don’t like the fact that public education has to be secular – religion free – by constitution. A discussion about crucifixes hanging off a school wall like in Germany is unthinkable in the US – simply can’t happen. When I ran the Lego business (Bricks4Kidz), I had classes designed for homeschooled kids which gave me the opportunity to talk to the parents about their motivation – very interesting. Virtually all of them said that they didn’t want to expose their kids to an education that is not based on christian ethics.
I will write a post about our own experience with homeschooling, including the “technicalities”.