[Originally published in the Front Range Voluntaryist, article by Amelia Morris]
I have never stepped foot in a public high school, so I can't testify as to why that system doesn't work, but I can shed light on why I believe homeschooling is a system of education that does work. I'm not saying there isn't a wrong way to do it. I have known other people who were homeschooled that grew up to have no goals, no ambition, and no special skills. More often than not, this is a case in which a parent is focused more on indoctrination and their own ideas of what education should be. Some parents ignore the fact that a child needs to explore to expand his or her mind.
I was lucky enough to be placed in a homeschooling co-op. This is a small group of parents, usually ten to fifteen, who take it upon themselves to become teachers, allowing a child be homeschooled while at the same time gaining the student/teacher relationship, rather than just the child/parent relationship. My group met twice a week, as most parents were also working full time jobs. This gives a child the opportunity to slow down, or speed up if needed. It's an opportunity that's not usually granted in a traditional classroom setting.
Through this system, I was allowed to excel at subjects I was strong with, and slow down on subjects I was poor with. For the rest of the week, we were expected to hold ourselves to a standard. We had to learn to keep up on our own and had to have something to say about what we learned before our next class. I know that sounds impossible for a bunch of kids, but somehow we succeeded. We knew what a privilege it was to be a part of this smaller, trusting community, and I think that's what kept us from backsliding.
As far as the social aspect, which is crucial in a person's development, the average class would have three to five children. This was a perfect setting for someone like me who, even as a child, seemed to be riddled with social anxiety. There was no room for cliques or bad blood. Because of the small-scale setting, we were able to form real friendships that have lasted far beyond our school years. Both my parents (My mother taught biology and my father held art classes) and I look back on our shared homeschooling experience with a lot of great memories, and I know that should I ever have children, it's something I would want them to experience as well.