“It’s not a competition.” That was my first reaction to an article send to me by a friend with the news that the number of American children who are homeschooled now exceeds the number of children in parochial schools. The numbers are:
- In 1980, about 10,000 families chose to homeschool.
- As of 2012, 1.8M K-12 students were homeschooled. That’s 3.4% of the K-12 school population. That number is now more than 2M.
Conventional wisdom would say that I should be against homeschooling. I run a Catholic high school and anyone choosing homeschool education for their high school age child is one less student coming to Bishop Kelley High School. I don’t see it that way. I am a big believer in the Catholic teaching that “parents are the primary educators of their children.” For many families that is a Catholic education. In the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma, that’s about 4,000 students in 13 schools. For these families, they’ve decided that a Catholic school is the best place for their children. An increasing number of parents in Oklahoma and around the country believe that a homeschool education is best for their children. This is a good thing.
So as a school leader, I’m not threatened by an increasing number of homeschool families. It’s not a competition. Those parents believe that homeschooling is the best way to educate their child just as parents who send their children to Bishop Kelley believe that we’re the best option. Several options for parents, including public, charter, and online, are good for kids, good for Oklahoma, and good for this country. It’s my hope that the state and federal government encourage more options for families, not fewer.
God bless you!
P.S.- A new private high school for boys is opening in north Tulsa. Another option for Tulsa families!