In the wake of recent tragic school shootings, anxious parents are contemplating homeschooling to protect their children. After February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Miami Herald reported that more parents were considering the homeschooling option. And after Friday’s disturbing school shooting in Sante Fe, Texas, a local ABC news affiliate in Alabama reported the increasing appeal of homeschooling.
“If I had the time, I would teach my kids myself, and I would know that they’re safe,” a father of four told ABC station, WAAY31. A public school teacher interviewed by the channel disagreed with the idea of homeschooling. According to the news story, the teacher “says resorting to homeschooling is teaching your children to run from reality.”
But that raises the question: Is compulsory mass schooling “reality”?
Public Schools Are Consuming More and More of Kids’ Time
Segregating children by age into increasingly restrictive, test-driven classrooms where they are forced by law to be unless a parent or caregiver liberates them is hardly “reality.” What’s worse is that young people are spending increasingly more time in this coercive “reality” than ever before.
In the case of teens, spending more time in school and school-like activities may be further separating them from the actual real world.
For young children ages six to eight, schooling increased from an average of five hours a day in 1981-82 to an average of seven hours a day in 2002-03. And for today’s teens, schooling consumes much more of their time than it did for previous generations, seeping into summertime and other historically school-free periods. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 42 percent of teens were enrolled in school during July 2016, compared to only 10 percent enrolled in July 1985.
In the case of teens, spending more time in school and school-like activities may be further separating them from the actual real world in which they previously came of age. As Business Insider reports: “Almost 60% of teens in 1979 had a job, compared to 34% in 2015.” Spending more time in the contrived reality of forced schooling and less time in authentic, multi-age, productive communities may be taking its toll on today’s youth…