The imamother thread on "The High Cost of Jewish Education and [limiting] size of family" went into a discussion on aliyah and homeschooling. One mother states "Homeschooling is a big expense, it means giving up an extra salary." Well, I'm NOT here to argue about accounting of homeschooling and lost opportunity cost vs. paying private schooling tuitions. Every family is welcome to make their own accounting if they have an interest in alternatives to private education. An naturally cost is only one part of the equation. Needs and personalities of parents and children are other large parts of the equation.
But, I do think it necessary to point out the misconception that a parent cannot earn an income and homeschool at the same time. Yes, it is true that most homeschooling families include a self-identified "homemaker," which may or may not mean translate into "income free" as many a homeschool teacher also operates a small home business. But there is also a growing contingent of dual income homeschooling families in which the primary teacher (usually the mother) is also employed in the professions.
I'm kicking myself because I'm unable to locate a Wall Street Journal article that my husband generously clipped for me a couple of years ago thinking it might be of interest for the blog (can't locate it online either). This article featured the feat an increasing number of dual income families are taking on: simultaneously homeschooling their child(ren). These families were not driven to homeschooling out of any particular ideology except their drive to provide their children with a high quality education that they had concluded could be provided best in the home. Somehow these families found that they were both able to instruct their (generally independent) child(ren) while working side-by-side them on their own paid employment through telecommuting and flexible scheduling opportunities. I did note that both parents generally shared the responsibility of instruction and I don't recall a mention of pre-school aged children in the home either. These were not stereotypical homeschooling families (strongly Christian, often residing in small town or rural areas, numerous children, traditional gender roles), but rather "modern," cosmopolitan, an at least somewhat egalitarian families. The article provided an interesting window into a growing contingent of homeschooling families that few would expect exist.
Trivia Question for all the Sports Fans Reading my Blog (don't click on the following link before making your guess): Which famous NFL star was homeschooled during his high school years? (Yes, apparently you can homeschool and still participate in a public school sports league, another interesting dimension in the continuing exploration of homeschooling).
While I was unable to find the Wall Street Journal article, I did find an informative article from the CATO institute on homeschooling that contained a lot of interesting history, subject matter and even statistics on homeschooling families, as well as confirmed that there are different contingents of homeschoolers.
- A few interesting stats from March 1997 study by the Home School Legal Defense Association, "Home Education across the United States," which is sighted about article shows that the average cost incurred per homeschooled student is $546.
- 87.7 percent of mothers list their profession as homemaker, home educator. Another 12.3% list another occupation. The next highest occupation listed is Professional 1 (Accountant, Registered Nurse, Engineer) at 4.8%.
- The five most popular occupations for fathers included 17.3% Professional 1 (Accountant, Registered Nurse, Engineer), 16.9% Professional 2 (Doctor, Professor, Lawyer), 10.7% Small Business Owner, 8.9% Manager, and 8.1% Technical.
I wonder what the percentages are currently, almost 12 years later. Nonetheless, it is erroneous to conclude homeschooling must equal income free for the secondary income earner, although I imagine the more young children that are in the equation, the more difficult it is to both achieve an income and serve in the role of teacher.