Author: Bruce Eagleson
Published in: CHAP Magazine
Published on: Jul. 5, 2007

What Will the Next Twenty-Two Years Bring?

Mary Ann and I have been home educating for twenty-two years. We have seen a lot of changes in homeschooling over those twenty-two years. One notable change has been the response we get when people find out that we homeschool. In the early years, the nearly universal response was, “Is that legal?” Now, the common response is “I could never do that!”

Another change is the choice of curricular materials. The first CHAP convention we  attended was the second annual meeting in 1986. As I recall, there were about twenty vendor booths. This year, the CHAP convention had over 380 booths. There are so many choices now that it makes deciding what to do much harder than it used to be.

This reminiscing led me to speculate about what homeschooling will be like twenty-two years from now. What will we be doing then? What role, if any, will state organizations have in the future? Will parents still be the deciding factor in homeschooling?

First, I’d like to share some guesses about what primary and secondary education will look like in twenty-two more years. I suspect that the lines between homeschool, private schools and public schools will continue to blur. It seems likely that private schools will reach out to homeschoolers and offer classes on a one by one basis. I believe that some of the homeschool co-ops will also continue to expand the frequency and variety of their offerings until they look like private schools.

There seems to be little doubt that the public school at home movement will continue to grow. I believe that brick and mortar public schools will begin to decrease. They are terribly expensive and are not accomplishing their goals. For example, this year Pennsylvania public education will cost over 20 billion dollars. Economic factors will slowly force public schools to educate by increasing the use of technology. An increasing percentage of public school students will be taught at home to save money. They will still be public school students subject to public school regulations and curriculum choices.

Another change coming is the increased blurring of the line between high school and college. Colleges see this as a source of income, as well a powerful way to recruit future students. This will put increasing pressure on public schools. It is a definite benefit for high school students who can take advantage of it.

Years ago, I realized the upper level McGuffey Readers were written at what would now be considered college level reading. This trend of college in high school is taking us back to where we were a hundred and twenty years ago. Putting high schoolers in college bypasses the dumbing down of high school. Many homeschoolers, public, and private schoolers will benefit from this trend.

How Will Christian Homeschooling Remain Vital?

I like to call what we are doing Christian parent-directed private home education. The four adjectives tell the story. It is first and foremost Christian. The goal is to produce disciples of Jesus the Christ. Secondly, it is parent-directed. That is, the parents ultimately decide what is to be taught and who is to teach it. Thirdly, it is private education, in that it is paid for by non-government sources. Thus, it is not government-controlled and not subject to anti-Christian regulation. Finally, it is home-based. Some of it may be conducted at co-ops, private schools, and the through internet, but it is home-based.

As the above mentioned changes occur, many in Christian home education leadership have quit talking about homeschooling at all. They instead use the term “home-based discipleship.”

How Does This View of the Future Change What State Organizations Do?

First of all, our goal of encouraging and supporting parents to take charge of their children’s Christian education is unchanged. We will emphasize the Christian, parent-directed, and private modifiers. State organizations needs to make clear the distinctions I’ve made above to our audience of homeschoolers, legislators, fellow believers, church leaders, and the general public.

We need to become ever more vigilant to protect our freedoms. Many will think that public school at home will meet our goals. When fully understood, it is obvious that public school at home is as far as it possibly could be from our goals. Thus, we will need to educate our constituents about these subtle but vital differences in the options. We need to inform the public policy makers on the state and national levels about what it is that we really want. We need to vigilantly oppose public policy that would interfere with our goals. We need to diligently work for public policy that increases our ability to accomplish our goals.

There is a nationwide campaign to increase the compulsory attendance age. It seems that the ultimate goal of this campaign is to require government education from birth to seventeen. Currently, it is the state homeschool organizations with the help of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) that are opposing these increases in compulsory attendance ages.

A second front we need to open is we need to make as many people as possible aware of our success. We need to continue to showcase students and families that are doing great things. Demonstrating our success is hard because it needs to be publicized widely, with gentleness and humility. Although these requirements seem contradictory, I believe they can be done.

One of the ways that we show our success is through academic research. Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NEHRI) has been instrumental in providing proof of home education’s effectiveness. A second way we can do this is to highlight homeschooling families and students in our magazines, emails, and press releases.

What can you do to advance the cause of Christian parent-directed private home education?

  • Pray.
  • Teach your children as if you had a direct command from God.
  • Join your state organization.
  • Send a check to the National Home Education Research Institute.
  • Join HSLDA.

Contact Data:

(As a Homeschool New York member, you’re eligible to receive a $15 discount on your HSLDA membership)

Home School Legal Defense Association

National Home Education Research Institute

Reprinted with permission from the National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership.