A Teacher’s Defence of Homeschooling

26 December 2023

5.1 MINS

A short while ago, my Instagram feed was full of reels showing adorable traditional families homeschooling their children. The videos made me smile as I glimpsed the fullness of the bond between the mother and her children — idealised for the digital platform, of course, but wholesome nonetheless. Far less wholesome were many of the comments underneath these videos, which I will briefly respond to in the following.

As for me, I went to conventional institutional schools as a child — public and Catholic schools. However, many of my cousins were homeschooled, and the following comments couldn’t be less representative of them. Having just recently completed my Master of Teaching, I feel prompted to clear the air about some of these homeschooling stereotypes from the perspective of a graduate teacher. So, without further ado, this is a teacher’s defence of homeschooling.


  • “Homeschooling is just a way to brainwash your kids.”

  • “All those poor abused and brainwashed kids.”

First of all, let’s address this “brainwashing” idea. This seems to imply that schools would never brainwash their students — which is a ridiculous thing to believe. In recent times, we have seen woke narratives permeate into school cultures and even curriculums. We have seen religion pushed out of schools. We have seen STEM hailed and promoted as the most important of school subjects at the expense of the liberal arts.

There have been several instances in which students have been discouraged from criticising, questioning, or speaking out against selected narratives — and this is the hallmark of indoctrination. Schools certainly can indoctrinate children, which is why transparency with parents is vital.

Raising one’s own child with one’s own values is not comparable. Children need that stability and support, and parents have the authority to provide this. Schools do not have the authority to step in between a parent and their child. At the same time, however, indoctrination can certainly happen at home, too.

If indoctrination is just teaching a person to accept an idea uncritically, from a biased point of view, sheltered from other perspectives, then this can happen at home if education is narrow. (The age and maturity of the child are also important considerations.) Indoctrination is something that can happen at home just as much as at school. However, only one has the added disgrace of acting behind a parent’s back.

Academic Standards

  • “Keep homeschooling your kids. I need janitors and cleaning ladies.”

  • “This is why US education standards are plummeting.”

  • “Increased homeschooling coincides with the rise in undereducated and misinformation, oddly enough.”

Next, there is the idea that homeschooling produces poorer academic outcomes. This assumption surely has to be born from a simple lack of understanding about how homeschooling works and what kinds of resources are used. As with normal schooling, homeschooling follows a set curriculum. Common content is covered, and students have to meet set achievement standards. It is unusual for parents to write their own curriculum.

Statistically, homeschooling is very often on par with, or above, public schooling in terms of academic performance. According to one study, the home-educated typically score 15 to 25 percentile points above public-school students on standardised academic achievement tests. 69% of peer-reviewed studies on success into adulthood show adults who were home-educated succeed and perform significantly better than those who attended institutional schools (Ray, 2017).

Of course, this does not necessarily mean that institutional schools produce poorer outcomes, but rather that homeschooling is a perfectly viable option for a child’s education. Many of these studies do not control for demographic factors. It is also worth noting that more structured homeschool programs tend to perform well, while less structured homeschool programs tend to perform at a lower level when compared to institutional schools. A parent’s approach to homeschooling does have an impact, just as a teacher’s approach to schooling has an impact.

Social Skills

  • “Homeschool is raising weird kids. I said it. No social skills. Can’t play with others. Won’t know how the real world works.”

A third complaint is that homeschoolers are not well socially developed. Again, this is demonstrably false and depends upon a parent’s approach to homeschooling. 87% of peer-reviewed studies on social, emotional, and psychological development show that homeschooled students perform better than those in conventional schools (Ray, 2017).

Many homeschoolers are regularly involved in social and educational activities outside their homes, e.g. volunteering, academic or extracurricular cohort groups, league sports, and music lessons. Additionally, due to their more flexible schedules, homeschoolers can enter the workforce at an earlier age, gaining real-world experience and fostering independence.

Of course, sheltered parenting is not going to achieve these same outcomes, and many institutional schools have their ways of meeting these outcomes in other ways. However, it must be remembered that I am not here arguing for the supremacy of one method over another, but I am simply defending the validity of homeschooling as a means of education.


  • “It’s disrespectful to teachers to think that an unqualified woman is able to educate kids to the level that they could.”

  • “How exactly does one who has never had formal training teach a physics course should your child want that? You cannot.”

Let it finally be said that, as a teacher, I do not find homeschooling disrespectful in the slightest. Teachers have by no means “mastered their craft” — becoming a good educator is a process and takes practice. There is no reason why parents cannot put in the same effort to be good educators.

Additionally, throughout my degree, relationships were emphasised far more than expertise. Educators will struggle to properly engage and teach students without developing good relationships with them — and who else knows a child better than their parent? Parents are in a unique position to understand and respond to the learning needs of their children. Homeschooling is also far more personal and tutor-like, while institutional schools can have around 32 students in one class with one teacher.

Teachers learn how to teach and manage a classroom of students within the conventional school setting. Parents do not need this kind of expertise, as they have far fewer students and do not need to know how to work within institutional schools. The fact of the matter is that many teachers are only a few steps ahead of students in content knowledge, and specialisation in various subject areas can often be more of a time-saver than a necessity (knowing where to look and how to start). Likewise, parents can commit themselves to learning content a few steps ahead of their child.

Of course, there are some levels of content that a parent may struggle with, but this is usually more for the final years of high school when some homeschoolers will switch to institutional schools regardless (often so that they may attend university through a more direct pathway). Even at this stage, there is no harm in a parent learning alongside their child and guiding them in research and critical techniques.


Another angle to consider is that conventional schooling doesn’t suit everyone. For example, it has been observed that boys tend to perform more poorly than girls in conventional schools. Boys can be a lot more movement-driven in their learning, which can be more easily catered for in homeschooling rather than in the conventional classroom. Boys can also be a lot more single-task-focused, making numerous transitions between subjects difficult.

Some kids thrive in conventional schools. Some would be better off homeschooling. For some, conventional schooling is their only option, and (though not ideal) it does the job well enough. Plenty of kids can benefit from the flexibility of homeschooling and the opportunity to study at their own pace. Kids can also benefit from the opportunity to specialise earlier than at conventional schools, leading to increased expertise in their unique fields of interest.

All of this is to say that homeschooling is a completely valid option for a child’s education and should by no means be looked down upon as an incompetent and ineffective teaching pathway that produces brainwashed and socially stunted children. Homeschooling is a lot of work, but it reaps the benefits of flexibility and full transparency.


Photo by Gustavo Fring.

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  1. Clare Cropano 26 December 2023 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    My nephew was home schooled, in university at aged 16 and at 22 years is a doctor,.

  2. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 26 December 2023 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I was a trained High school teacher who taught in State schools in SA. After 2 years I was 2 marks off promotion to Senior Mistress, but, quit and travelled around the World for a year on my own . I regret bitterly not home-schooling my daughters because they would have received a far better education from me .
    Coaching in science subjects would have been happily provided by the son of a close family friend .This man taught science at the nearby State school which had the reputation as one of the best schools in SA . Plus, he lived very close to us .
    I would have kept my daughters away from evil influences and raised them with my values and extensive knowledge of many subjects.
    What I have instead are 2 big disappointments who have refused to see me for over 20 years. The eldest hates me, and, the younger one is secretive about her associations and beliefs . I suspect she has rejected Christianity and is deeply involved with the New Age rubbish preached in California—tarot cards for cats and dogs, witchcraft, etc. There is big meeting in March 2024 in Arizona.Perhaps she will attend ?
    The money I wasted on a Catholic education which taught them nothing about Christianity would have been better spent travelling, living and meeting family Overseas and learning another language. What they learnt at school and university is ZERO ! They are like the rest of Australian graduates—UNEDUCATED ! They have degrees but know nothing about music, art, history, lierature, science, etc.
    I have never been allowed to speak with or meet my grandchildren, so, they will grow up as part of this Godless Woke society . I feel that I have wasted my life raising these daughters with whom I have NOTHING in common ! All I can do is pray for them and my unfortunate grandchildren who will probably grow up as ignorant and stupid as their parents ! Heaven help Australia !

  3. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 27 December 2023 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    I could not understand what I had done wrong in their upbringing ? My daughters were 10 + 8 when their father suddenly died. My father interfered in their upbringing. He bought a house in Melbourne for one of them so she could attend Melbourne University which =indoctrination/ Brain -Washing into Wokeness . Until I joined The Declaration, I had never heard of Wokeness. Best idea is not to encourage children to attend universities unless it is to do a proper course like medicine, etc. I have no family as a result.

  4. Josie 29 May 2024 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    There are many critiques of homeschooling, some a valid and some are not well researched. As with all methods of education there are downsides to every option. However, from personal experience and the experiences of others I am so grateful that my parents chose to homeschool me. In no way shape or form was I deprived socially, emotionally or academically, In fact, I would argue that I feel more equiped to face the real world.
    I am now at university (which always freaked me out because I thought I would perform poorly academically), however, I have received high grades and have been recognised by a lot of my tutors. With the way culture is turning and the indoctrination in schools especially with woke education, I will most certainly be homeschooling my kids!

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