Public School Issues
Many parents are basing part of their decision to homeschool on issues with public schooling, from bullying to poor academic performance to problems with governmental control.
Links and Items
The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
These 13 essays, presented at the 1993 National Grassroots Speakout on the Right to School Choice, illustrate how education reform actually works. Written by award-winning teachers and their students, these essays present successful teaching methods that work in both traditional and nontraditional classroom settings. “Gatto’s voice is strong and unique.” — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
Exploring Single Black Mothers' Resistance Through Homeschooling

This work looks at contemporary Black homeschooling as a form of resistance among single Black mothers, exploring each mother's experience and perspective in deciding to homeschool and developing their practice. It faces the many issues that plague the education of Black children in America, including discipline disproportionality, frequent special education referrals, low expectations in the classroom, and the marginalization of Black parents. Most importantly, this work challenges stereotypical characterizations of who homeschools and why.

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
They're Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate

For many people, their schooling was uncomfortable, tedious, and sometimes a waste of time and energy. This book offers the idea that the public school system is tragically flawed and that we are able to do better for our own children. Sam Sorbo, mom of three and wife of actor Kevin Sorbo, took the leap into homeschooling and found the joy and success she was seeking. Included are strategies for working parents, those who are scared to take the leap, and anyone who wants the best for their children. 

Concerns About Public Schools
Universal Preschool
There is a national campaign to institutionalize all preschoolers through government funded and/or mandated "universal preschool." This group seeks to redefine universal preschool as an unheralded worldwide community of loving, functional parents who exercise their right and authority to nurture and teach their young children at home.
How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education
More than 1.2 million students are now being taught at home, more students than are enrolled in the entire New York City public school system. Paul T. Hill reports on the pros and cons of learning at home—and the effects home schooling will have on public schools.
Students Against Testing
This website offers an alternative look at standardized testing. Students Against Testing was created to be a strong force against the score-obsessed education machine known as standardized testing. At the same time, SAT also exists as an advocate for bringing positive, creative and real-life learning activities into the schools.
The Seduction of Homeschooling Families
Do the public school authorities feel threatened by homeschooling? Judging by their efforts to lure homeschooling families into dependence on local school districts, the answer is apparently yes. For the last several years, homeschooling has been the fastest growing educational alternative in the country. The sheer number of homeschoolers represent a distinct threat to the hegemony of the government school monopoly. Qualitatively, the academic success of homeschoolers, measured by standardized test scores and recruitment by colleges, debunk the myth that parents need to hire credentialed experts to force children to learn.
The Case for Homeschooling
The public schools are beyond repair. If it is not practical to replace the current system, then at least let those alone who wish to homeschool. Hassle them not. Instead, encourage them and help them. Parents who homeschool their children have three basic complaints against public schools: the lack of academic rigor, the number of maladjusted graduates, and the anti-religious atmosphere. Homeschool advocates claim that homeschooling overcomes these problems. They argue that no matter whether the educational philosophy one holds is that schooling prepares for life or schooling is life, the homeschooled do better. Proponents also claim that private schools are nearly always similar to public schools, so the fundamental criticisms of public schools apply to private schools also, although to a lesser degree.
Pulling Kids Out of Government Schools
Parents should take their kids out of government school because government education is not possible. "Government education" is an oxymoron. The object of teaching is the transmission of truth, which is reality. A synonym for the word “teach” is “indoctrinate.” Another good term is to “propagate” or “propagandize,” which is the teaching of any system of principles. You can see the problem with any government indoctrinating or propagandizing children. It is inherently immoral and un-American to charge the government with this responsibility.
American Education History Tour
John Taylor Gatto, author of "The Underground History of American Education," has composed this graphic representation of the real history of the education establishment in America.
The Myth of Teacher Qualifications
Most education officials publicly claim that teachers need special “qualifications” in order to be effective. As a result, public education organizations often promote legislation or an interpretation of the law which would require home school parents to have one of three qualifications: 1) a teacher certificate, 2) a college degree, or 3) pass a “teacher’s exam.” Although this seems reasonable on the surface, such requirements not only violate the right of parents to teach their children as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, but virtually all academic research documents that there is no positive correlation between teacher qualifications (especially teacher certification requirements) and student performance.
Saving the Children
It is sometimes said, by public school supporters, that if some children are taken out of the system to go to other schools, the public schools will deteriorate. And so, the thinking goes, parents have a "duty to society" to keep their kids in the public schools, even though they have already deteriorated almost beyond recognition. How absurd that the government schools think of the children as serving the schools' or society's needs instead of the other way around. It's not the school system that needs saving, or even reforming. It's the children who need to escape from the failing government schools and be allowed to home school or attend successful private schools, without the penalty of paying twice -- once with taxes and again for tuition.
Against School
This essay was written for the Harper's Magazine forum, "School on a Hill." John Taylor Gatto discusses how public education cripples our kids and why.
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Featured Resources

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Homeschooling: The Teen Years : Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- to 18- Year-Old (Prima Home Learning Library)
The teen years are when many homeschooling parents start to question or abandon their efforts. It's a precarious time, with challenging academics, pressing social issues, and the prospect of college looming. Parents can now breathe easy: this guide calms the teen-time jitters and even offers hope to those just turning to homeschooling now that their child is about to enter high school. With brief "how we did it" testimonies from other parents sprinkled throughout the book, author Cafi Cohen offe...
I Learn Better by Teaching Myself/Still Teaching Ourselves
This new edition combines two popular books under one cover. How a homeschooling mother learned to trust her children-and herself-to learn in new ways. Covers elementary years through high school. These books are especially good for anyone wrestling with the question of "how much structure should there be in a homeschool?"
Different Brains, Different Learners: How to Reach the Hard to Reach
Nearly 40% of all students have some kind of learning challenges, yet many go undetected. This practical comprehensive guide has been written that links the latest brain research with teaching strategies to reach you most frustrating, hard-to-reach learners. It's packed with powerful tools, techniques, and strategies that can actually help students improve brain function without resorting to medical interventions.Arm yourself with powerful knowledge for solving difficult learning problems; ...
Raising Topsy-Turvy Kids: Successfully Parenting Your Visual-Spatial Child
Understanding how children learn best allows you to meet their needs and help them succeed. A visual-spatial learner remembers things in pictures and learns better with visual clues and strategies. This book addresses those needs and helps you figure out how to encourage this type of learner in your homeschool environment. 
The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom
Unschooling, a homeschooling method based on the belief that kids learn best when allowed to pursue their natural curiosities and interests, is practiced by 10 to 15 percent of the estimated 1.5 million homeschoolers in the United States. There is no curriculum or master plan for allowing children to decide when, what, and how they will learn, but veteran homeschooler Mary Griffith comes as close as you can get in this slim manual. Written in a conversational, salon-style manner, The Unschooling...