My husband and I have decided to home school our daughter when she becomes school age in three years. We didn't make this decision for religious reasons. We made it for practical reasons. We both feel that the current state of the American education system will do nothing but inhibit her. It isn't because we think she's smarter than the average bear; she is. Even if we felt she was just average, or even slow, we'd probably feel the same way. Public education today has failed us.
Every day, I read about rich politicians making more cuts in public education and demanding more stringent standardized testing, while sending their own children to private schools that are exempt from these tests. More recently, I've read about school administrators cutting programs while their children go to neighboring districts that experience no such funding cuts. In Texas, I've read about parents who would rather keep the football program than "liberal arts," not realizing that these include mathematics, science, and other necessary subjects. It's truly sad when parents put more value on a sport than on education, which is why I feel it is important to home school my daughter, at least for the first five to seven years.
Already I'm starting to see kids who can't spell simple words, or tell the difference between "then" and "than," or "your" and "you're." The recent and blatant misspelling of the word "juiciest" by ABC is just a symptom in a bigger problem: people don't care anymore. They don't care about learning for the sake of learning. They don't have high standards anymore. Everyone is so used to text speak, that few people notice simple mistakes.
With all the advancements in technology, giving my daughter a head start in her education won't be difficult. I've begun to research home schooling options, including online schools and individual programs. The common argument against this method of education is "she'll be isolated," "she won't have a chance to make friends," and the whopper, "you're sheltering her!" Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. By home schooling, I will actually be opening doors for her. Many schools today can't afford field trips, and others are cutting arts and music programs. I can tailor her curriculum to fit her interests without having to work around the school's ability to accommodate her. To answer the socialization question, if I go the online school route, there's a built-in community where her "classmates" will have an opportunity to meet and make friends. If we go the individual curriculum route, we can find groups through online networking.