In Education, Sometimes Less is More

The trend in traditional education these days is that more is better – more hours, more days, more instruction. The local Catholic elementary school lengthened the day by an hour this year. The students (including Kindergarteners) now get out at 3:30. Most get home around 4 pm. Those who play sports or having evening activities have to be out of their homes by 5 pm. After these activities, they have to go home and do their homework and then get ready for bed (probably too late to be fully rested to get up the next day and do it again). These children have no time for imagination. Almost every moment of their day has consisted of structured activity.

I am not anti-school. I’m glad that there is the option of free education in our country. I strongly support Catholic schools. I know several teachers who are dedicated and hard-working and go in every day and do the very best that they can. However, they simply cannot provide every child what she or he needs to be the best she or he can.

Homeschooling is incredibly more time-effective than traditional schooling. Children who are homeschooled have the time to pursue their own interests and the down-time to fully develop their imaginations. I see this every day with my own children, but I also witnessed it the other day in my friend’s daughter. She is 10 years old. The other day, I was sitting at the sidelines of soccer practice doing some of my own work and she came and sat beside me, notebook in hand. She was working on writing a story. She had committed herself to working on it 10 pages every day. She sat there diligently writing, happy as could be. She was on page 73 when the practice was done. All I could think was that if she were in traditional school, she would never have the time to do this. She might have the idea for the story and even the desire to write it, but she wouldn’t be able to, because her life would be filled up with things that other people think are important.

Homeschooling gives children the gift of time. Contrary to what the educational experts seem to think, sometimes, in education, less is definitely more.

Originally published in 2009.

Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fifteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary". She blogs at