There are almost as many answers to the question of why you should homeschool your children as there are parents undertaking homeschooling.
Every educational system offers great opportunities for children to learn new information and skills, as well as harness their own unique qualities and interests. Homeschooling is no different than public school, private school, charter school, unschooling, and other models in that there are pros and cons.
One of the first issues to consider is that homeschooling represents a major lifestyle change.
As you probably know, when you decide to homeschool, you will take on the duties and responsibilities of both a teacher and administrator. You will need to implement lessons, organize field trips, coordinate activities with other parents, and make sure you are compliant with state and local homeschool requirements. These responsibilities get added to your normal role as a parent.
What’s more, since your child will no longer be in a public school environment and all learning will take place in the home, the family’s lifestyle and pace will change. More time will be dedicated to homeschooling. Daily chores, errands, doctor’s appointments, and typical household routines will need to be scheduled in coordination with your homeschooling plan.
Another important change is that while parents normally spend a lot of time with their children, homeschooling parents spend even more time with their kids. The amount of time you need to spend homeschooling is a major lifestyle change that influences the decision of many parents on whether or not they homeschool. Though there are many ways for parents to secure time for themselves, it is important to recognize that you will spend more time with your children than you do currently.
You also have the added financial costs of homeschooling. While there are many free resources available, homeschool supplies such as textbooks, books, paper, art supplies, computers, software, and other homeschool tools cost money. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the financial costs associated with homeschooling.
However, you cannot escape the fact that by dedicating more time to teaching your children at home, your family may suffer a loss in income. The challenge is greater if you are a single-parent. Careful budgeting and time management skills will be essential if you are going to homeschool.
One of the biggest myths we shatter is the idea that homeschool socialization does not exist or that homeschoolers are all weird or do not know how to interact with people. The truth of the matter is that there are pros and cons with the social experience of homeschoolers, just as there are pros and cons with public school. Experiences will vary for all children, but the fairest way to characterize socialization in a homeschool environment is to say it is different.
Some parents wish to remove their children from a public school system which they see as failing, or as being positively harmful to their children. Other parents wish to school their children at home for religious reasons, or to instill certain values into their children. Whatever the reason, there can be little doubt that most parents choose homeschooling because they believe that it is the best educational choice for their children.
For many there are two sides to homeschooling comprising those things that it brings to the child and those things that it removes from the child’s environment. Peer pressure and bullying are rife throughout the public school system today and can place children under considerable pressure and, at times, even place them in danger. Homeschooling your children allows you far greater control over just who your children do and do not come into contact with and how they are influenced.
In fact, on average, homeschoolers participate more in their community, are less sedentary, and socialize with a wider mix of adults (especially professionals) than their public school counterparts.
In terms of a child’s growth and academic development there can be little doubt that, in the majority of cases, homeschooling produces superior results and this is evidenced in such things as home schooled children winning the National Spelling Bees and the number of home schooled children attaining degrees (in many cases Master’s degrees) at some of our finest universities, often at remarkably young ages.
Of course many people will claim that such children are simply gifted and that their success is due to their natural genius rather than to homeschooling. However, if this were the case then we are certainly blessed with an abundance of geniuses in our younger generation. The simple fact of the matter is that the numbers do not support this view.
The numbers, produced not simply by advocates of homeschooling but by bodies such as the US Department of Education, clearly show that home schooled children do far better than their publicly schooled peers with home schooled children a grade ahead by the age of 12 and as much as four grades ahead by the time they reach the equivalent of the 8th grade.
Also if your child is struggling with a subject or a specific concept, you do not need to skip it and move on. Instead, you can work with your child until she/he has mastered the material. Homeschooling allows you to take all the time you need to ensure learning is taking place. Likewise, if your child is ready to move on, you do not need to waste time on redundant or repetitive lessons. Homeschooling children can move through educational materials at a faster pace than their peers.
In a public or private school, with 20 or more kids in a class, a teacher has to address everyone’s learning style and everyone’s pace. When the majority are ready to move on, other children get left behind. Of course, if your child is ready to advance to other material, she/he often must wait until a sufficient number of students are ready. In both cases, many children often end up feeling bored, frustrated, or both.
Another benefit of homeschooling education is that it exposes children to more unique experiences. Parents and kids often cite how homeschool curriculum encouraged them to get out of the home and learn about science, art, math, and history in the real world. Experiencing things outside of a classroom is often more engaging and leads to better absorption of knowledge and skills.
Homeschooling is certainly not an easy option and is certainly hard work for most parents, especially in the early days, but there is little doubt that it works and the rewards for both children and parents are well worth the effort.