Homeschooling or home education simply means to educate your children at home. Instead of sending them to a government-run school or private school, the parent instructs them. This was common practice until the late 1800’s in the United States. Homeschooling never completely went away and found a new resurgence in the 1960’s. Since then it has steadily become increasingly popular, especially over the past 10 years.
There are several reasons parents decide to homeschool
Some parents decide to homeschool because they feel the public schools aren’t safe or are inadequate in educating their children. Other parents homeschool because they love the freedom that comes with it. However, the most common reason parents homeschool is because they feel the public schools are failing them. There are many homeschooled children with learning disabilities. If left in the public-school system, they would have fallen through the cracks. The large classroom size inhibits the ability of the teacher to give one on one instruction. Those children needing extra help are commonly left to fend for themselves. This was the reason I decided to homeschool our son.
My son is dyslexic. Instead of helping him, the public school was ignoring him. He couldn’t read, and they were just allowing him to continue to move forward in school. I tried to work with the school system. Unfortunately, there came a point where I knew that he was not getting the help he needed. That was when my husband and I decided to pull him out of the public school. I had never intended to homeschool my children. However, out of necessity, I did not feel I had any other choice. There were no private schools in our area. Below I will go into some homeschooling pros and cons.
What are the advantages of homeschooling?
Homeschooling allows you much more freedom than traditional public schools. Since you are making the decisions, you can set the schedule that works best for your family. I have discovered that my children are much more successful in their school work when they get adequate sleep. For this reason, we start school at 9:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. like our local public schools. We fluctuate our schedule depending on our needs. If we need an extra day off for a family activity we can take it. We just make up the difference on a different day.
Another advantage of homeschooling is that you can choose the curriculum as well as what classes they will be studying. This allows the parent to determine what they feel would be the best education for their children. Most states have laws regarding homeschooling and certain requirements you must meet to continue. Our state requires standardized testing every other year to make sure that our children are learning the required subjects. Most homeschooling families try extremely hard to provide their children with an excellent education.
Since homeschooling has become common in the United States colleges and universities have little objection to accepting a homeschool student. The student just needs to provide high school transcripts to show what coursework they have done. Homeschool students take the same entrance exams as other students. In fact, some universities actively seek out homeschool students because of their advanced education and discipline.
There is a stigma associated with homeschooled children. Some people believe that they are uneducated and unsocialized. In reality most of the time it is the complete opposite. My children have learned to be more outgoing than I feel they normally would have been in a public-school setting. They have to be outgoing to meet other kids and are used to conversing with adults. We have never had a problem with socialization. I have always made a point to have my children involved in community activities such as youth organizations and sports. Most of their friends attend public school.
However, this can be a disadvantage. Parents must make the effort to have their children involved in activities with their peers. Isolated children can become awkward and unsocialized. This does not happen very often anymore because parents are much more aware of the need for their children to socialize. Many families take part in homeschool co-ops. A homeschool co-op is a group of homeschool families that gather together. They help each other and provide social opportunities for their children. Examples of this would be field trips to museums or gatherings in the local park.
Another disadvantage to homeschooling is the difficulty in teaching classes. As my children age the coursework naturally becomes more difficult. This requires me to take the time to research and learn the material before presenting it to my children. Fortunately, the curriculum we use provides plenty of instructional videos and information to do this. Also, I have found several websites designed to help with homework or homeschool students. Often times my children end up learning more than they normally would have because we research and learn together.
The beautiful part of homeschooling
Over the years there have been some amazing things that have happened because of homeschooling. I had the wonderful experience of teaching my children to read. We practised reading and writing skills daily. My son went from not reading at all to being able to read at the same level as his peers. While the struggle was difficult, perseverance paid off and became one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
My youngest son plays the piano, it is his passion. I believe because we homeschool he has been able to achieve so much more with his piano playing. When taking breaks from his classes, I can find him practicing a new piece of music. Homeschooling provides him an opportunity to pursue his passion for music.
I feel that as a mother I have got to experience a different part of my children’s lives that I would have missed out on. While I don’t necessarily need to be there for every single math problem they do, I feel blessed to be there when they grasp a difficult concept. Some of our best memories have been doing science experiments or taking field trips to historical sites. We have had some fantastic times homeschooling and I would not change it at all.