Why Home School
There are several benefits of a home school education. One of the rewards is that children are able to pursue a deeper understanding of subject matter and how it pertains to life in general. Another fact is that online home school classes provide students with more free time to pursue other interests, especially ones that would enhance their strengths such as gifted athletes or musicians. It also allows children to spend more time with their families. In addition to helping students work at their own pace, studying at home increases a sense of independence in children starting out at a young age, which is something that will certainly benefit them over the long haul.
Families from every philosophical, religious, political, racial and economic group choose homeschooling as the best way to educate their children. It is almost impossible to list all of the reasons parents give for deciding to home school their children. However, parents do fall into three very broad, and increasingly overlapping, ideological groups:
- Religious/Moral Values: An estimated seventy-five percent of all homeschooling parents do so for religious reasons. Many parents feel that schools (including private, religion-based schools) do not address the spiritual issues and morals they want incorporated into their children's education. Some parents object to the teaching of ideas and theories contrary to theirs -- evolution and sex education, for example.
- Inadequate School-based Education: Growing numbers of parents are citing dissatisfaction with the level of their children's education as the primary reason for homeschooling. Most parents in this group have had children in public and/or private schools, but decided to home school because of the lack of individual attention, inadequate teaching methods, and declining academic standards, as well as poor school performance by children that excel at home. Also, concerns about school safety have increased in recent years, resulting in an increase in the number of children who begin homeschooling during the middle and high school years.
- Political Beliefs: Parents in this group tend to be politically liberal and home school their children in an effort to distance themselves from institutions of all kinds that encroach on their freedom. Some also cite the restrictive school environment that allows for little if any student-led instruction as the primary reason for homeschooling.
Many homeschooling parents believe that the social atmosphere of schools today is harmful to children and is not conducive to personal and intellectual growth. Many also cite a desire to play a more prominent role in their children's education and lives.
People home school for myriad reasons. But their overwhelming reason is to get the best possible education for their children. Any classroom teacher will tell you that the children who succeed in school are those whose parents are involved in their education. Homeschooling simply brings that involvement to a new level. The learning process which begins at birth simply continues naturally with the parents as teachers. When this partnership is working well, why dissolve it merely because at a certain age, children are "supposed to be in school"?
How Parents Play a Key Role
Parents are responsible for the future of their children and decisions pertaining to their child's education. Homeschooled children require constant supervision and being able to study online at home is one way to get parents more involved in their child's education. The greatest thing about having children study in an online environment is that parents get to be a lot more involved in their child's education process than they traditionally did.
Parents find it a lot easier to monitor their child's progress online and at home and being able to interact with instructors too, is a lot more feasible considering the numerous options available for online communication. However, it is important to carefully assess the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling before you remove your child from the public school system.
- Individual attention - In a large classroom, a teacher does not have the time to give specific individual attention to each student. In a homeschooling situation, parents are able to devote more time to their children and, because they know their children personally, can tailor curriculum and teaching styles for each child.
- Curriculum choices - Because of the wide variety of homeschooling and online curriculum now available, parents are able to include their child's interests in lesson planning - something a public school teacher does not have the time or budget to accomplish.
- Focused study time - Unfortunately, much of the time spent in public school is not focused on learning but on the administrative and organizational details of the school itself. When a child is homeschooled, time spent waiting on lines; waiting for other students to finish learning tasks, lining up for lunch and other non-learning time is converted into available learning hours, leaving the student to complete their work as quickly as they wish and move on to other learning interests.
- Family time - If structured correctly, homeschooling can assist parents in creating an improved family experience that will positively influence their child's life and instill values that will serve as guidelines in adult life.
- Real-life education - In addition to a formal curriculum tailored to a child's interests, homeschooling provides the opportunity to offer "real life" or "context-based" educational opportunities that are not available in public schools. Many parents use homeschooling time to introduce their children to money and banking, cooking, organizational skills, personal communication skills, etc.
- Creativity and imagination - When public schools experience budget cuts, the "creative arts" often suffer. Homeschooling can be structured to expose children to music, the arts, literature and communication skills that might not otherwise be offered in a public school setting.
- Socialization - Many home school parents cite removing their child from a peer-pressure atmosphere as an advantage of homeschooling. Some parents also consider the advantage of being able to offer their child a morals-and-values based education through homeschooling.
- Personal sacrifice - This is, by far, the most significant disadvantage to homeschooling your children. Unless you are psychologically and emotionally prepared to handle the huge time commitment necessary on your part, you may not be ready for the physical, emotional and financial issues related to homeschooling. The almost-constant "time together" may not be appropriate for some families.
- Cost - Depending on the school and/or curriculum selected, homeschooling can be reasonably inexpensive. But remember - you will also be responsible for purchasing all books, software, school supplies, project materials and paying the cost of enrolling your child in external extra-curricular classes and activities. In addition, it is essential that one parent be home fulltime to handle management of the home school situation. If you have been a two-income family and one person has to give up their fulltime job to home school, you might find yourself in a difficult financial situation.
- Socialization - Children need to learn how to interact with their peers. Many home school parents cite removing their child from a peer-pressure atmosphere as an advantage of homeschooling. However, it is important to remember that this means you, as a parent, are now totally responsible for development of your child's social skills. This is often not a problem for home school families, but it does require a concentrated effort on the part of parents to make sure their children have adequate interactions with other children outside the home classroom.
- Certified teachers - It is important to recognize that, unless you are a trained teacher, it is unlikely that you will be able to teach your children as effectively as a professional teacher would or could. You may feel you could do a better job than public school teachers are doing, but you have to remember that you will have to totally reorganize your personal life to be a home school parent. Homeschooling is a fulltime job and parents must be certain they have the time and resources to do a good job of educating their children.
- Family stress - Homeschooling your child will mean adding a huge amount of work to your probably already-busy schedule. If you are not prepared to completely reorganize your own life, or if your child does not respond well to homeschooling, a high level of anger and resentment may develop between you and your child.