What is homeschooling
Many parents choose to teach their children at home, instead of enrolling them and making them study within the formal settings of public or private schools. With homeschooling, the parents take full responsibility of their children’s education. It is intense parenting, as parents spend more time with their children, doing the hard work and having the patience to educate their kids.
Mitchell Stevens, a Stanford professor who wrote Kingdom of Children, a history of homeschooling, reveals that homeschooling, which was used to be popular in rural areas, is now being practiced widely in America’s cities as well, with children of secular, highly educated professionals as students. Advances in digital learning and availability of resources over the internet also make homeschooling easier and more effective than ever.
Parents cite these reasons on why they homeschool their children:
- Can give child better education at home
- Religious reasons – allow to teach faith in depth
- Poor learning environment at school
- Family reasons
- To develop character/morality
- Object to what school teaches
- School does not challenge child
- Other problems with available schools
- Student behavior problems at school
- Child has special needs/disability
- Child not old enough to enter school
- Child could not get into desired school
- Enable family to travel
Benefits of Homeschooling
Homeschooling, though, in many cases, can reap rich rewards and can deliver many benefits in making kids smart.
According to the Academic Statistics on Homeschooling, many studies have found out that homeschooled students on average outperform their peers on standardized tests. Another study from the National Home Education Research in 2003 also found that homeschooled graduates are active and involved in their communities, are more involved in civic affairs, and more are “very happy” with life, compared to the general US population.
An article in the Journal of College Admission notes that homeschoolers’ ACT and SAT scores are higher than those of public school students, and home-educated college students perform as well as or better than traditionally educated students.
These benefits might explain why homeschooling have this effect:
Homeschooling is one-on-one tutoring – Some studies have shown that in schools, the smaller the students-teacher ratio, the better the students learn. Among other benefits, the students are helped individually, and teachers ensure that all students master a basic skill or concept before going to a more advanced one. It ensures that genuine learning is taking place. Homeschooling is, in effect, one-to-one ratio of teaching.
Homeschooling tailors learning to specific children’s educational needs – Parents are able to assess their kids’ strength, weaknesses, leaning styles and interests. Homeschooling allows parents to customize their children's education to maximize learning, strengthen weaknesses and allow focus on special areas of interest or giftedness. This makes kids highly motivated to learn, and thus results in kids developing a love for learning.
Homeschooled kids tend to think more independently - They are also unlikely to follow the ideas of a group without first making up their own minds. College students who were homeschooled express that they feel more mature than their dorm mates, because they know how to think for themselves and aren’t influenced as readily by peer pressure.
Homeschooling eradicates boredom – Since learning is specifically tailored to individuals, it make them put consistent effort into learning. Also, kids do not have to waste time on what they already mastered while other kids are catching up.
Homeschooling makes kids work for the knowledge, instead of grades.
Homeschooling provides a safe learning environment – Children who are homeschooled are not exposed to teasing, bullying, negative peer pressure, bad influences, and in some cases, bad or even misbehaving teachers.
Homeschooling gives a sense of security in kids with “attachment parenting” - This is an increasingly popular approach that involves round-the-clock physical contact with children and immediate responses to all their cues.
Homeschooling strengthens closeness of the family, and parents’ relationships to children are made deeper – Parents are able to watch their children grow. Families are able to travel, practice their religion and observe holy days.
Homeschooling accommodates special needs.
Homeschooling prevents children who are hyperactive or not behaving according to the norm, but otherwise have good intellect, from being unfairly labeled as needing special education.
Why homeschooling can be a bad idea.
- The often-mentioned bad side to homeschooling is the socialization factor. Children are not able to interact and get along with others beyond their family members. Isolating children from the outside world can affect his social skills, or worse, result in phobias and other disorders in social settings. However, this can be mitigated by having children join organizations or socialize with other homeschooling kids.
- Kids may not get education that is well-rounded, and the knowledge learned may be confined to the biases of the parents. Kids may not able to explore other beliefs and points of view. This can develop close-mindedness in children, or at worse, bigotry.
- Parents who are not qualified to teach could limit the scope of a child’s knowledge.
- Homeschoolers may miss the inspiration provided by the occasional great teacher. How many great men were influenced by mentors other than their parents?
- Homeschooled children miss advantages of learning in a classroom setting. This involves being challenged and encouraged by fellow students, working within structure and beyond book-learning, such as respecting authority outside of their parents, following orders and procedures, as well as participatory events such as playing in the band or orchestra, or team sports.
- Parents have to juggle homeschooling with their own social needs and personal interests, experiencing a desire to work and financial needs.
Tips for homeschooling
- If you haven’t done so already, make sure you understand what you are required to do to homeschool legally in your state or location.
- Be prepared to have tons of patience when teaching your child. Refrain from pressuring your child to learn a skill or knowledge before they are ready. Have patience not only with your children, but also with yourself.
- Use the internet to research on homeschooling culture such as homeschooling remodeling and decorating advice. You may prefer a separate place for educational activities to keep home and school distinct; others make learning space and resources available in all living areas to integrate education and life.
- Do research about home-school books and bookstores and libraries stock scores of work-books, guidebooks, curriculum guides, and other resources targeted specifically to the homeschool market. An article in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance tallies the costs of homeschooling; it gives an overview of how extracurricular activities, distance learning, and quality curriculum materials affect homeschool families’ budgets and offers some ideas for keeping costs low.
- Try attending annual homeschool conferences hosted by some state and regional support and advocacy groups host. They offer sessions and workshops for new and veteran homeschoolers, including book or curriculum fair, and offer plenty of venues for homeschoolers to get together to share ideas.
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