The reasons parents decide to home school are more numerous than I can list:
- Schools in their district are not up to their standards
- Desire to protect their children from unwanted outside influences
- Children need more personal attention
- Religious reasons
- Family reasons
Many parents feel their children are too young to be in public school, and that strong emotional ties and development is effectively forged only in the home. Some parents feel that they can give their children a better education at home. Whatever you believe, it’s important to take into consideration your child’s needs. Homeschooling is something that can be adapted to your child, your family, and your lifestyle.
METHODS AND CURRICULA
Homeschooling is very flexible for both the parent and the child, something very appealing for both parties, and a wide variety of methods, materials, and resources can be used. Some states, like Washington, have an online curriculum for homeschooled students. Districts may also have resources available, and some even allow homeschooled students to participate in sports, art, drama, music or other extra-curricular activities. Public libraries often serve as a major resource for parents and children. Homeschool-centered companies offer packages that include curricula and books. These different resources can be combined together to create a customized program for children, according to what they need.
MISPERCEPTIONS VS. REALITY
Common misperceptions about homeschooled children exist. Some believe they turn out socially awkward, but research has shown than homeschooled children, especially those homeschooled during elementary years, have a far higher self-concept and were more involved in their community. These studies support that the best place for children to learn is with parents in the home, not in the public setting.
Some believe a homeschool education is inferior to those who are publicly educated. However, numerous studies show that homeschooled children have test scores well above the average scores of public school children. Because homeschoolers score better on tests such as the ACT and SAT, they do not have problems getting into colleges and universities. However, it’s still important for parents to keep meticulous files of their child’s work.
- Parents have control over their children’s education and influences.
- Children develop a more secure relationship with their parents.
- Education can be customized for each child.
- Children are protected from early negative and social influences.
- Family values and religion can be a central part of the child’s education.
- Children can work at their own pace.
- Parents must take the time to carefully plan out their child’s education plan.
- Children may not have access to the same technologies available at a public school.
- Parents need to plan for some socialization for their child.
- Children may not have access to the same extracurricular activities.
- Children can be too sheltered.
- Education costs come out of the family budget.
There are many other pros and cons, as well. If you are interested in homeschooling your children, then you must weight each of the pros and cons for each of your children.
If you are interested in homeschooling your children, please contact your local school district to learn what you need to do. Often this means signing a Declaration of Intent and following a suggested curriculum. It’s very important to meet the educational requirements for your state.
I found the Wikipedia article on homeschooling to be well-referenced. You can also check out these resources:
Also, if you check out your state K-12 education website, you will probably find some state-approved homeschooling information you can look at. There are also a variety of books you can find under “homeschooling” at Amazon.com.
There are many valid reasons that exist for homeschooling children. They form closer bonds with their parents, they score higher on standardized tests, and they have a more secure self-concept. However, this is a decision that needs to be made with careful thought and planning, according to the needs of your child. Not every child is best served by a homeschooling education, and for the most part, public education is good. Whatever you decide, have confidence that your choice is the best one for your family and your child.