Why should I homeschool? Why are more choosing to school at home? What are homeschooling advantages and benefits? Many parents have questioned if public school is best for their child. “Is my child receiving the best education possible?” “Is the public school environment where my child will learn my values?” “Is my child receiving a quality education or are the educational values being taught and social distractions steering them in the wrong direction?” “Who should be in control of what my child learns?” “Who can raise my child better than or as well as I can?”
Only you can decide what is right for your family and your children. Homeschooling gives you a viable alternative allowing you to be the one to raise your children in such an important aspect of their lifelong education, their schooling.
Sounds like something every parent would do if they could, right? So you would think the decision to homeschool should be easy, but it is not. The decision to homeschool your children does not manifest lightly. It involves wholehearted dedication of efforts and means by the entire family.
Many families have several individual reasons for homeschooling their children, each one with a little different meaning for each child’s experiences. Families turn to homeschooling for a variety of benefits: learning, teaching, control, time, socialization/self-identity, protection, college, family, and religion/faith.
Learning: Learning should include useful skills: skills needed to acquire other skills, skills that will enrich life, skills the learner needs to learn, and skills the learner wants to learn. Many homeschooling parents notice their values and ideas about learning are different than those of public schools and even some private schools. As public schools lose funding, combine classrooms, cut arts and extra curricular activities, and “teach to the test,” many students do not retain knowledge past the test or the year. Parents of homeschoolers usually desire a higher caliber of learning, individualized for their child, not commonly found in overflowing classrooms across the country.
Teaching: Teaching partners with learning. When effective teaching is missing from our schools, parents turn to homeschooling. “I can do it better myself,” is a common reason among homeschooling moms who have fled public school corrals where their child was falling through the cracks, or just simply bored and not learning. It is not always the teacher’s fault. Public schools attempt to educate mass numbers of students with a one-size-fits-all system with time restraints, discipline challenges, and ineffective curriculum which inhibit the teacher’s ability to meet individualized student needs. Homeschooling allows for one-on-one tutoring with effective curriculum and quality literature, while giving more time and opportunity for history and science related field trips to museums and a variety of hands-on experiences, along with “outside world” “out of the box” opportunities that help create a lasting learning environment.
Time: Anyone who has a teenager has heard that “school is a waste of time.” Your defiant teenager may be onto something. Children learn best by practicing worthwhile skills while receiving immediate individual feedback. In a traditional school setting, effective learning techniques are limited because of time restraints with large classes and classroom discipline. Homeschooling allows for direct learning, reflection, and immediate feedback needed to effectively learn new skills and create a lasting concept map of the new skills. Public schools also limit what can be done outside of school because of the limited number of hours available in a day. Homeschooling gives the freedom and flexibility to adjust schedules for extra curricular activities, special events, outings, vacations and unexpected times without upsetting your child’s educational progression.
Control: Control does not mean control of your child, but rather teaching your child how to be in control and responsible. Children develop at different rates in different areas. When homeschooling, the pace for learning is set according to each child’s needs. Homeschooling teaches each child how to control their own learning and advance at their own rate. The result is individual responsibility for the outcome of their lives, which flows into all facets of the child’s life and helps to build the child’s intellectual identity. Homeschooling, children have the opportunity to escape the “inside the box” mentality perpetuated at public institutions. Instead of being labeled, they can overcome areas where they struggle, while they develop and expand creative thinking and problem solving abilities, facilitating learning in all areas of their lives.
Socialization and Self-Identity: One of the top concerns of public-school parents is the assimilation and socialization of their child. However, the notable concern for homeschooling parents is the same: the socialization their child would get in public school. In standardized groups with a ratio of 25 – 30 children to one adult, children are left to create their own rules of social interaction. Many situations play out in barbaric fashions of fights, bullying, social pressures and other creations of immature minds craving direction. When children are left to establish the rules of childhood, less than a utopia environment is created that mirrors in some fashion the self-governing catastrophes depicted by William Golding in Lord of the Flies.
Children are not ready to self-govern their lives. They mimic whoever they admire and are around on a regular basis when handling social interactions. School-age children need and crave the guidance of adults. Parents of homeschooled children have the opportunity to guide their children to make better social decisions by directing their social experiences to more positive situations with well-behaved and like-minded children who are likewise taught good decision making and individual choice in social situations. While challengers argue that all parents have this opportunity, taken or not, since homeschooled children are with their own family more hours of the day, they are taught how to make decisions and are held accountable for their decisions with more parental guidance.
Protection: Proponents of homeschooling believe protecting children is important, while others worry that homeschooled children are too “sheltered” from reality. Parents should be very concerned about sheltering their children from reality. Keeping children from the reality of guns and drugs at school, bullies, emotional abuses tied to not fitting in, having the right clothes, being affluent or not, accelerated sexual promiscuity, and other realities that go with the culture of public and private school can be often altogether avoided or at least restricted and deferred for a few years until the child is more mature and better prepared to handle situations school children are subjected to at younger and younger ages.
College: Homeschooling grooms kids for college academically in many cases with a higher caliber of education, and also the homeschool lifestyle prepares kids for college and life. All parents should teach their children how to be responsible adults, which means becoming responsible for their own actions. Homeschoolers have the opportunity to learn so much more about biblical Christian principles, values and morals while learning how to be themselves, how to question and think critically, how to learn individually, and how to be responsible for their own learning.
Family: Family time with our children is priceless and escapes us all too quickly because childhoods are gone overnight. Too many childhoods are spent with fewer and fewer shared family experiences. Time is a valuable commodity. Homeschooling gives time for bonding while working, making decisions and experiencing life as a family. Children need these family experiences or they will find themselves unprepared when thrown into an adult world, clueless on how to function and deal with life. Homeschoolers more than other children, participate daily in operations and maintenance of the home and family, and self-maintenance in preparing to be on their own.
Religion: Faith is an important part of many homeschooling families. This is not to shelter our children from secular ideas, but to continue the example of faith in our lives. Many faiths have turned to homeschooling to incorporate their values in their families. The homeschool environment is conducive to the Christian learning environment, incorporating the rituals, habits, and priorities we want to instill in our children that public school ignores or is prohibited from teaching. Qualities such as serving others, praying together, and other moral guiding principles are instilled in our everyday teaching and our examples which we are privileged to set for our children.
Many articles perpetuating lists of reasons to homeschool your child are a general accounting of ideas that won’t offend anyone on either side. The fact is homeschooling is a way of life. It is a choice with in-depth, personal reasons that go beyond saving money on private school or hoping your child doesn’t get bullied or into drugs. Homeschooling involves changing the upbringing of your child, focusing your whole home, your whole family, and whole life on the future of that child.
> Reasons for Homeschooling