Homeschooling

Do you remember how happy you were as a kid when your school announced a sudden holiday due to rain, snow etc. ? Well, most of the children, if given a choice will not go to school. They would rather study and learn in  comfortable surroundings with flexible timings. Many parents also feel they can provide better education to their children through homeschooling instead of a normal school. 

Homeschooling is the education of children at home or a variety of other places. Home education is usually conducted by a parent or tutor or online teacher. Many families use less formal ways of educating. In many developed countries, homeschooling is a legal alternative to public and private schools. About three percent of all children in the US were homeschooled in 2011-2012 school year.

Parents’ motivations for homeschooling children:

  1. To eliminate dissatisfaction with the local schools
  2. To increasingly involve with their children’s learning and development.
  3. To have greater control over what and how their children are taught
  4. To cater more adequately to an individual child’s aptitudes and abilities
  5. To provide instruction from a specific religious or moral position
  6. To take advantage of the efficiency of one-to-one instruction
  7. To allow the child to spend more time on childhood activities, socializing, and non-academic learning.

Parental dissatisfaction with available schools typically includes concerns about

  1. School environment
  2. Quality of academic instruction
  3. Curriculum
  4. Bullying
  5. Racism
  6. Lack of faith in the school’s ability to cater to their children’s special needs

Home schools use a wide variety of methods and materials. Families choose different educational methods, which represent a variety of educational philosophies and paradigms. Some of the methods or learning environments used include

  • Classical education (including Trivium, Quadrivium)
  • Charlotte Mason education
  • Montessori method
  • Theory of multiple intelligences
  • Unschooling
  • Radical Unschooling
  • Waldorf education
  • School-at-home (curriculum choices from both secular and religious publishers)
  • A Thomas Jefferson Education
  • Unit studies, curriculum made up from private or small publishers, apprenticeship, hands-on-learning, distance learning (both online and correspondence), dual enrollment in local schools or colleges, and curriculum provided by local schools and many others.

Parents can form a homeschool cooperative to provide an opportunity for children to learn from other parents who are more specialized in certain areas or subjects. Such cooperatives  provide social interaction, opportunities  to take lessons together, go on field trips.

A structured environment could play a key role in homeschooler academic achievement.  Higher the level of parents’ income, the more likely the homeschooled child is able to achieve academic success. Many teachers and school districts oppose the idea of homeschooling. But homeschooled children often excel in many areas of academic endeavor. Homeschoolers often achieve academic success and admission into elite universities. Homeschool graduates are active and involved in their communities. Most of them participate in an ongoing community service activity, like coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school. Homeschool graduates are more involved in civic affairs and vote in much higher percentages than their peers. 

Homeschooling is legal everywhere in the United States, but homeschooling laws vary from state to state. The three basic categories for homeschooling laws are: home education laws, private school laws, and equivalency laws. The best way to find out what your state laws are is to contact a local support group in your area/country. 

Advantages of Homeschooling

  • Homeschooling
    • prevents premature parent-child separation, avoiding inappropriate pressure on children
    • provides positive and appropriate socialization with peers and adults
    • creates/maintains positive sibling relationships
    • promotes good communication and emotional closeness within a family
    • provides a high adult/child ratio for the student
    • provides positive home influence and parental involvement which directly improves reading and overall educational success 
    • allows tailoring  of each child’s education to his or her unique interests, pace, and learning style.
  • Homeschooled children
    • are largely free from peer pressure
    • are comfortable interacting with people of all ages
    • view adults as an integrated part of their world and as natural partners in learning
    • have time to pursue their special interests and talents
    • allowed to mature at their own speeds, no “hurried child” syndrome
    • develop family values and beliefs central to social, emotional and academic development
    • have a family life flexible with their own needs and priorities rather than the demands of school
    • enjoy unlimited educational resources as the world is the classroom and resources abound in the community
    • become independent thinkers who are secure in their own convictions
    • natural thirst for learning is nurtured, not squelched, and learning becomes a lifelong joy
  • Parents
    • are with their children all day
    • know and understand their children, and are influential in their lives, even as they enter the teen years
    • are the primary role models for homeschooled children

Tips for Getting Started on Homeschooling

  • Figure out the legalities. Just as public school curricula vary from state to state, so too do the rules about homeschooling
  • Though all states allow parents to educate their children at home, some states require parents to register as private schools, while others mandate that homeschooled children take standardized tests as they reach the third, fifth and eighth grades
  • Your best bet is to contact your state’s homeschool association and the concerned government education department
  • Take cues from other homeschoolers. Talk to other people who have done it, and if you agree with them, go with it, and if not, find something else
  • Tap into your local homeschool community. Like anything else, homeschooling can get lonely without outside support
  • Be patient. It takes about a year for parents to get into the homeschooling groove. You will not immediately know exactly what  you are supposed to do. Be patient with your child—and with yourself. It’s okay to try out different curricula or philosophies of education. The key is being willing to keep trying until it feels right
  • While juggling parent and teacher responsibilities can feel overwhelming, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Homeschooling should be an enjoyable thing for kids and parents. There’s work to it, but it should also be enjoyable

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