With significant increases in the last thirty years, chances are you’ve heard of homeschooling. You may have even asked, “what is homeschooling, anyway?” I thought I’d share some homeschooling 101 with you.
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is schooling at home. It is an educational approach in which parents teach their children at home rather than enrolling them in a public or private school. In the homeschool setting, the parent or caregiver is the primary educator and is responsible for selecting subjects and materials, determining scope and sequence, teaching, and evaluating the academic progress of their child.
In the United States, full time homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, though homeschool laws vary by state. Most states do not require reporting from homeschool families, which makes it difficult to calculate the number of homeschool. It is estimated that nearly 2 million students are homeschooled in the US. Statistically, children that are homeschooled responsibly score well on standardized tests and other academic performance measures.
Why choose Homeschooling?
There are many reasons a parent or caregiver may choose to homeschool rather than enroll their child in a public or private school. Reasons a parent or caregiver may choose to homeschool include:
- a desire to provide an individualized education
- a desire to foster self-guided or interested based learning
- a desire to provide religious
- a desire to provide moral instruction
- a desire to provide consistent education during frequent moves
- a desire to increase quality family time
- a desire to provide a non-traditional education
- a concern about the local school environment
- a dissatisfaction with the local school academic quality
- in effort to meet the child’s physical health needs
- in effort to meet the child’s mental health needs
- in effort to meet the child’s special learning needs (i.e. the child is gifted or has a learning disability)
- in effort to protect the child from bullying
In the last thirty years, homeschooling has become mainstream and is widely accepted as a viable educational model.
Homeschooling is home based, but does not necessarily have to occur in the home. There are many opportunities to foster and promote learning within the community. Community based learning opportunities may include local and state parks, museums, the zoo, and other attractions as well as local landmarks. Many local libraries provide learning programs for homeschoolers, as well.
Homeschooling may be include literature based studies, textbooks, workbooks, hands-on activities and experiments. Many homeschool students participate in various activities that other school children participate in– such as lessons in music, sports, dance, art, and martial arts and affinity based clubs like chess club, scouts, 4H, and AWANA.
Wondering is homeschooling right for you and your family? I’d be the first to say that there are advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling, but it is well worth it. Choosing homeschool curriculum can seem daunting, but it needn’t be. The many different methods of homeschooling allows a parent or caregiver to determine what works best for their to accomplish their educational goals. Since family dynamics, learning styles, and academic needs vary, there are no cookie cutter homeschools.
A wide variety of free homeschool curriculum and resources exists for homeschoolers and the homeschool community is growing.
Need more Homeschooling 101? Here’s a guide to getting started that is well worth the investment!