Most of us have undergone the traditional educational system: from the age of six until the age of 18, we spent our weekdays inside the four walls of a classroom, learning from licensed teachers. However, for over two million young Americans, this was not the case as schooling came to them through a homeschool system.
While it’s the uncommon choice, more parents are opting to let their kids learn in the safety and comfort of their own home. And while there are certain misconceptions and prejudices about kids who stay homeschooled, it can actually help kids learn more effectively, provided they have the right provisions, circumstances, and learning environment.
If you’re a parent interested in seeing whether or not your child can thrive in a homeschool setting, read on to find out the advantages and the disadvantages of homeschooling your child.
Homeschooling: The Numbers
Just to give you a background on homeschooling, here are some facts and debunked misconceptions that can help you make your decision. The homeschooling system has grown over the last year. As early as 1973, there were only around 13,000 children across the United States that were homeschooled. By 2016, the number grew to approximately 2.3 million, or around 3.4 percent of American students.
Because parents have a right to choose how their children is educated, the United States allows parents to teach their child as long as they follow the standards set by their respective states. The laws vary: for example, parents in Alabama can let their kids be taught in church schools, while in California, students must be a part of a homeschooling program in a public or private school or have a private tutor.
While the idea of homeschooling started in rural areas, people who homeschool their children do not necessarily do it because they don’t want to teach their children science or other lessons that go against their beliefs. The biggest reasons parents choose to homeschool their children is because they’re afraid of the current school environment, either because of rampant bullying or they are afraid of the drugs and peer pressure their children might face. Other reasons may also include children who require special needs or have physical and mental health problems that need to be addressed at home.
Advantages of Homeschooling
With overpopulation, budget cuts, security concerns, and other factors, a lot of parents see public schools no longer carrying the quality they want to provide for their child. Because public schools are crowded with students, most parents choose to put their child under a homeschool program so that they have a one-to-one ratio with a teacher, compared to a classroom where a teacher has to focus her attention on thirty to forty students. If your child has a learning problem or needs special attention, it may be more effective if you homeschool them.
Under a homeschooling program, some parents have the ability to control what their children study. Many people take this the wrong way and think this only applies to extremely devout parents who don’t want their children to learn about evolution or sex education, but it also applies to parents who want their gifted children to study advanced lessons not always provided in a traditional curriculum. Several studies found that over half of high school students and almost three-fourths of college professors thought traditionalhigh school lessons did not prepare students for college or provided students with the basic knowledge college students need.
Homeschooling, contrary to popular belief, can improve a child’s social skills. In an ordinary school, there are more students than teachers, so there won’t always be a teacher to watch for bullying, peer pressure, or harassment. Contrary to popular belief, keeping kids homeschooled won’t stunt their social skills because not only will it help you develop a closer relationship with your child, but it could also help them avoid with the trauma of bullying, which could lead to long-term consequences on their mental health. And with a flexible schedule, your child can attend community activities and visit more places where they can socialize with other children. It’s possible for fellow homeschooling parents to arrange a gathering for all homeschooled children.
Drawbacks of a Homeschool Education
However, homeschooling is not for everyone. While it’s becoming a mainstream option you might want to pursue, consider several factors which may affect your ability to provide your child with quality education. First, is your spouse or partner willing to support this endeavor. A school is run with a team of faculty and staff members; the same applies to a homeschool system. While your child homeschool teacher may be you or a tutor depending on your state’s laws, it helps to have everyone in the family onboard the idea so everyone can contribute and turn the home into a conducive learning environment.
Second, are you willing to commit each weekday to your child’s education?
Assuming your state allows the parent to become the teacher, you will need to put in time, energy, and commitment into being a full-time teacher. Remember, you’re educating your child because you want them to be a fully-capable adult that can make their way into college or find a good-paying career, so you need to provide education that’s just as good (or even better) than the education they could have gotten in a regular public school.
And third, do you have the patience to become a teacher to your child? A teacher’s job is easier said than done, and this is your child that you’re going to teach. If you’re the type of parent who blames a teacher, not your child, for your child’s failing grades, you’ll get a first-hand look and see if it really is your teacher that provides poor education or if your child really has difficulty grasping a subject.
Your child will be frustrated, there will be tempers flaring, and you’ll have round-the-clock eyes to see if he does “homework” or any assignments, but this time all of it is at home.
Read Also: How to Plan a Family Vacation on a Budget
Are you still interested in homeschooling your child? Make sure to consult your state’s education board so that you further understand the responsibilities and standards you need to homeschool your child. But if you and your family are willing to commit to homeschooling for the benefit of your child, then homeschooling could be the answer for a better education for your child.