In today’s society, we are constantly being told that there is a “right way” of doing things and a “wrong way.” Choosing to homeschool your kids can be seen as the latter, but it is actually one of the best ways to help prepare them for life in this world. There are many reasons why parents decide to homeschool their children, and they all boil down to what will work best for that individual family.
Homeschooling is a great way for parents to be the primary educator of their children. The best thing about homeschooling is that you can tailor it to your child’s needs and interests, which means they’ll get a better education than in traditional schools. There are many benefits for both kids and parents when choosing this educational route. Check out these top five reasons why parents choose to homeschool their kids!
Table of Contents
- So why do parents decide to homeschool?
- Disadvantages to Homeschooling
- Frequently Asked Questions
So why do parents decide to homeschool?
There are many good reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children. Homeschooling gives them a better understanding of their children’s minds and learning abilities. It can be done from a distance, which means families have more flexibility to travel and take field trips. Also, since homeschool curriculum is more flexible than what you would get at public schools, kids learn at their own pace and have more fun learning.
Some of the other benefits that homeschooling offer parents are that it allows the parent to get more involved in the child’s education, and it also allows the parent create a schooling experience that is more tailored to the individual student.
There are many advantages that homeschooling provides parents. First of all, homeschool curriculum is more flexible and is designed to fit the children’s learning ability. Homeschooling parents can choose to go deeper on some subjects, while also taking a slower pace in areas where their children suffer.
While some states may want a record of the homeschool curriculum that you choose or require certain subjects to be taught, the choice of which curriculum to use is largely up the the parent to decide. It is entirely possible you will find that your child struggles with a particular homeschool curriculum. There is nothing stopping you from switching to something that better suits your child.
You can also add in any classes that you choose. If you want to focus on Bible history or the saints, you can do that.
Homeschooling also gives you more flexibility to travel. While most states require a certain number of days or hours of education per year, there is nothing saying that you have to observe those days during a traditional school year. Want to take a month long vacation in October because that’s the best time of year to go to Disney or to fly to Germany for Octoberfest? You can do that.
Heck, do school at Disney or in Germany, then you won’t even lose the school days. There are entire blogs dedicated to homeschool lessons pertaining to Disney.
One of the most popular reasons parents choose to homeschool is because they don’t feel like the school setting is an effective learning environment.
Classrooms are full of distractions and disruptive students. Teachers struggle to properly maintain control in the classroom and ensure every student understands the lesson. And if they don’t understand? The teacher has to move on because she can’t spend the classroom time catering to one student. She has to stick to her schedule.
Students flourish in a homeschool environment. Those students who enjoy a subject can advance and work ahead without worrying that they are leaving the rest of the class behind. Meanwhile, homeschool students who struggle with a subject can spend more time on remedial practice until they fully understand the lesson.
Don’t worry if you are a parent who struggles yourself with some subjects. You do not need to be the only person that teaches your child all the subjects.
You can find a reliable source for this, such as a local college or online. You can also join a local homeschool co-op or team up with other homeschooling parents who have their own strengths and weakness in teaching their kids.
This will give you a variety of different teachers and subjects to choose from if you do decide that you want more diversity in your child’s education. You will be able to homeschool your kids in a way that works well for you.
There is a common misconception that homeschooled kids lack social skills. In reality, parents new to homeschooling are surprised to learn just how many opportunities their kids get to socialize.
First of all, let’s consider the social skills of the average public school student. They spend their days surrounded by the same group of children who are all the same age. They interact with the same handful of adults. And they are only allowed to talk to each other during specific, controlled times of the day.
Now consider the homeschool student:
- They are taught alongside siblings of various ages
- They are more involved in running errands with their parents, which means they gain more experiences in engaging with a variety of adults.
- They are more likely to model their behavior after the adults in their lives than their peers.
- They learn to interact with children from a variety of ages and cultural backgrounds through participation in co-ops, field trips, volunteer opportunities, and extra curricular activities.
Obviously, the social opportunities a child experiences are largely based on the environment provided to them by their parents, but homeschooling certainly does not exclude children from being social.
Another advantage that homeschooling has is it allows parents to take a more active role in their children’s education. They can create an environment of education that best matches their beliefs, schedules, and preferences.
If you have more than one child, then homeschooling is an excellent choice. Many curricula are based on a family cycle, meaning you teach the same subjects to all age groups at the same time. Homeschool students complete work based upon their level of knowledge. Many parents have found that just by gearing their teaching towards the oldest student, the younger children pick up the information through observation.
Homeschool children also tend to be a better sibling relationships since sibling rivalry is not established as a normal or condoned activity. They learn to work together on school projects. Brothers and sister become their best friends because they spend their time playing and learning together.
Safety and Environment
Last but not least, many parents are deciding to homeschool because of safety and environmental concerns in a group setting.
COVID led to many parents choosing to homeschool because they didn’t want to force their children to wear masks all day.
But even without COVID concerns, the world has become a more dangerous place as bullying and school shootings have continued to become more common.
I don’t like to live my life in fear, but these are valid concerns. Even without the threat of school shooting, bullying causes lifelong consequences. The addition of social media means kids can’t even escape bullying when they leave the school environment. Those hurtful remarks follow kids home, which has led to an increase in mental illness and suicide.
The school environment also fosters more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset. In a world of standardized tests and grading systems, students begin to adopt the perception that their performance is based upon their worth as a person. Is this the experience we want for our children who are created in God’s image?
Disadvantages to Homeschooling
Families who homeschool their children should be aware of the challenges that come with it. Parents must have a high level of commitment and patience to make homeschooling work for all parties involved, which is not always easy when life gets busy.
Homeschooling can offer many benefits, but there are some disadvantages families might want to look into if deciding on whether or not this option would work best for them! Let’s take a look at four reasons why homeschooling may not be for you.
One of the main disadvantages is the financial aspect. In general, parents are responsible for purchasing their homeschooling curriculums and supplies so this may put a strain on a family’s budget. On the other hand, there are ways to utilize local and online resources to piece together your own curriculum for cheap or free, so this may be a better option for those parents who have a limited budget.
However, homeschooling can be a difficult journey when both parents are working full time. It isn’t to say that it’s impossible, but many families do choose to reduce themselves to a single income in order to better facilitate homeschooling.
Accuracy of Information
Homeschooling requires parents to stay on top of what their kids are learning. Many parents start homeschooling so they can have more control over the information their children are exposed to, but they also need to take on an attitude of lifelong learning themselves. Parents are surprised to learn that they weren’t always taught the most accurate information when they were younger, and so homeschooling becomes a learning experience for both the teacher and student.
Some of the best homeschool programs give parents the freedom to incorporate additional curriculum into their child’s education. This way they can tailor the education to the needs and interests of the individual student. Many of these “out of the box” curricula have done the research for us, which relieves any fears from parents who feel they don’t know enough about a subject to teach it.
Another disadvantage that parents should know is that some states are not as flexible about homeschooling requirements as others. It is important to plug into the local homeschooling community to learn how other parents have best adapted to the laws in your area. Do not expect the local public school to give you the best or most accurate information.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is a good organization for finding information about the homeschooling laws in your state. Membership is inexpensive, and they will talk to the school administration on your behalf if they try to assume power outside of what is allowed them by law. They will also issue you an id card that you can download and use for student and teacher discounts from some businesses.
I can pretty much guarantee you will receive criticism from friends, family members, and strangers who don’t agree with your decision to homeschool. This can be a difficult pill to swallow for parents who are people pleasers, which is why it’s important for you to remember all of your reasons for wanting to homeschool.
The good news is that homeschooling has become a lot more common in the past decade. You will be surprised to find how many other families are homeschooling in your local area. Build a community of like-minded homeschool parents around yourself for times when you feel discouraged. They can be a valuable resource if you need to ask advice or are looking for a local Bible study group.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many hours a day should I homeschool my child?
There is a general perception that students should be learning for 8 hours a day because that’s how long they’d be at school if they weren’t homeschooled.
Now consider how much of that day is spent managing the classroom, working around disruptive students, and moving students from one classroom to another.
They’re lucky if they get 4 hours of actually learning done each day.
Now also consider the attention span of the average 6 year old.
Trying to force them to do school for even 4 hours with generally be met with tears and arguing.
In reality, young children don’t need to spend more than an hour a day learning everything they need to learn each day. The amount of time can be gradually increased as the child gets older until they are completing 4-6 hours of school work per day in high school.
However it is also important to learn to read your child. Some days will be better than others. There will be days when your student is focused and attentive. You may be able to do more school work than an average day because it’s going so well.
Then there will be days when they can’t focus and school work become a struggle for both of you.
How do I know if homeschooling is right for my child?
The answer to this question is going to be very subjective and dependent largely upon your child and family. The fact that you’re here and asking this question tells me you’ve seen or thought something that made you think it is the right choice.
Is your child already in school? Do they have emotional outburst at the thought of going to school? Does school work cause anxiety attacks or make them feel physically ill?
If your child is younger than school aged, ask yourself what you want their childhood to look like. Do not think about playtime as a distraction from education. Playtime is the education of childhood.
Is your child prepared to sit quietly for 8 hours a day? Do they struggle to keep their hands to themselves? Do they react strongly to correction or perceived disappointment? Do you suspect a learning disability that may make a group environment difficult for your child to function in?
These are all things to consider when determining if homeschooling is right for your child.
How do I choose homeschool curriculum?
There are many ways you can find a homeschool curriculum that works for you. You can talk to other homeschool families. You can read reviews online. You can explore the website of the curriculum publisher.
At the end of the day, you may find that you switch curricula a few times during your homeschooling journey. You may also find that you want to supplement it with information from other publishers. That is perfectly ok.
I do not think that learning should be a struggle. If you find that your child just doesn’t grasp a subject from one publisher, feel free to try something else.
You may even find that one curriculum works well for one student, but not for another. There are online groups full of parents buying and selling used curricula, so do feel trapped just because you already paid for something.
Do homeschooled students perform better?
In many ways, this is going to depend on the individual student. Your child is not going to be the next Einstein just because you homeschooled them. But I do firmly believe that students have the best opportunity to learn to their highest ability in a homeschool environment because they are able to learn at their own pace, focus on their strengths, and fully understand a subject before moving on to more.
Why did you choose to homeschool?
Oh, where do I even begin? God put the conviction on my heart when my oldest was still a toddler and solidified that decision when I put him into Pre-K. I grew up being bullied by students and teachers. I watched as my brothers were medicated because the teachers couldn’t cater to them while also managing a classroom of 30 students. And I’ve only grown more apprehensive of the public school system (and it’s bureaucracy) in the 20+ years since I graduated high school.
I don’t blame the teachers at all. In 95% of the cases, I’d say it’s due to the policies that have the teachers’ hands tied. I think a lot of problems in public schools would be greatly improved if teachers were able to manage their classrooms and teach their students the way they best saw fit.
And beyond that, I want to give my kids more opportunities to learn than they will experience from the public school system. I want to be able to focus on the subjects that light them up. And quite frankly, I want to be a bigger influence in their lives than a classroom of full of other kids their same age with the same immature brains and lack of judgement that my kids possess.
Why is homeschooling the best option?
Homeschooling is not the best option for every family or every student. There are families who send some children to school while one or two of their other children school at home. There are families who only homeschool for a year or two due to life circumstances. There are families who homeschool all of their children from birth until high school. It is a personal choice and it is totally up to you.
How do families decide to homeschool?
Ultimately, the only opinion that matters in the decision to homeschool is that of the parents. While grandparents and extended family members may mean well, they don’t understand. They don’t understand why you may want to raise and school your child differently from how you were raised. They don’t understand your concerns and your reasons for wanting to homeschool. And they don’t understand your child and how they will benefit from a customized, personalized, hands on learning experience.
Choosing to homeschool is definitely an interesting decision. There are some pros and cons that a parent has to consider before making the decision to start homeschooling their child. Of course, the main decision is whether or not you believe in homeschooling as a way of educating your children. If you do, then you should look into the different options available to you.
Homeschooling is a great option for many reasons and may be the best choice depending on your family’s needs.
There are some disadvantages to homeschooling, but they often don’t outweigh the advantages.
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We hope that we’ve helped remove any misconceptions around homeschooling and given you new ideas of why parents choose this route in their journey through parenting!