Should You Homeschool Your Children?

homeschool

According to Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, home education has grown approximately 7 to 15 percent each year; and data from the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey shows an estimated 1.5 million children were homeschooled in 2007.

Homeschooling is as multi-faceted as the families that choose this type of education. Some parents organize the days down to the last minute, planning lessons in the different core areas – math, reading, and writing – to ensure they cover each on a daily basis. Others follow a less structured approach, choosing to work on a particular subject for several days at a time before moving on.

Jessica Nelson, 25, was homeschooled from grades 1st-12th along with her two sisters and brother. She went on to graduate from Hofstra University in New York with a 3.95 GPA. Jessica's education schedule changed as needed, and while she didn't have a typically structured school day, she did follow a certain schedule. She writes, “Since we all had sports and activities scheduled in the afternoon when public school's finished their day, we were often limited to roughly the same schedule, although our days definitely did vary.”

Due to the popularity of homeschooling, many communities offer one or more homeschool groups. These groups enable parents to connect with others who are homeschooling, and for children to enjoy social interactions with others their age. Community venues such as zoos, libraries, museums, and churches may offer programs and courses for homeschooled children; in some communities, the public school will allow home educated students to attend classes.

Jessica was a captain of her high school gymnastics team and her sister was female student athlete of the year at the high school, though they did not attend the school for academics. “We were fortunate that our school district was so willing to let us participate,” she says, though this isn't always the case.

While homeschooling has its advantages – time restraints are lifted, allowing parents to create a schedule that works for their families; the incidence of bullying and other negative peer interactions are drastically reduced; parents choose what is taught and how it is taught; parents track the child's progress daily; those with specific religious and/or spirtual beliefs can address these during the day as well – but negatives can exist.

One topic – socialization – is often discussed as a huge disadvantage to home educated children, and it can be a problem when not specifically addressed by the parent. Children who go to a typical school mingle with others on a regular basis. They learn to make friends with others who may be different. They learn to settle disputes with those who are not part of their families. And they have “down time” to simply hang out with peers their age and talk about what they want. Home educated children have these opportunities only if the parent makes this a priority.

But it can be done. Girl and Boy scouts, community programs, other homeschooled families and/or groups, the library, museums, zoos and even certain public schools offer excellent opportunities for socializing. Jessica took courses at the local high school, performed with a home school theater group, was captain of a gymnastics team, and worked on several political campaigns.

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Another issue that can be tricky to address is that of the education itself. Organizing learning can be tricky when children are on the same level, but it can be particularly daunting when a variety of ages and learning levels exist. A homeschooling parent must be organized enough to ensure each child is working on an appropriate level and learning what is needed.

Also, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. To teach a subject -for instance, geometry – one must know the subject well enough to explain it, show examples of the concept, and identify when the student has grasped the material well enough to perform it on his own. If a parent is weak in the subject, what alternatives will be available to teach the child? Losing out on understanding one aspect of a subject can lead to problems as the work gets harder, and because all subjects have certain building blocks that must be mastered before moving forward, care must be taken to ascertain each child masters each skill. Fortunately, websites and groups do exist to help parents teach a variety of subjects.

Home educating is not for everyone, but as its popularity grows there are a variety of resources available to those who choose this path.

What do you think?

Should You Homeschool Your Children?

Tell us what you think!

15 comments

  1. Marilyn says:

    I wouldn’t mind home schooling, but it’s expensive at times.

  2. MAMASEXXY says:

    I PREFER FOR MY CHILDREN TO ATTEND SCHOOL.

  3. Aimee says:

    Not so sure I’d be able to do this.

  4. Janice says:

    After having the experience of a public school, and the experience with my children, I wish that we all would have been home school.

  5. A homeschool option that was not mentioned in this article is online schooling, We are in our first year doing an online education and love it! The school provides all textbooks and materials, everything from art supplies to cubes and fake money for math, by mail (there are also online versions) and they have structured lesson plans. Students are assigned teachers and the parents are considered "Learning Coaches". The teachers will hold Live Lessons (formatted similar to WebEx or Microsoft Live Meeting), the frequency depends on the student’s grade level. We also have monthly calls with the teacher to complete assessments and stay up to date. The school also offers clubs, activities, and field trips for social interaction. Some days can be a little more overwhelming than others, but my daughter really enjoys this option and I really enjoy being a big part of her education!

  6. Angela says:

    Great article. Thanks for putting this up for us to get informed.

  7. I’m sorry that the article failed to meet your expectations. I assure you that it – as all our articles – was well researched and written to provide a balanced view to parents who are new to the topic of homeschooling. While those with more experience may find the socialization issue to be a non-issue, for many parents who are unfamiliar with the topic it can be a primary concern, which is why it was addressed. Thanks for sharing your feedback. We’re always working to add new content to the site, so in the future we might address some topics more relevant to experienced homeschoolers, since the interest is there.

  8. becki says:

    As a homeschooling mother, I was glad to see an article about this topic. The information, however was dry and archaic – clearly not researched at all. While at school in a traditional school system, my son learned that its better to cheat to get ahead, that if you are good at sports and you have money, you will go far and and misbehavior will be overlooked, and that being smarter than the norm is something to be embarrassed about. This was "socialization". Since homeschooling, he has made more friends, has more confidence and enjoys academics again. He has also improved at sports. My 7 yo daughter is not eager to become a sexy young teenager…another socialization issue.

    I also take issue with the misleading statement that a homeschooling parent needs to be strong in a subject to help their child learn it. That is grossly misinforming and is a common misconception which leads many to believe that they "could never" homeschool when they could actually do it well. There are such vast amounts of resources that anyone can find help teaching a topic or helping their kids learn. I am teaching Latin to my children with the added benefit of learning it myself. Please do more research.

  9. Mrs. says:

    My husband and his sister were homeschooled, while I went to public school. The dynamics between the two should not be weighted upon who gets better socialization, because lack thereof or plenty of socialization will be present in both dynamics. It depends on the child, as well as the community, and parents who will delegate whether or not the children will get adequate socialization with their peers.

    I, too, did not find this article very informative as I already know very much about homeschooling. For those wanting to explore the subject of homeschooling, check out your local library or even research over the internet. Just don’t be fooled on the whole "socialization" factor in homeschooling. What should be a general concern or topic is funding, educating yourselves as parents, whether or not your community will have support, and whether or not you, yourself, have the ability to teach your children the subjects they need to excel in their education past school and into the real world.

  10. Sasoo says:

    Coming from the inner city, going away to boarding school was the best thing my parents could have done for me and my future and opening up my world. I know I’ve grown up to be a totally different person than I would have been otherwise.

  11. i would love to be able to homeschool my kids however I don’t feel as if I’m the best education for them.

  12. Good article. But I don’t plan on homeschooling.

  13. lisa_iowa says:

    As a homeschool mom with 14 years experience, I found this article rather uninformative. And really, the "socialization question" has been proven a non-factor over and over again. Do any of us really only interact with people our exact age? Are any of us forced to interact with the same 30 people and only those people? The logic just isn’t there to promote that as an argument against homeschooling.

  14. Mae says:

    I’ve also heard of home school programs where the child can go to a regular classroom on a regular basis, maybe once a week. They then have the sociability with other peers.

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