Many people have a perceived idea of what homeschooling is and whether or not they believe it to be an adequate education. Some have known a homeschool student and that has tinted their opinion of what homeschooling is or is not. I would like to suggest that, like all things, when making a decision on educational choices, not to fall for the stereotypes that are associated with each educational choice.
First, let me say that I am an educator. I taught in public school, private Christian school, and an online homeschooling format. I believe (and know personally) that there are amazing educators in each of these educational options. However, as a parent and teacher, I looked at various factors that helped my family decide to homeschool. Homeschooling is not the best option for everyone, but I do think that it is more doable than many think. I also believe that the pandemic helped many parents see it as a positive educational option.
Below are some of the factors that helped my family decide to homeschool:
- Student-centered: As parents, we know our children better than anyone else, or hopefully we should. I know if my child needs to stand or squeeze a stress ball to be able to listen to someone talk for longer than 15 minutes. I know that one of my children will listen for hours on end to you reading book after book. We, as parents, already know what works and doesn’t work for our children. The initial “get to know the student” time is gone. As a teacher, sometimes this took much longer than I hoped depending on the students. Since parents already know the student so well, it can eliminate some of the behavioral problems. And you are eliminating 15-25 other behavioral concerns that can happen in a classroom.
- Controlled Content: Homeschooling allows you the freedom to select the curriculum that best suits your child and your family. Many times in public and private schools, you as a parent do not have as much control over some of the content taught or the way it may be presented to students. Homeschooling allows you to KNOW what your child is learning and HOW it is being presented.
- Communities: When I first started thinking about homeschooling it was overwhelming. I would have to do everything – just me. Thankfully, I soon realized that is not the case! There are many homeschool community groups that can help you and your family. Co-ops are a great way to have a small community while sharing some of the learning load and having your student exposed to other kids and teaching styles. Where I live, there are a ton of different homeschooling groups. You have anything from classical education to game-based learning to hybrid homeschooling to hands-on-learning. It really is encouraging to see the different groups.
A few things I had to come to terms with before deciding to homeschool:
- I went to public school and turned out fine. I have heard this from multiple people and have thought about it too. Here is the issue I have with this statement. The world is a different place than it used to be when I was in school. Administration, curriculum, teacher support, parent support, and behavioral issues are just a few of the things that have changed over the years. I would have never been disrespectful to my teachers or I would have been disciplined at home. Unfortunately, students’ respect for teachers is not valued as much as it used to be. Everything is different, and to compare my education to the current educational system is comparing apples to oranges.
- Social interactions: The one thing that I know will be an intentional effort, is making sure that my child is involved in different activities and/or groups to help with social development. A co-op allows students to have peer interaction and learn how to appropriately address different teachers in a classroom setting. Sports or hobby activities allow students to not just learn skills, but learn how to work with others, encourage others, and practice hard work.
- High School: Most would feel somewhat okay teaching the younger subjects and content; however, high school can bring some fear. What if I want my child to get into a great college? Can I homeschool and still give my child a rigorous education? Yes! I was happy to find that there are great homeschooling options for high school content. Homeschool students can even take AP classes through an online homeschooling academy. There are a multitude of resources to help you be successful on your homeschooling journey.
Again, homeschooling is not the best option for all families but hopefully this has provided some insight to homeschooling as a more viable option.