Home Schooling - It's Not What You Think
Many people have misguided assumptions surrounding home schooling. A hands on approach to teaching that allows parents to control what and how their children learn, studies have shown that home schooling has many benefits that the public education system can not offer.
Having the ability to hand pick a curriculum for home schooled students, combined with the flexibility to allow students to work at their own pace, home schooling creates an environment that encourages learning and prevents children from getting left behind.
Many parents fear that if they choose to home school their children, their kids will miss out on the social aspects of school. This just isn't the case at all. With ample extra-curricular and volunteer activities available, research shows that home schooled children have plenty of opportunities to interact and socialize with other children.
Home Schooling Survey
Home Schooling Facts and Figures
- Home schooled students outperform those in the public education system by 30% - 40% in every subject
- 55% of those home schooled in 2012 ranked in the top 25% of highest performing students for their age
- Home schooled students perform better than those who have not been home schooled students when it comes to the ACT exam
- Just under 2 million students were home schooled in 2012
- Home school education grows between 5% and 12% every year
- Students who have been home schooled their entire academic lives have the highest scholastic achievement
- On average, home schooled students perform a minimum of one grade level higher than students their age who have not been home schooled
- Fourth graders in public school scored in the 49th percentile when tested on their knowledge of vocabulary. Home schooled fourth graders scored in the 80th percentile.
Creating a Home School Curriculum
When it comes to creating a home school curriculum, parents have significant freedom to choose what they want to teach their children, as well as how they want to approach teaching them. While some parents choose to use regular textbooks that can be found in many public schools, other parents choose to rely on real world situations to help educate their children - relying on the internet, public libraries and museums as "classrooms" for their kids.
There is no right or wrong way to approach home schooling - the best curriculum is one that is catered towards your children and one that creates an environment that encourages growth.
Some of the most popular methods of home schooling include:
- The traditional approach - this method is similar to the approach used in public schools, where students rely on textbooks, exams and written assignments to help them learn about new subjects
- The classical approach - the belief that schooling should be about God first, then about life and purpose in life
- Independent study - ideal for students who are inquisitive and enjoy learning new things on their own, this method of home schooling has the least amount of parent involvement
- Unschooling - free of rigid requirements, this approach emphasizes a relaxed method of teaching, rather than an authoritative method of teaching
- The eclectic approach - a good mixture of the traditional textbooks as well as a combination of unit studies and online classes
The internet is a great resource for parents thinking about home schooling.
Girl Drops Out of Public Education System in Favor of Home Schooling
Written by a mom with experience home schooling her own children, this book has a wealth of ideas for implementing a well-rounded curriculum at home.
FAQs About Home Schooling
What types of people choose to home school their children?
Although many people are misguided into believing that home schooling children is an eccentric option only chosen by hippies and fanatics, this isn't the case at all. The reality is that more parents are choosing to home school their children than ever before. There is no certain type of parent who is more or less likely to choose homeschooling over public education.
How expensive is it to home school children?
Home schooling can be extremely costly, but it can also be extremely inexpensive. With the freedom to choose the curriculum that works best for you and your children, you could either choose to invest significant amounts of money towards books and other educational materials, or you could home school practically for free using public resources such as libraries, museums, and the internet.
Do home schooled students miss out on the social interactions available to students in public or private school?
It is an old wives tale that home schooled children miss out on the many social aspects offered through either the public or the private education system. Since home schooled students aren't confined to a classroom for most of their day, they have more time to participate in activities outside the home, such as music, sports, and other extra-curricular activities.
Will home schooling affect a child's ability to get into and succeed at college?
Significant research has found that children who are home schooled do better on their ACT exam than students who are not home schooled. This exam tests a student's preparedness for college.
Home schooled students are more commonly accepted and recruited by the top universities in the country based off of their high level of maturity, strong thinking skills, and academic background.
How well do home schooled children perform in the "real world"?
Many parents are surprised to find out that children who are home schooled are more successful in the real world than children who go through the public or private education system. Because home schooled children spend more time exploring the "real world", they are able to communicate better with others.
Pros and Cons of Home Schooling
|Pros of Homeschooling||Cons of Homeschooling|
Children can be taught depending on their own learning style
It can be time consuming on the part of the parents
Students aren't confined to a "one-size fits all" curriculum
Parents may struggle to point out weaknesses in their child
Parents have control over how and what their children learn
Parents must work extra hard to ensure that their children socialize with others and learn how to deal with the outside world
Children can progress at a pace that suits them
It takes a big commitment to create curriculums and ensure that the child doesn't fall behind
Successful home schooling has been found to generate higher test scores and a better ability to succeed after school is finished
Figuring out the particular regulations set up by your state can be confusing
Home Schooling Requirements
Every state has their own unique regulations surrounding how to home school a child and what requirements the student and parents must meet.
Before beginning a home school curriculum for your child, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the particular regulations set up by your state regarding how to go about home schooling, as well as what requirements are expected of you and your children.
While some states simply require that the parents write a letter on intent stating that they wish to home school their children, other states have significant red tape to get through before you can begin home schooling. The best way to find out how to navigate your state's requirements is to find other parents who have chosen to home school their children, and ask them for guidance.
Your state education department can tell you exactly what regulations apply to home schooling for your state.
© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal
Eiddwen from Wales on May 03, 2014:
Great advice for parents who wish to take this course in education for their children. Voting up Kathleen and here's to many more by you.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on April 29, 2014:
Up, Useful, and Interesting. Well said.
The kids and young adults that I know who are being or have been home schooled are doing very well in all respects -- learning, growing up, socializing, etc.
The choice between classroom school or home school is not an either/or question. I am an advocate of home schooling and public schools and the Summerhill model of private schools. One mother I know has homeschooled her two children for years, and they love to read, to learn, to create, to experiment; they have lots of peer friends, and they are courteous and considerate. This year, at their request, they are going to give public school a try, in part because the oldest, now 11 or 12, is way ahead of his mother in science and math. Many parents don't have time to home school, and others don't have the inclination. But such parents can find time and motivation to supplement classroom lessons with at home teaching opportunities. I have heard of public schools who welcome home schooled children to participate in some aspects of the school. Well funded, community supported public schools with well paid, highly respected teachers and with a curriculum that emphasizes creativity, critical thinking, curiosity, encouragement of initiative, and positive reinforcement of learning information and skills are needed more than ever. At the same time, resources such as the World Wide Web on the Internet, modern public libraries, tablet computers that can be used as ereaders, and local networks of homeschoolers are making home schooling feasible for more families. The enemies of good education are the rightwingers who are conspiring to sabotage and subvert the public school system and replace it with private for profit schooling.
Kathleen Odenthal (author) from Bridgewater on April 26, 2014:
Thank you for posting this, I appreciate it and I appreciate you telling your personal story. I think you are clearly a very strong, very loving mother and it is obvious you would do anything for your children.
Rachael O'Halloran from United States on April 26, 2014:
Hi Kathleen, This is a good hub full of good information for anyone considering setting up their child for homeschooling. However, I wanted to clear up something I said in a forum when you posted this question because you also mentioned it in this hub.
The reason I said I had ambivalent feelings about homeschooling two of my children saying I thought they lost out on socialization with other children was because my one son did miss out on socialization at school while homeschooling. This is because the New Jersey school district at that time, did not allow homeschooled children to come as students into their school-organized sports programs or school dances, proms, etc, because of liability. Homeschooling was looked at as a separate entity from a school. A child was not afforded the luxury of participating in after school and extracurricular activities like proms, dances and sports.
He could bounce a basketball in their playgrounds after school but he wasn't allowed to play basketball on their teams. When it came to proms and dances, unless he was asked by another student (or sibling) to go, he was not permitted to host anyone (ask a date to go with him) because the school district in NJ would not allow him to be considered a student availing himself of extra curricular activities offered by the district.
I will say, I did sue the Trenton school district for this because they also would not honor an IEP I had for my son while still a student there.
The school cited that because "he was a recognized child with a high risk disability" -he is autistic savant with Aspberger's Syndrome - at age 14, "he was highly combative trying to protect himself from other children he thought were out to hurt him, due to not reading social cues correctly. "
Because of his splinter skills which was an obsession with computers, taking them apart and rebuilding them, then developing software programs, his focus was on machines, not on humans. He was still in school then but not into sports or extra stuff. It took until he was 14 years old to get him to even think about holding a football, then to get out on a field to play with other kids.
Autistic children are not always open to socialization suggestions to say the least. But when kids charged at him in 8th grade football game, to him he read it as a bunch of kids out to harm him when in actuality he was being tackled because he was on the opposite team and he had the football!
Because he had an inability to interact with other students, he misread social cues and the school not willing to provide a one on one aide for him (as they did for every other autistic child in the district), they said they had no programs or resources to deal with autistic children to his degree of disability and favored homeschooling.
So I pulled him out and homeschooled him from age 14 until he sat for the GED exam at age 17.They gave me the books I needed for free and I bought what else I wanted. I sued the district and after 3 years of litigation, won him two years of vocational technical school.
He studied computer technology, went on to college and now works for a large technology company in Silicon Valley. He is 30 years old and very high functioning and lives independently now.
As for homeschooling him, looking back I would not have done it any other way. For him, socialization just took a little longer to kick in; it would have been nice if he had been able to interact with school activities and had exposure to intellectual stimulation and high school computer classes. Instead our house became a computer lab. Cameron is a highly productive young man now, well respected in his workplace, and freelances making computer-generated animated films.