To someone who has never considered it, the idea of homeschooling might bring up an honest question: When so much is offered through both public and private schoolsystems by people who have devoted their lives to the teaching profession, why homeschool? This article looks at some of the considerations that might lead people to make this choice.
Why Homeschool? – Homeschool Experience
Homeschooling used to be the schooling. Children learned at home from their parents before there was such a thing as a school. And with the homeschooling movement forging ahead and states accommodating the desire of parents to teach at home, some parents are now approaching homeschooling from their appreciation of its role in their own lives, from growing up in a homeschooling family. Thus, for some, homeschooling one’s children is extending a family tradition.
Why Homeschool? – Professional Training
A parent who is trained as a teacher can feel a bit of a struggle going off to teach a class of other children, but not having the opportunity to interact in the same way, to share the same experiences with his or her own children. Homeschooling gives the teaching parent an opportunity to give to one’s own children the fruits of one’s training and experience as a teacher. In addition, a trained teacher is already familiar with some (if not all) of the curricular expectations, the pedagogical concerns, and the vocabulary that homeschooling parents must acquire to understand their state’s requirements for operating a homeschool.
Why Homeschool? – Special Requirements
Homeschooling a child with special needs, whether an exceptional ability in learning languages or a musical instrument or a learning disability that requires adaptive instruction, may thrive with one-on-one attention that does not need to take 25-30 other children into account. Your homeschool could include an hour a day of speaking Croatian with Grandma or violin lessons with a player from the local symphony.
Also, a parent’s knowledge of his or her child’s interests, strengths, weaknesses, personality, etc., can reduce the learning curve in figuring out how to present, review, and test material in the most suitable ways. Parents don’t start the school year needing to learn a child’s name and work up from there. That is, what understanding is not available by training to the parent who is not an educator, may be balanced by a deep knowledge of the child.
In addition, a child who has an illness or has suffered a trauma may have fewer demands to face when education is provided at home, and may therefore miss less education than the child who has to contend with the hustle and bustle and scheduling in the typical school. In addition, interrupting school with a nap, a hug, or a medical appointment or procedure can flow more smoothly. And even for a child who is perfectly healthy, being able to eat when s/he’s hungry, drink when s/he’s thirsty, and take a break and run around when s/he’s been sitting too long – rather than on some generic schedule – may make the schooling experience seem much less restrictive and tyrannical.
Why Homeschool? – An Integrated Life
Homeschooling provides an opportunity to integrate learning into necessary life activities, rather than in the abstracted tasks and situations offered in a classroom. Of course there are times when a theoretical view and doing a task for the sake of learning, rather than because a task needs doing can be useful. But solving problems and doing tasks because of a real-world need rather than simply to meet an assignment can give education a whole different role in one’s life.
Integration can also occur through combining homeschooling with time in public or private school programs or activities, or other programs offered by museums, libraries, community centers, and other organizations. A child may also make a transition from homeschool to another schooling option at some point.
Another way in which homeschooling can integrate with family life is to keep siblings together for most of the day, something that is nearly always lost as soon as the first child begins to attend school. In addition, extended family may become participants, and the entire family may be more able share a joint life, not to mention a joint social life.
Homeschooling is also noted for allowing families to integrate their beliefs and traditions into their schooling. Lessons may be presented from the family’s faith perspective, rather than striving for an objective presentation. And prayer and worship can be part of the school day, as they also may be in certain private schools, but are avowedly not part of the public school schedule.