Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ve probably heard the term’ homeschooling.’ Though mystery may surround it, there are more homeschooling families in the United States today than ever before. In 2019, the National Center for Education Statistics verified that 2.5 million children were homeschooled. That number has doubled from just three years before. With as many reasons to homeschool as there are learning styles, that number will only continue rising. Nearly 10% of children in the U.S. were homeschooled in 2020, up from 3-4% the year before.
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a growing movement in the United States and throughout the world in which parents educate their children at home instead of a traditional public or private school. Many families decide to homeschool for a variety of reasons. These reasons range from dissatisfaction with school districts to educational, religious, or general belief that the traditional system hinders student progress.
While it may sound like some new age movement, homeschooling has been around for decades. Since the 1970s, education researchers, critics, and advocates like John Holt, Dorothy Moore, and Raymond Moore, supported educational reform. The trio began talking about homeschooling as an alternative option to the traditional route of public school. A half-century later, homeschooling is legal in all fifty states and rapidly growing. Homeschooling covers basic academics like math, science, English, and history and even encompasses art, gym, and other subjects of interest. No limitations exist to what a homeschooled child may study, which is part of many families’ appeal.
A parent typically teaches a homeschool education, but a private teacher or tutor can also teach homeschoolers. The common thread in homeschooling is the freedom to choose what works best for your child. For instance, the homeschool curriculum can include educational videos. You can also work with a combination of books, online activities, and hands-on activities in the home. Students can take online classes or participate in co-ops or pods. It offers families a flexible schedule and the opportunity to work one-on-one to meet each child’s needs and learning styles.
Like every parent, homeschooling parents want the best possible education for their children to succeed in life. Regardless of reasons, homeschoolers share a common belief – nobody invests in their children’s future more than themselves.
Who does homeschooling benefit?
Benefits to homeschooling your children include:
Homeschooling offers families control in scheduling and how children learn. Teaching your children one-on-one is the best teacher-student ratio with no busywork to waste time.
Parents can choose the curriculum and approach that works best for their children. This is especially beneficial to children who may be slightly behind their peers or struggle to learn with traditional teaching methods used in the classroom. Alternatively, for gifted children, homeschooling allows them the freedom of learning at a faster rate without being forced to wait for other students. Instead of becoming bored with school, the gifted child can move along and study subjects their peers are not delving into yet. The homeschooling environment is ideal for children who need a quiet environment to concentrate. Additionally, this environment promotes learning and creativity in an ‘outside the box’ manner. A warm, loving family environment, conducive to learning, benefits all children at all stages of their education.
Homeschooling fosters the key to becoming a lifelong learner. Children can freely learn at their own pace. They can spend more or less time on certain subjects as needed, and homeschooling doesn’t teach to the test. Additionally, students can participate in programs that school budgets are slowly removing, like the arts and music. Students have more freedom and time to pursue careers and interests with outdoor play and hands-on experiments.
This flexibility in both schedule and curriculum offers homeschooled children an opportunity to get involved in their communities. Many homeschooled children participate in their community’s fundraisers, food drives, and more. Homeschooled children can volunteer for age-appropriate causes that teach them the value of helping others and giving back priceless lessons and can not be measured.
Debunking homeschooling myths
Though more families become intrigued by the idea of homeschooling, myths have always surrounded homeschooling that may prevent them from trying it. Let’s look at the top three:
Homeschooling is only for religious families.
In actuality, religious reasons remain the least likely reason parents decide to homeschool today. According to the National Household Education Survey (NHS), the most popular reason parents homeschool their children lies in the child’s public school’s negative environment and a desire for more for their children. Most homeschool families choose secular curriculums where they can integrate family values.
Homeschooled children do not socialize.
Not only is this the farthest thing from the truth, but homeschooled children tend to socialize more! Personalized learning by nature allows homeschooled children to explore a world beyond their classroom. Learning doesn’t just occur within four walls. While traditional school field trips rely on budgets, homeschooled children have the freedom to visit museums, science centers, parks, ecology centers, and more. Often, a community project leads to this visit, solidifying their learning experience during the trip. Another aspect of homeschooling and socialization is that homeschoolers, unlike traditionally schooled students, are not limited to interacting with children their own age. Homeschoolers interact with children their age, older children, younger children, and the adults participating in the trips. Homeschoolers are involved in sports, theater and music groups, volunteer organizations, and more. They usually have more time to spend on these activities than in traditional public schools.
Homeschooled children do not go to college.
Both statistics and success stories debunk this myth. Homeschooled children are more likely to attend college than their traditionally educated peers. More importantly, they are likelier to stay their entire education and graduate. Being educated at home fosters independent learning as children move from elementary to high school. This ability to learn independently has proven to boost SAT and ACT exams scores of homeschoolers. Today many universities and colleges look beyond test numbers. They seek well-rounded students who can learn and work independently and a transcript that includes community and outside interests. Recent studies demonstrate that homeschooled students graduated college at a higher rate than their traditionally educated peers, 66% percent compared to 57%. They also had higher grade point averages.
Does homeschooling hurt public schools?
Since its inception in the 1970s, the homeschooling movement has grown. As more families find home education a better option for their children and family, that number will likely increase.
Unless a parent received a homeschool education themselves, deciding to homeschool comes with various emotions ranging from anxiety to guilt. Many parents feel a pang of guilt for leaving traditional schools as if they’re betraying others and their children. However, some experts believe the homeschooling movement will pressure public schools to do better. Public schools receive government funding, so this pressure moves legislatures to look at different educational options. For instance, legislatures could permit parents to choose their child’s school instead of attending a school within their district. It also forces them to fund charter schools, another public-school option that families may not have considered before.
Homeschooling is a changing force for public schools, but it doesn’t threaten them. Before the 1970s, all families educated their children at home in colonial days. Back then, homeschooling became a force due to parents taking on work. Similarly, public schools began when colonial families banded together to hire a teacher for their one-room schoolhouse.
Public schools depend on student enrollment for government funding. Homeschooling has decreased the burden of a growing population that results in large classrooms for one teacher alone. With homeschooling, the need for spending on new buildings and additional staff decreases.
Many public schools aid homeschooling families, allowing homeschooled children to participate in school sports or extracurricular activities and take SAT exams on school grounds.
Today, both public and private schools recognize that it takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes. With shifts in educational reform, the homeschool movement continues growing. Anything Academic can help you discover more about what you need to get started.