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The Informed Parent

To Homeschool Or Not To Homeschool—That Is The Question

by Suzanne S. Peredo, M.S.W.
Published on Dec. 12, 2011
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Question:

Homeschooling seems to have become more popular recently. I’ve always thought only religious fanatics homeschooled, but now I see more mainstream parents choosing to do this. Why would you homeschool?

Answer:

There are many reasons to homeschool, but most of them fall into these three categories:

1. You want to take a greater personal role in your child’s educational development.

At school, a teacher’s attention must be divided between many students, providing less concentrated time for each student. Homeschooling makes it possible to spend more one-on-one time with each child, thus allowing more concentrated learning in a shorter amount of time.

Since classroom learning is streamlined in homeschooling, you can devote more time to subjects which have a greater interest for your child. You can go into greater depth and enjoy more fieldtrips and hands-on learning experiences. For example: Studying early American history may blossom into a cross country road trip to Gettysburg, Philadelphia, etc. In my family, we were able to extend our study of California state history to visit Sacramento--our state capital and site of the historic Sutter’s Mill and a re-enactment of the Gold Rush--along with numerous California Missions.

2. The educational system in your area does not meet your expectations.

Every parent wants their child to know their personal strengths and weaknesses and apply them to every aspect of their life. Many homeschool parents take the added time with their child to make this learning an aspect of their lifestyle as a whole, not limited to the confines of a classroom. This type of comprehensive education is of necessity excluded from typical school experiences, but is very possible with homeschooling because of the ongoing familial relationship between teacher and child. There are many resources and tools to help parents foster learning and guide their children to developing life skills.

Whether your child excels in academics, has difficulties with learning or is simply average, there are resources available to help with homeschooling. From computer programs to co-op classes, to special homeschool days at local museums and learning centers, resources are abundant. Opportunities for learning are everywhere and resources for homeschoolers are increasingly available. 

Typically, schools are simply not able to provide the same highly personalized approach to learning that is made possible by homeschooling. If you feel that your local schools address students’ needs insufficiently, or if you want to take a very direct and active role in addressing your child’s educational needs, homeschooling may be a good option.

3. You want to incorporate your religious beliefs into your child’s educational experience.

It is commonly believed that most parents who homeschool decide to do so for religious reasons. Not all parents decide to homeschool for religious reasons, but it is true that it is a factor for many. Many homeschool parents desire to instill their moral and religious values in their children and see education as a key area in which to implement these beliefs. This is often not possible in public schools because of the separation of church and state, and private schools do not always operate within the parents’ code of beliefs. Parents may want to avoid having their child subjected to government-imposed standards which conflict with their beliefs, or may want to provide an atmosphere in which their particular religion or set of beliefs is pervasive throughout all aspects of their child’s education. 

Homeschooling can be a good option for parents who want to bring a more personalized approach to their child’s education, but it is not for everyone. The decision to homeschool is an important one which should be made by the parents based on many factors, including the parents’ and child’s needs, expectations and capabilities. 




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