Educating your children is one of the most paramount that you and other parents share. To decide on the best type of education, a great deal of forethought is involved and perhaps a great deal of sharing among other parents about the woes of the public education system. When many parents entertain the idea of entering their kids into the traditional classroom setting, they recoil. It could be for any number of reasons: the perception of danger (“Will my kids be safe? Will other kids tease them? What about what I hear about kids bringing guns to schools these days?”); the belief that the public education system has been a failure; or some other belief. As a result, homeschooling has risen in popularity lately. Close to 2 million kids are homeschooled in the United States, according to 2013 data from the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
What have parents who’ve chosen homeschooling discovered are the real benefits of this alternative method of education? Here are five benefits of having homeschoolers—not to be confused with “unschoolers,” who are also taught in a nontraditional setting but without any curriculum, such as a kindergarten homeschool curriculum, at all.
- Cost. Contrary to what many may believe about the cost of homeschooling, it isn’t a more expensive option; try pricing out private schools or even the better public schools. Plenty of parents who’ve opted to provide home-based schooling don’t have deep pockets. They’re not affluent or part of any kind of elite segment of the population. In other words, they’re just average, hardworking parents who see the benefits of homeschooling as being greater than those offer by a traditional classroom education for their particular family.
- Pacing. In a traditional classroom, the teachers have to abide by a curriculum and must therefore keep to a certain schedule, so they can complete the necessary learning objectives for the school year. Kids must keep pace since there’s no time to devote one-on-one attention or spend any lengthy period of time catching anyone up to speed for one reason or another. However, kids taught at home have the luxury of being able to stop, review again and continue as much as they like. This freedom in pacing helps them become well-educated as it conforms to their learning style.
- Freedom from bullying. Open up the paper and it seems there are far too many incidents of kids being bullied, especially in the teenage years. Kids don’t want to go to school out of fear of being embarrassed by some overbearing tyrant and many fear for their lives at times. When parents remove this bully from the equation of getting the best education for their child, their children can thrive in peace.
- Freedom from a strict schedule. While schools have schedules they must stick to, parents who homeschool are completely unchained from such obligations. They can reschedule as needed as long as their kids get their schoolwork done at some point. That’s a real blessing to parents who must tend to various chores and errands throughout the day. That pressure is relieved. Moreover, kids who are sick don’t have to worry about missing an assignment that won’t be repeated due to a stict adherence to a curriculum’s schedule. They can simply stay in bed—no need for parents to even call the school and report Johnny’s sickness or have him get a doctor’s note as proof.
- More bonding time. Arguably, the greatest benefit of homeschooling is the special bonding time that parents get to enjoy with their children. They get to share breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner together. That’s something that they would never be able to do by sending their kids off hurriedly each morning to a traditional classroom. By bonding, parents can also detect areas of learning that are perhaps weak and can immediately seek remedies to shore up those gaps.
Clearly, there are many reasons for parents to consider homeschooling as a viable option for providing education to their children. It’s a personal decision that should not be met with derision or scorn since in many states there are even regulations in place to ensure homeschooled kids receive all the necessary instruction that’s required to be on track with kids who are traditionally schooled.
Concerns over socialization are also overblown. Kids may be taught at home, but it doesn’t mean they’re “isolated” and therefore bereft of any friendships. Homeschooled kids still play freely with their friends like normal. Parents should find what works best for them but feel confident that homeschooling is a great path to education.