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All About Homeschooling


When it comes to education for your child, it's important to consider all your options. Sure, there's the classic decision between a public or private establishment, but what about homeschooling? This style of education has become more mainstream in recent years, but is it right for you and your family? Here is everything you need to know about homeschooling.

What is it exactly?

Homeschooling involves parents educating their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional school. This started gaining momentum in the 1970s and has only gotten more popular in the last two decades. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are about 2.3 million home-educated students in the U.S., and that number continues to grow, at an estimated 2 to 8 percent per year.

Why homeschooling?

Families decide to homeschool for many different reasons. Some parents want to strengthen their bond and relationship with their children. Other students require a customized learning environment that is not attainable in a traditional classroom setting. Homeschooling offers flexibility in multifaceted ways, like time and schedule, academia, nutrition, setting, etc. Some families choose to homeschool for one specific reason while others have plenty of driving forces.

Teacher requirements

In most areas of the country, homeschooling parents are required to have an education degree. Most families fund in-home schooling themselves, although there are state-funded programs throughout the U.S. There is a wide variety of resources available to parents who choose to pursue homeschooling. Parents can easily buy catalogs and curricula based on their preferred educational or religious philosophies to craft a customized lesson plan for their children.

The statistics

The National Home Education Research Institute stated that home-educated students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. They also score above average on achievement tests, including the SAT and ACT tests, regardless of their parents' level of formal education or their family's household income. However, the research does not prove that homeschooling equates to a more successful learning environment.

Possible disadvantages

Like most things, there are potential cons to homeschooling, which vary based on families and particular students. Some of the commonly noted negatives are:

  • Lessons may not match a nationally recognized school curriculum with examinations and accreditation no matter how well crafted they may be.
  • Can place stress on the entire family, particularly the teacher who has to balance being a parent and instructor, both of which are full-time jobs.
  • Children can miss out on social experiences with other kids in group settings.
  • Poses a large financial burden on the household's income in the form of supplying books and other learning materials.
  • Can potentially move at a slower pace than traditional education institutions, putting a child behind.

Education is one of the key responsibilities of a parent. Be sure to research all your schooling options before choosing one that suits the entire family. Keep in mind that if one option doesn't work, you don't have to stick with it.

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