Homeschooling | Why More Parents Are Choosing to Homeschool
Homeschooling | Why More Parents Are Choosing to Homeschool
Homeschooling in recent years has become something of a phenomenon. The number of parents taking their children out of the traditional school system has risen all around the world.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), the U.S. homeschool population grew from 2 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2016. Homeschooling “is now bordering on mainstream in the United States.”
Flexible, Child-Led Teaching.
The reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children are as diverse as the parents themselves.
Control of the curriculum is one of the most popular reasons. So is a flexible approach to learning that expands the child’s mindset.
The state school system emerged during the Industrial Revolution with one purpose, to create an army of factory worker bees. That’s where we get the school bell, the timetables, and the discipline. But until they're about seven or eight, children’s brains have not developed enough to absorb this kind of cultural dictate.
Until they reach eight they learn best through play. Molding children to adhere to a tight, inflexible daily schedule only puts them under undue pressure.
Children enter the school system at around five years full of a natural enthusiasm for life. This can be crushed by the rigorous schedule imposed on them.
Some children succeed in conforming to this schedule; others grow bored and listless. Still others develop behavioural problems because they are never given the chance to express their creative urges.
With Homeschooling | Teaching is far more flexible
Homeschooling parents enjoy the advantage of being able to teach one-on-one with their children. Most teachers agree the lower the pupil-teacher ratio the higher the standard of learning.
With homeschooling, time can be dedicated to teaching the child something with which they have an interest. This saves wasted time teaching children subjects they care nothing about.
Homeschooling is about child-led education, and it allows the child to learn at their own pace. There are no imposed caps on level attainment. The homeschooled child is free to exceed the required level if they feel stimulated enough about the subject matter.
The National curriculum | GCSEs
Parents still need to follow the national curriculum if they intend to privately enter their child for GCSE’s. But devising your own timetable makes for a far more efficient learning day. You can choose to teach at the times of day your child is most attentive.
Headteacher permitting, a child can be taught at home part-time, while making up the balance by attending a state school. This can also free up time for the parent to maintain a part-time job.
Many parents prefer to homeschool their children full-time during the early years. Later, when they feel they’re at the right age, they put them into state schooling. There’s no legal obligation on a child to attend a school, but by law they must be given an education.
Homeschooling can provide a healthier learning environment than the traditional school system. There’s no peer pressure, no drugs, and no bullying (hopefully!). Tutoring at home ensures more quality family time. The relationship between parent and child becomes stronger as a result.
Reaching a child's | Full potential
Critics of traditional schooling say too much emphasis is put on reading and writing, maths and rote-learning. In 1983, Dr Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor, introduced his theory of eight different intelligences. His range of intelligences encapsulated a broader range of ability than the traditional notion of IQ.
As well as linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, Gardner declared six more. These include spatial, musical and interpersonal intelligence. It’s the gifted artists and entrepreneurs who are enriched the most by these other intelligences. They are also often the ones classified at school as anti-social or underachieving. And yet it is these same children who have the potential to change the world for the better.
Confronting | The myths
Parents wishing to homeschool are usually allowed to opt out their children from the school system. As mentioned earlier, it’s only the provision of an education which is obligatory; the premises themselves matter far less.
Homeschooling parents face opposition from advocates of traditional schooling. It's a common misconception that homeschooled children are disadvantaged. Critics point to the fact that parents are usually not trained teachers. Thus, their teaching methods must be less effective. Research by NHERI proved otherwise. It found that homeschooled children scored 15 - 20% higher than public school students on standardised academic tests.
With the wealth of online resources available, parents can access all the information on any subject they need to tutor. There are online courses, textbooks and other learning tools on the Internet to assist the homeschooled child. Interactive 3D resources, for example, can be tapped from the vast repository of 3D models offered by www.3does.com.
For members there’s a chat system, giving the potential to discuss homeschooling with parents from all over the world. There are also Facebook groups for homeschooling based in many cities and towns. Parents can join their nearest group and pool tutoring skills.
Critics also argue that the homeschooled child will become socially isolated. But the school environment offers a very narrow approach to social activity, with children mixing only with their peers. Not only can they pick up bad habits, they have little exposure with people of other ages. Their daily world is the classroom.
Homeschooling, conversely, extends the notion of classroom to the outside world. With more efficient tutoring, there’s more time for extra-curricular activities in the community. Children who are homeschooled can advance their learning by visiting museums and historic sites. With a greater awareness of the world around them, homeschooled children learn to interact socially with people of all ages. They develop faster both emotionally and psychologically, and become more socially responsible.
Homeschooling may not suit every child. But for those whose needs are not met by traditional schools, homeschooling offers a very viable alternative.