Homeschooling might seem like a new fad to people who are accustomed to traditional brick and mortar schools, but a common misunderstood fact about home education is that being taught at home was actually the norm before compulsory public education was introduced in North America and in other countries. Children used to be taught at home by their parents, by tutors, or at private schools, and this practice continued in North America for generations until compulsory education was introduced during the 19th century. Other countries have their own regulations and reasons for enforcing compulsory education however, the option of homeschooling has become more popular again worldwide since the latter part of the 20th century.
There are various reasons why some families opt to homeschool their children instead of sending them to school, and homeschooling is not executed the same way in every family. Some families choose to home-school because they want their children to receive a religious education. Private religion-based schools are expensive; not all families can afford tuition costs. Homeschooling offers an even more private learning environment than private schools do, and for parents who support private education but cannot afford to send their children to private school, homeschooling is a great and sometimes better alternative. The costs to home-school vary; some families opt to purchase curriculums, and other families create their own curriculums and materials in order to cut down on costs. The family dynamics in homeschooling families vary as well. Some households have 1 parent that homeschools fulltime while the other parent works fulltime, some households have both parents homeschooling while working from home or outside of the home, and other homeschooling households are single parent households.
Contrary to a typical day at school, being properly educated at home does not have to take 6 to 8 hours each day. There are so many distractions in classrooms, such as unruly students and short-tempered teachers, which prevent many students from learning at their full potential. Children who are home educated can complete their studies in just a few hours per day because they have few distractions and more attention from their teacher. Parents can hire tutors to assist in homeschooling, and homeschooling families can attend field trips, classes at community centers, or anything they choose to promote learning. There are Internet K-12 (grades kindergarten through to grade 12) schools for homeschooling families that want a structured home classroom with a curriculum and teacher. Homeschooling offers more flexibility for families that travel and want their children to have the ability to work, volunteer in their communities, and have more time to explore extra-curricular activities. It is not uncommon for child actors and athletes to be homeschooled.
In addition to having more flexibility to pursue their individual interests in depth, homeschooled students are highly shielded and protected from the peer pressure and stresses that students face when they attend school. Bullying at schools is a worldwide problem, and some students have committed suicide because of their distress at being bullied at school. Opponents of homeschooling claim that homeschooling is an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be. The homeschooled student has more freedom to choose his or her own friends without facing peer pressure. There are plenty of opportunities to make friends outside of the school environment; extra-curricular activities, church groups, and neighborhoods can provide opportunities to build relationships. Students who attend school are in classrooms with people close in age to them for the majority of the day, but homeschooled students have opportunities to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds at their convenience.
As its popularity grows, homeschooling is becoming more widely accepted by children, families, and educators. Homeschooling is not legal in some countries, and some parents have been threatened with jail sentencing for trying to home-school their children. Before families pursue homeschooling they should investigate the legalities of homeschooling where they reside. There are many Internet blogs that are meant to encourage acceptance and greater understanding of homeschooling. Many colleges and universities welcome homeschooled students to apply, and because homeschooled students can finish their studies sooner than students who attend school, homeschooled students can start college and university classes at 15 years of age or whenever they are ready. Adults and children should research as much information about homeschooling to determine whether or not it would be a good fit for their families.