Education is a hot button topic for North Americans. Parents are responsible for making choices about how and where their children will be educated. How a child is educated will have a huge impact on what they learn, how they learn, and their perceptions of learning. Homeschooling is not a new concept. Before compulsory education was introduced in the 1800s, many children were educated at home by parents and tutors. The current version of homeschooling is an option that an increasing amount of parents are utilizing as an alternative to children attending public and private schools. Home education provides many advantages to students, and so does school education. Parents and guardians with young children should consider the differences between home education and school education before deciding which direction to steer their children in.
Home education provides opportunities for families to make more selective and personal choices according to the child’s learning style and interests. Each child is unique and learns differently, but public and private school systems have to accommodate every student in the classroom, which results in some students struggling to keep up with the class and other students feeling frustrated at not being able to advance their studies. Home educators can tailor their lesson plans according to the pace their child is learning the material at. If a child is having a difficult time grasping his spelling work he can devote more time to practicing spelling without fear of being ostracized by his classmates.
Home education also provides a greater sense of security to children. School education forces students to interact with other children who engage in destructive behavior. There are many school children who have good intentions to study and to treat their peers respectfully, but peer pressure can influence the behavior of impressionable young people who want to fit in with the “popular crowd.” Peer pressure has a huge impact on how young children and adolescents view themselves and other people, especially when peer pressure leads to bullying. Children who are educated at home are shielded from being bullied by classmates and sadly, even by teachers. There are many hard-working and caring teachers but there are also teachers who are just as mean to their students as student bullies are. Parents who are concerned about the increased media reports about students who commit suicide because of their pain from being bullied, can protect their children by educating them at home away from bad influences.
School education is very structured and many schools issue homework to students on a daily basis. Homework can be very beneficial if it is used to review course material, but some parents have strong objections to the amount of homework that is issued to students because doing the work leaves little time for children to pursue other activities. Home education does not need to take the same amount of hours that private and public schools take to complete a day of learning. Students who are educated at home can learn what they need to in a few hours instead of an 8 hour school day. Parents and tutors don’t need to monitor the activities of a lot of children in one setting the way that classroom teachers do. Home educated students can finish their work without distractions from peers and they can focus more time on their hobbies and even work if they want to. Home educated students also have more freedom to explore subjects that are not widely covered in schools.
Socialization is often used as an excuse for turning down the opportunity to educate a child at home. However, homeschooled children can be exposed to plenty of other children through extra-curricular activities and through homeschooling groups where families get together and interact with other homeschooling families. Home education is a wonderful way for children to be able to choose their own friends instead of having to befriend mainly same-aged peers who they are forced to go to school with. Home educators can work and homeschool their children if they decide to make home education a priority. Parents are responsible for their child’s welfare and education, and all avenues of schooling should be explored by the family in order to choose the best option for the child.