Education is important, and it is important to be aware that learning should take place all of the time; education does not only occur in a brick and mortar school classroom. North Americans are bombarded with media messages and lectures from school teachers about the importance of staying in school. Since American author and homeschooling pioneer John Holt’s book “Teach Your Own” was published in 1981, the homeschooling movement has grown, and shows no signs of slowing down. Homeschooling is being embraced by millions of families living in Canada, the United States of America, and other countries in the world. There are key differences between homeschooling and traditional education that every parent should know before deciding which educational method to use to help their child learn and grow.
Traditional education has undergone a lot of scrutiny from the media, school boards, parents, and students. Although traditional schools have several educators in the same building who are specialized at teaching certain subjects, the large amount of students per classroom poses challenges for the teachers to ensure that everyone is learning the material effectively. School teachers have many demands placed on them to teach their students to pass tests and memorize facts. Students need to learn more than just how to pass tests; they need to learn how to apply the information they learned to their own lives. Homeschooling can provide hands-on lessons on how to live in everyday life and how to think independently.
Eight hour school days are not necessary in order for learning to take place. The homeschooling class can start any time of the day. A common misconception of homeschooling families is that they need to run their school days like brick and mortar schools do in order to give children a quality education. Homeschooling classes can commence at any time of the day that the parents and children want to start. If the families want more time to sleep in during the day, they can. If school starts at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, that is fine too. Students who attend traditional schools are often exhausted at the end of the day because they must wake up early to attend school, are stuck in the classroom for hours on end being taught material they are struggling to understand, and have homework to finish at home after school is complete. After finishing homework, there are chores to complete, dinner to eat, and precious few hours to spend with the rest of the family.
Homeschooled students have more time to spend with their families and they are safe from the rampant peer pressure and bullying that exist in traditional schools. Another common misconception of homeschooling families is that the children don’t get opportunities to socialize with other children the way that children attending traditional schools do. Homeschooling families have access to groups they can join to interact with other homeschooling families, and they can also enroll their children in extra-curricular activities like martial arts, dance classes, Girl Guides, soccer lessons, and more, to expose their children to other forms of learning and social interaction with other people. There is no reason for children to be forced to spend most of their days in a classroom with same-aged peers. Real-life does not work the way that school does; adults interact with people of all ages and can choose how their days are spent. Children should be provided the same opportunities early on so that transitioning from childhood to adulthood will be easier.
Traditional schools lack the personal touch that homeschools can provide to the students. Homeschools can help each student feel important because their interests can be explored in more detail. If math is a struggle, homeschooled students can take more time to understand it without fear of being made fun of in class. Students at traditional schools do not have that luxury. Homeschooled families can also live their lives according to their terms. Many homeschooling families have one working parent and one stay-at-home parent and teacher, and there are also homeschooling families where both parents work and homeschool and have home-based businesses. Single parents can homeschool their children as well. Best of all, homeschooling teaches children by example that they can shape their own destinies; it can take years for traditional school students to learn that lesson after years of being taught that their value depends upon other people’s opinions of them. More information about homeschooling and how it can help your family can be found through Internet research and by interacting with homeschooling families.