Facts and myths abound in regards to whether homeschooling is a viable options for students. Many believe it helps teach the children in a more realistic environment while others believe they can not possible learn as much as if they were in a school setting. Understanding a few important facts may help parents get a broader picture of what homeschooling is.
Who can home school
Homeschooling is something that happens from the the time a baby is born. The parents help the children learn to sit up, walk, eat, drink from a cup and potty train, among other things. There is no reason to believe this teaching has to stop when the child turns three and is old enough to enter preschool. However, not everybody has a personality that makes learning at a home a great experience. It takes a lot of patience to be with children the entire day and night, teaching them things they may not be interested in learning. Siblings fight and children rebel, making homeschooling a challenge. Unless state requirements dictate it, a parent does not need a degree to teach. They do need to be willing and capable of learning material that isn’t familiar with them so they can teach it to the children. Learning together shows that there is no shame in not knowing something.
How to teach
There are many styles when it comes to how to teach children in a home setting. The Charlotte Mason approach is popular with many homeschooling families because it takes a classic approach to teaching and learning. Unschooling is more of a child-led or self-directed form of teaching that works great for the child who doesn’t need a lot of instruction. Traditional methods are popular with many families who feel it is important to keep the children at the same pace as their peers or for those who are not confident in their ability to teach on their own. Eclectic homeschoolers take a little from every teaching style to form their own way of conducting school. They may be strict in some areas and more child-led in others.
Homeschooling is based on teaching the child at his own level, for the most part. Families with more than one child may use more than one teaching method to meet the needs of everyone. The child’s learning style plays an important part in how they are taught in order to make the most out of the curriculum. This prevents the child from becoming frustrated because he is unable to understand the material. Whether a child is a visual, audio or tactile learner, the curriculum can be adjusted to meet his needs.
One of the most prevalent myths about homeschooling is that the child misses out on socialization. It is believed that the only way a child can learn to socialize is by being put into a classroom for several hours a day with other children. However, statistics show that children who learn at home are better able to get along with people of all ages, serve the community and understand how the government functions and dictates social behaviors. These children tend to be more mature than their peers because they are not continuously being influenced by bad behaviors.
Children who learn at home are often involved in sports clubs, drama groups, voluntary positions, 4-H or other opportunities that get them into the community with a variety of people, helping them learn to interact with many types and ages of people instead of just their peers. The only difference is their socializing happens after their lessons are completed for the day, keeping the focus where it should be.
One of the most important facts about homeschooling is that these children can get into college. Many colleges are recruiting homeschooling students because they typically score higher on tests than public-schooled peers and are more interested in being an active member of society than most children who attend public school. For most colleges, all that is necessary to be admitted is for the child to pass entrance exams and have a portfolio showing their achievements during high school. It may be surprising to many, but most colleges are equally impressed when the child has volunteered to help the community over a period of time as they are by good grades.
Because the homeschooling movement is growing by leaps and bounds every year, there is a lot of support available to families. Many school districts allow children who learn at home to participate in one or two classes during the day such as physical education. Tutors are available, often in the form of other parents who may be stronger in a particular area. Homeschooling Co-ops provide extracurricular education and socialization while giving the parents a break once in awhile. Often, plays are put on or science fairs are conducted, just like public schools. There are several groups online for parents to bounce ideas off of each other, share resources or just listen while a frustrated parent vents.
Homeschooling is a great option to public schools as long as the parents are willing to commit to such an obligation. Finding resources and separating facts from myths helps a parent get a better sense of what is expected of them, as well as the children. The bottom line is caring for the child’s education and well-being. Once that is established, the rest often falls into place.