Despite the fact that homeschooling is gaining in popularity, there are still those who don’t understand how it works and only focus on what they perceive to be as negative effects. While there are always negative aspects of any decision, there are many positive effects of homeschooling.
Schools have good intentions in trying to educate so many students at once. It is almost impossible to teach every child at an individual level. Therefore, curriculum is set for the entire school or school district. Tutoring is available for the child who falls behind and advanced children are sometimes allowed to move up to the next grade for a particular class. However, this does not happen in every school, leaving children to stay at the same pace as everyone else.
Children who learn at home are able to work at their own pace for every subject. With only one or a few students to teach, the parent is able to see where each child is at and what is being understood. The student that isn’t ready for a particular concept can keep working before moving forward. The advanced child can skip as many levels as necessary before finding one that is challenging. Visual learners can use videos or interactive sites to help them understand the material while crafts and hands-on activities help those who are tactile learners. This ensures that the child will learn the material and retain the information beyond a test.
Education isn’t just about learning grade level academics. Adults continue their education beyond high school or college, on a daily basis. They learn about topics that interest them, whether it be auto mechanics, cooking, gardening or medical topics. Children should have the same ability without being bound to a strict school schedule and curriculum. Formal education does not take as long in a homeschooling environment because the teaching style matches how the child learns and one on one instruction is being provided. Therefore, there are several hours in the day, while their friends are in school, for the child to choose what to learn about.
In a school setting, these topics are known as electives that are offered for those in high school. At home, even young children can have electives. Many children enjoy cooking or baking, or may decide to raise animals. Learning to work on cars with Dad may appeal to some while learning to sew or knit may interest others. Many colleges offer classes to those as young as 15, opening the door to many possibilities that a child stuck in a classroom may not have time to pursue.
Many children these days seem to lack empathy for others. They only seem to care about things that affect them personally without thinking about how their actions affect others. In the public school, most of the education on morals and values comes from the other students and not adults. Those who learn at home are learning directly from the parents. When fighting with siblings, the parent is right there to help guide the decisions being made and help the child learn to think about everyone involved. Having this constant guidance teaches the child how to make good decisions, instead of being left on their own for the majority of each day. The child is often better prepared to handle peer pressure or bullying because he has been taught the proper skills required to make better choices.
It’s a misconception that a child naturally learns how to be social by being with other children for seven hours a day. If that were true, we wouldn’t have adults who care only about their own interests, everyone would get along together and there wouldn’t be any shy people. Children are not equipped to learn how to treat others by being thrown into a group of children, with a few exceptions. They need to be taught based on circumstances that come up and it usually needs to be enforced. They also need to learn how to get along with people of any age group, not just peers.
When a child is taught at home, they can learn these important skills with guidance. This prepares her for when she is out in the real world. She learns how to interact with the cashier at the grocery store in a respectful manner. She may even volunteer in a nursing home, bringing joy to others while learning about life stories and historical events. She learns important qualities of a true friend and knows how to choose friends based on true feelings rather than who is popular. Socialization takes place after the school work is done, reducing the distractions that take place in a regular classroom. Sleepovers with friends or neighbors, sports teams, clubs and church activities allow the child time to practice social skills that are being taught on a regular basis while making lasting friendships.
The advantages of homeschooling far outweigh any disadvantages. The main reason for homeschooling is to provide a more personal education for each child while helping build character. This helps develop a more rounded education, keeping the focus on what schooling is about.