According to the 2012 StatisticalAbstract released earlier this year by the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.5 million children were homeschooled in the U.S in 2007, an increase of 500,000 from 2003. Homeschooling is growing worldwide, is no longer an oddity and is now considered a legitimate approach to education. As for why families choose to homeschool, there is no one answer. Here are some of the more common reasons:
Religion – As prayer and religion are not allowed in public schools, many families prefer their child’s education to be based on their religious beliefs. There are many curriculum options that cater to varying religious beliefs. In the same way that many parents choose to send their child to Catholic School based on their beliefs, others decide to home educate in order to instill certain morals and character into their children due to restrictions in the public school system.
Socialization - Negative peer pressure, increased violence, sexual harassment and bullying lead many parents to reassess the traditional school environment. They believe that children can be taught the right way to deal with these issues without having first-hand experience. Students in public schools have a greater chance of exposure to negative elements and many are not sure how to handle these situations correctly. Parents who homeschool have more control of their child’s environment and exposure to these situations.
Academics – Many parents who homeschool feel they can provide a better education to their children than is available in traditional school. Some public schools offer a poor learning environment that does not challenge students to their full potential. Teachers teach to the level of the average student leaving the gifted student bored or the slow learner struggling. Home education allows the opportunity to focus on the child and is customized to the student’s learning style and ability.
Family Reasons – As each family is unique, there are special circumstances that determine whether homeschooling is best. Homeschooling gives a family the freedom and flexibility to travel. Many parents believe that experience is the best teacher and the ability to expose children to different customs and cultures up close is the best way to learn.
Also, children with special needs can still get a great education while dealing with mental or physical disabilities or chronic illnesses.
Special Interest – Many children have talents and interests that require a commitment of time and dedication. Children who pursue dance, acting, a sport or music are required to practice daily for hours. Homeschooling allows them to complete daily school work in a shorter time period than in a traditional school which allows them more time to focus on their particular discipline.
More Family Time – Families with children who attend school are separated daily for 8-10 hours. Once at home there is only enough time for homework and chores before it’s time for bed. Some homeschooling families feel that those hours are better spent together learning and growing.
For homeschoolers, a home education is about more than just academics. For many it’s about instilling a strong moral compass or gaining world experience or cultivating a love of learning. Homeschooling is a deeply personal choice that many don’t make lightly. All of these parents believe that what they are doing is in the best interest for their children and family as a whole. Now would you ever homeschool?