Homeschooling has been a part of our family life for 26 years. In the beginning we fielded a lot of questions and they almost always were one of these three, followed by typical responses below.
- Is that even legal?
- Are you a teacher?
- Why would you want to do that?
- I could never do that!
- I need a break from my kids!
- I’m not qualified to teach them!
- You must have a lot of patience!
So why ~do~ people homeschool?
The most common reasons for homeschooling are – academics, religious reasons, bullying, poor school performance, violence in public schools, unable to afford private schools, special needs and quality of the school.
Benefits of homeschooling
How would you like to have your education tailored to “your” interests? That’s exactly what can happen when you homeschool.
One of our daughters is completely enamored with gardening and cooking right now. She reads blogs, checks out library books and talks about one or the other a LOT! Of course she has a garden patch and I let her cook whenever she wants. The other has developed an interest in massage. My feet are really benefiting from this one! She also loves to write and compose songs. She has just started writing a play and composing the music to go along with it. Because we homeschool we are encouraging them to dive deep in their interests because we know this learning will be lifelong. What do you really remember from your high school years? If you’re like me, not much. How freeing it must be to help choose your education!
One of the biggest benefits I see is the opportunity to spend not only quality time but quantity. I love spending time with my children and learning right along with them. Honestly I have learned more since beginning homeschooling than in all my years of public school.
How do you homeschool?
Again, there are several ways that I know of, and no doubt some that I don’t! You can independently homeschool, which means you are not connected to any institution and have total control over your curriculum. You can connect with a charter and have curriculum provided for you -think taxes- but the curriculum chosen must be approved. Depending on the charter, some have actual classrooms your child can attend, if desired, several days a week.
You can use an umbrella school. Typically they provide the curriculum and keep records for you for a fee. You can do part or all your schoolwork online. You can hire tutors for classes you are not confident teaching. There are also local homeschool co-ops that share teaching responsibilities among families. Or you can create your own combination of several of these methods. There is really not one method to homeschool.
What’s the downside?
There are drawbacks to most everything. Homeschooling will obviously take a lot of your time. If you are a person that needs a lot of “me” time, this would be a serious hurdle. If you are not self motivated, you will either get very frustrated at what is not getting done, or you will become more self motivated! I was not an organized woman at all when we started homeschooling, but have become quite organized over the years! You may have to give up you habit of sleeping in, or binge TV watching. Just kidding! I know families that homeschool on their schedule, not a 9 to 3 typical school day, and families that incorporate TV and movies into their curriculum.
So who is homeschooling?
People from all walks of life are choosing to homeschool. And the numbers are on the rise. When we started 26 years ago we met people who had never heard of it. Now it seems, everyone knows someone who homeschools.
The New American says the homeschooling has grown by 62% in the last decade.
Single parents, grandparents, traditional families and stay home Dads all homeschool. Kids are schooled at home for just elementary school, just high school, or all the way up to college! There are even families that do college work from home. There is not a typical homeschool family.
What are the results?
But what about when they reach the workforce? Are homeschooled children at a disadvantage? Typically homeschooled graduates score higher on SAT and ACT and enter college with more credits. According to HSLDA 74% of homeschooled adults ages 18-24 have college credit comparred to 46% of the general population in the same age bracket. In 1999 Stanford University accepted 27% of homeschool applicants which is twice as many as private and public school applicants in the same semester. Legally homeschool graduates are eligible for financial aid and scholarships. Some colleges actively pursue homeschool graduates. And we know from experience the military also welcomes homeschoolers.
Our family has come full circle in that our grown children are now either currently homeschooling or disussing the possibility when their children are school age. It’s been an adventure, not without it’s trouble and hassles, but worth it. I’m a firm believer that every choice involves a sacrifice and this choice, to homeschool, was and is worth the sacrifice.