By Cinthia Jahnsen
Have you ever thought of homeschooling as an option for your child’s education? My kids go to public school right now and I have loved their teachers. However, I do not love how much teachers seem to be losing their authority on how and what they can teach. Just the other day I was working on some math with my daughter and I could not figure out what she was doing, and she could not come up with the right answer but kept insisting that that was how her teacher made her do it. Once I taught her an alternative option, she was doing the math problems fairly quickly and accurately. Although my husband thinks I’m crazy for considering it, I wanted to find out more about homeschooling and how it compares to public schools.
The number of children who are homeschooled
In the early years of our great country, homeschooling was pretty much the only way children were educated. They were educated by their elders’ examples, others had tutors, while some were hardly schooled at all. Some of our earlier presidents were even homeschooled such as John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Woodrow Wilson, just to name a few. At one time in our history, homeschooling became illegal in many states and compulsory school attendance became a law. In the 1970’s homeschooling was almost nonexistent due to this law. Now homeschooling is legal in every state in the United States of America. Over the past 30 years, homeschooling has become a more attractive option of schooling for many families whose children are between ages 5-17. Going from nonexistent to the over two million homeschooled students today is a drastic change from years past.
There are many reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children. Many are dissatisfied with the public school system and seek for an alternative. Parents might want to spend more of their time with their children, and desire to help them learn through hands on life experiences. Some might say their religious beliefs and morals do not mesh well with subjects taught at school. Some believe that their homes are a better environment for optimal learning over the school yard. Most home school parents do so “for ideological and philosophical reasons”. Whatever the reason, many parents are choosing to keep their kids home from school, and are opting for an alternative education at home.
Over two decades of research has been done on the effects of homeschooling and the comparison with children growing up in public schools. One study found that children who are homeschooled average at the 65th to the 80th percentile on standardized academic tests. Whereas the national average is in the 50th percentile. Homeschooling effects seems to be as much as you put into it. Some factors include the education level and dedication to education of the parents.
Studies and research have also found that homeschooled children not only interact with their nuclear family better, but also often interact better with children of various ages outside their family. Homeschoolers are socializing with kids and adults of all ages. Children seem to develop well, or at least equally as well as public schooled children, when it comes to socialization. They experience healthy emotional, social and psychological development, and attain high or at least average academic achievement.
Another misconception is that children who have ben homeschooled might have trouble adjusting into adulthood. Many might assume that adults who were homeschooled as children might have trouble being responsible, getting a job, finding one’s own food, shelter, clothes etc. But this does not seem to be the case. Homeschooled children tend to be at least as capable as other adults who came from the public school system. They also seem to do well in their chosen college academic studies, SAT’s and ACT’s, and seem to be satisfied with their home education in childhood.
Public school or homeschool? Do what’s best for your family. Both are good options.
Although there is no guarantee that homeschool will produce a better educational experience or more learning than public school, it does offer an alternative to those parents who perhaps are unsatisfied with the public school system. Homeschool is not for the faint hearted. It is hard work. You have to be the teacher and the parent and you are responsible for the well-being and education of your young ones. Doing personal research, seeking out local support in your neighborhood, and finding the right curriculum that works for you and your children can help in making decisions on the subject.