Every educational system lays out a wide range of opportunities to help students stay involved in the learning process. It is hard to say how many children are being homeschooled in the United States, but this significant number has been growing at a fast pace. Many Americans seem to have joined this fast growing educational trend. As a parent, you only want what is best for your child. This new innovative technique is a parent driven movement with the curriculum chosen, purchased and instructed by the parent.
To ensure that their children receive adequate education, an increasing number of parents are choosing to teach their children at home. Recent statistics indicate that 1.8 million kids were homeschooled in the United States in 2012. This shows a significant rise from 850,000 in 1999 to 1.1 million in 2003. Today, homeschooling is becoming a part of the mainstream. It is legal for parents to homeschool their children in all 50 states, each with varying requirements.
When parents decide to homeschool, they take on the duties and responsibilities of both a teacher and administrator. This environment allows the child to lead the way for the natural learning process. Homeschooling families design curriculum in a way that helps the kids understand lessons by experiencing them, they learn about the world in a way that is appropriate to their abilities and interests. For instance, a science lesson could include field trips to science centers and nature walks. Grammar lessons are taught from reading books and real conversations. Similarly, history is learned from visits to historical sites or museums.
Elisa Hilliard, a homeschool mom for the past 15 years shares that children have an opportunity to interact with a larger group of people from different age groups when they are homeschooled. As far as the social aspect goes, Elisa says that homeschool cooperatives, enrichment classes which are held at various locations are an effective medium for socialization. Her advice to families thinking about homeschooling their kids is to stop worrying about whether they are doing it the ‘right way’ because it is a lifestyle which concerns about what’s right for you and your family. Parents can choose to homeschool either independently by filing with the state or with a private school for support. State funded charters are also an option for new homeschool families to help with financial assistance says Elisa.
Linda prefers to make educational choices for her children herself because she knows her children better than anyone and consequently which programs would benefit them. “My son is a sharp sky observer so we make sure to take him to every astronomical event at the science museum and after returning we help him write a report on his experience” says Linda who believes that homeschooling is about making personal and positive choices for your own family.
One of the biggest reasons that homeschooling is becoming so popular is the perception that public schools are becoming more dangerous and violent. Recent media reports of constant school violence has lead many parents to believe that public schools are not a safe environment for their children. Many homeschool families are unhappy with the academic standards and believe they can do a better job at home. Amanda Jacobs homeschools her 7 year old to provide him with a better schooling environment, free of bullying and drug abuse.
Although the percentage of children being homeschooled continues to grow, many question the quality of education that parents can provide to their children with limited resources. Educators are concerned as to whether or not parents are as qualified as the certified professional teachers in the field of education. Many families quit home education for their children due to the financial stress that comes along with it. Middle class families are less inclined towards this education system as it requires for one parent to be home most of the time which leads to a single income. In fact, many argue this statement saying that homeschool families do save on child daycare costs which are no longer required. Doubts are raised about homeschooled children being over-dependent on their parents, rather than having a well balanced development of independence by spending quality time among peers and adults other than their parents.
Every child is unique and parents need to make up their mind regarding whether or not to homeschool their child, taking into account their child’s ability and needs. While it may be a better choice for many parents who are deciding on homeschooling their children it should also be noted that this method needs to be approached with caution and studied about thoroughly.
Tanya Sawhney is a Freelance Journalist and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(photos courtesy of a HomeSchool Mom)