It seems as if there are as many reasons for homeschooling as there are parents. Some parents know without a doubt when their first child is born they want to teach their children themselves. Others don’t think about it until their child is of age to start preschool or kindergarten. Some kids have already gone to public or private schools before the parents decide that homeschooling would be better. Despite the reasoning behind the choice, all families can benefit from homeschooling. For families who may be on the fence as to whether or not homeschool, the following are advantages that many other families have found with schooling from home.
The amount of time spent together as a family is dramatically increased when children school from home. This can strengthen the bond between the children and parents—even the parent that works out of the home. The parent teaching the children is able to guide and nurture their children’s growth, natural inquisitive nature, and help the children to discover things for themselves at the child’s own pace. Learning can be fun, and oftentimes the same lessons can be used for different aged children.
Schooling from home can also include ways to incorporate real life lessons into the curriculum. A great example of this is gardening. For younger kids, learning the process of plant life can be part of science. Helping to harvest the fruits and vegetables will show them a part of how a family can be self-sustaining. For older kids, they can learn the importance of soil composition, using the right fertilizer, natural forms of weed control, etc.
Like gardening, another topic that isn’t covered in enough detail in traditional schools is money. When you budget and pay the monthly bills either by check or online, it can be a great practical lesson to teach your kids. A lesson about budgeting and money can serve them throughout their lives. Many traditional schools don’t go over anything more than how to write a check or balance a checkbook. There are no lessons in money management, investing, financial literacy, credit, or bad debt vs. good debt. All of this can be taught at home, in a practical environment that must deal with money on a daily basis.
One of the best reasons to keep your children at home is because of the influence of other kids. Not only do certain kids have bad (or completely lacking) manners, but also many come from families that don’t share the same values as those who choose to homeschool. Bullying has become a problem across the nation, and no where is it more visible than on the playground at recess. Most recesses are overseen by one or two adults at most, with ample time for mischief and mayhem to go unnoticed. When a family decides to homeschool, whom the children play and hang out with is completely determined by the parents.
Since the days of Columbine it seems as if schools are being bombarded with violence, and not just bullying. Many schools now practice lock down drills, and teachers are taught what to do if a gunman gets inside. According to a 2010 study done by the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2008-2009 school years there were 1.2 million victims of crime in middle and high school. These crimes include fighting, assault, and theft. In 2009, eight percent of students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon, such as a gun, knife, or club on school property. These were just the reported cases. Issues like this are precisely the reason many people are turning to homeschooling. While you should be able to send you child to school and know they are safe, that just isn’t always the case.
In addition, drugs are all too commonplace in schools. Children as young as elementary age are often exposed and prodded to try elicit drugs. The incredible amount of peer pressure can cause a number of children to give in. While homeschooling may not completely eliminate all exposure your child will have to drugs, it will greatly reduce it, and give you more time to emphasize why drugs are important to avoid.
Peer pressure is also present in other areas. It’s unfortunate, but many popular artists and movie stars are not what we want our children looking up to. Yet when kids are around other children in a traditional school environment, these people are looked up to, admired, and even emulated. Children who are homeschooled have the ability to remain children for much longer without the negative influences. There is no rush to grow up faster than they need to or to become overly exposed to matter of a sexual nature.
Along with this is the ability for children to develop their individualism. When they aren’t influenced by outside factors and peers, they can truly get a feel for who they are. There is no need to say they like or dislike something for fear of repercussions from others. They can take time to make decisions about themselves and not worry about fitting in with any crowd.
As sad as it is to say, there is also the influence of poor teachers. When a child is in a classroom for hours a day, there are many lessons and conversations that can take place that may not coincide with a family’s beliefs. Teachers have been known to voice their political positions, their religious beliefs, and even opinions on social change. Even though it’s obvious a teacher gets a salary for teaching and not preaching their views, it does happen.
When a child is homeschooled, the parents have much more control over building character and morals. For many homeschool families, religion is an important part of their lives. Often what is taught in school can go against what a family’s religious beliefs teach. This obstacle is easily overcome by homeschooling. Religion can be taught during the day or included in the lessons. It is easier to have your children behave in a way that is consistent with your values. They are also less likely to mimic bad behavior.
And finally, a great benefit of homeschooling is the ability to finish lessons in a much shorter amount of time than in a traditional school. When there is such individualized attention, not only does it make learning easier, but it is also much faster. This can leave time for teaching other valuable life lessons, such as cooking. The extra time can also be used for field trips where kids have the time to really absorb material. They aren’t just handed a sheet that has them running around a museum rewriting facts, not really engaged in what is around them. There is also ample time for private lessons in music or time for group sports without the family feeling rushed all the time. In addition to the shorter school day, a family can plan vacations at any time, and not have to work around a traditional school calendar.
While these reasons are nowhere near exhaustive, choosing to homeschool your children can bring great rewards for the entire family. It may seem like a huge mountain to climb if you’re new to the idea, but as you slowly sift out the intricacies, you will see how valuable what you are doing is. You can have well-educated, respectful children who are able to contribute to society and be well rounded individuals that you are proud of.
©2011 Off the Grid News