Real life examples: Elizabeth has been accepted to four different universities and is having problems choosing which one she prefers. The decision is made even more difficult because Elizabeth is just 15 years old. Michaeltook his SAT test last Saturday. He scored 1560 out of 1600 including a perfect 800 in math.
He's looking forward to finishing his schooling as he will be attending Harvard in the fall. George has been invited to his local college to compete for five scholarships they are awarding amounting to full tuition for four years - about $100,000 each. The scholarships are awarded based on academic ability and the competition is stiff every year. He's expected to finish first and have his schooling paid for.
What do all of these children have in common? All have been homeschooled.
However, for many families, homeschooling just isn't a possibility. With more and more parents working to support the family along with single-parent households who don't have the luxury of staying home to school their kids, even if you do feel home schooling is best for your child, it's just out of the realm of reality. Should you find yourself in the position to be able to make the choice, there are many things you need to know about before deciding to accept responsibility for your child's education.
First and foremost, you need to know that home schooling tends to take up a lot of time in your day. It is more than just sitting down with books for a couple of hours. There are experiments and projects to be done, lessons to prepare, papers to grade, field trips, park days, music lessons, and the list goes on. It can be much like a full-time job, but this is your child's education, so making that kind of commitment needs to be fully understood in order for them to actually benefit. Having a set schedule helps manage the time you do have, and we'll cover possible schedules for you to consider in a later chapter.
Homeschooling does require a certain amount of personal sacrifice for the parent. The home school parent has little personal time or time alone. If care is not taken to set aside time for yourself, it is easy to never have time alone. Parent and child are together nearly all the time. That can be extremely stressful, so make sure you'll be able to schedule time for yourself. There is a bit of financial strain on the family unit as well.
This should give you a better idea of whether or not your mind and heart are in the right place. Consider some of the following when making your list:
Parents know their child better than any other teacher could. Because of this, parents can custom-tailor the learning experience. Your children's interests, abilities and learning styles can be accommodated.
Home schooling gives a family more time-- to be together, to strengthen relationships, and to share values and ideas. Many families find that learning at home takes less time than learning at school. There are some school activities that take away learning time from children. When you regain that time by schooling at home, this allows your child to learn more and pursue personal interests.
Plus, they can move at a quicker pace than in the traditional classroom. Simple but life enriching activities such as reading can be reclaimed and put to educational use. Many children who are publicly schooled sometimes find the noisy, crowded environment in a classroom stressful. Recurring stomachaches, headaches, and anxiety may all improve in a happy, peaceful home environment.
Beyond the traditional subjects taught in school, children can obtain life skills, such as managing money, cooking, and carpentry, by participating in real activities required at home. Contrary to what many opponents feel, homeschooled children can become better socialized than their peers. They are not confined to the same-age-only relationships of the school setting, so they have more experience in getting along with people of all ages.
Finally, and the bottom line for many prospective home schoolers is that home offers a degree of safety that no school system can provide. Drugs, alcohol, violence, peer pressure are all absent in the home setting as opposed to the school setting.
The awesome responsibility for education rests squarely where most home schoolers believe it should: on the family's shoulders. Many people may be unwilling or unable to assume the responsibility, and would prefer that it be left to others.
The increased "togetherness" is a bitter pill to swallow for some. Fortunately, many find that home schooling is a positive, relationship-healing process. Over time, both the children and parents change, relax, and come to enjoy being together in a way that is not possible for those families who are able to only spend leftover snippets of time together.
Home schooling takes more effort than sending children to school. In addition to basic subjects, energy is required to stay informed about and engaged in activities and opportunities, legislation, and home schooling methods and ideas.
Your home will look very different when you home school. Some people find this to be much more difficult than they expect - especially when they are used to "a place for everything and everything in its place" mentality.
You could be subject to some intense criticism from family, friends, and society in general. Be prepared for this and arm yourself with information. Remember why you want to home school and remain committed to your decision.
So, you've decided to go ahead and dive into homeschooling. There's a lot to take care of now and many people wonder just where should they start?