By Mary & Michael Leppert
No matter what one’s spiritual background and beliefs may be, the fact is that humans are mammals and mammals raise their young, teaching life skills and the ways of the species until a level of life-independence is reached and the offspring can survive and thrive on his own.
In this regard, human parents have the responsibility to teach and raise their young to this point of life-independence. Therefore, the greatest benefit parents can provide their children is to be the teachers of academic as well as life skills, providing seamless continuity. What brings many people to homeschooling is a psychological “tap on the shoulder” that leads them to realize that they want to nurture and care for their children’s education for the child’s peace of mind, safety and success.
The tap can come from a bully at school, a drug problem in the school system, a lack of academic progress by their child, or a myriad of other situations. To provide safety, security and total focus to the child’s learning experience, these distractions are best removed from the child’s world. Plus, each family is a sovereign entity and its culture is unique. Children benefit from having this uniqueness celebrated and nurtured.
Reasons To Homeschool
The first reasons to homeschool are FAMILY-related reasons.
â— Homeschooling helps children achieve the adult state of life independence.
â— Homeschooling nurtures the child’s uniqueness. Individuality is promoted and enhanced so that each child develops high self-esteem and realization of his/her unique place in the world.
â— Healthy social environment. Homeschooling provides a social environment that is free from bullying and other distractions; the child can concentrate one-hundred percent on his schoolwork and then play or socialize.
â— Promotes strong bond with parents and children. Homeschooling promotes and develops a strong, healthy bond between parents and children.
â— No more school time-clock. Homeschooling removes the tyranny of the institutional school time-clock from the home and family. This decreases stress and anxiety.
Once the family-related reasons for homeschooling are realized, the other reasons for it come into play. The next reasons to homeschool are ACADEMIC:
â— The teacher-student ratio is one-to-one, even if there are many children in the family. The teaching parent only has to address one at a time and can control the environment more comfortably. Plus, children at home are not usually disrupted and distracted as often as in a school setting.
â— Less time wasted. In homeschooling, all of the academic study time is spent on that study.
â— Less time is required for teaching. On the average, 2 to 3 hours of homeschooling per day accomplishes more than 6 hours in the classroom.
â— Earlier college entrance. Many homeschooled students begin attending college at a much younger age than their age-peers who are attending institutional schools.
â— Increase in standardized test scores. In the past 10 years, homeschoolers have tended to score 15 percentile points higher, on average, than their age-peers who are not homeschooled. And on the ACT, as well — “In 2004 the 7,858 homeschool students taking the ACT scored an average of 22.6, compared to the national average of 20.9.” (Homeschool Legal Defense Association, www.hslda.org)
â— Maximizes academic achievement and increases self-esteem for each individual child. If a child does not respond well to a particular book, program or approach it can be changed quickly for the child’s benefit, before self-esteem is damaged and stress is caused to the child. In school, such rapid response to a poor fit is not possible and the negative effects damage the child.
â— Special Needs flexibility. The academic flexibility provided by homeschooling is even more apparent with a child who has learning disabilities or special needs.
â— Individualized Delivery of Information. Homeschooling provides the child with the opportunity to have information delivered at his/her own speed, rather than by the classroom average.
â— Homeschooling Delivers in a Steady Flow and the child never stops learning — The child learns that his/her brain is always “on”, and just because he is not reading a book or doing a lesson, he is still learning. Therefore, information is a steady flow — whether doing academic work or grocery shopping. Homeschooling families often teach math via shopping, cooking and other non-academic avenues.
â— Nurtures children’s natural curiosity. Children are curious by nature and this quality tends to be nurtured and promoted by homeschooling. They learn things because they are curious about them; interested in them.
The third reason to homeschool involves SOCIAL considerations:
â— Eliminates Bullying and Peer-pressure – Homeschooling eliminates schoolyard bullying and much peer-group pressure and also eliminates racial or ethnic friction.
â— Eliminates drug influences, etc. – Homeschooling tends to eliminate the drug influences and other negative social aspects that are now associated with the schoolyard.
â— Creates optimum learning atmosphere – Homeschooling creates a quiet and safe environment for the child, allowing him/her to focus fully on learning. This in turn, eliminates stress and anxiety, which can also block memory and learning.
â— School does not provide much healthy socialization. School provides little more than 1 hour of social activity per day. Most positive age-peer interaction for the school child occurs in his own neighborhood or in extra-curricular activities like Scouting and sports.
â— Homeschooling offers an abundance of positive socialization. Homeschooling offers children the opportunity to truly socialize with other people — not merely children their own age, but those younger, older and adults as well. On the average, this creates a more well-rounded social individual, and imitates the social atmosphere of adult life.
Reasons Not to Homeschool
For someone who believes that homeschooling is the best way to teach and raise children, this is a difficult list to develop. In our years of experience, we have seen and heard of a few reasons why a family would choose not to homeschool.
â— Parental Learning Disability – If you, the parents, have a true learning disability that interferes with your own processing of academic information and you don’t see teaching your child as a way to overcome it.
â— Parental lack of patience – If you really do not have the patience to teach your own child and do not want to develop it.
â— You live in an out-of-the-way area. If you feel that your child cannot successfully participate in the social activities around your locale, or if there are none, then you might not want to homeschool.
â— You are 100% satisfied with your school district. If you believe your local school system does well by your child and you do not believe that you can do better — or need to.
â— Your school district listens to your concerns. If your local school district has an attitude of service to the parents of its students and listens to their concerns and responds quickly and reasonably, you almost have an extended homeschooling situation already.
â— If you are a single parent and cannot work from home. If you are a single parent and must work outside of home to make a living.
â— A lack of extracurricular benefits, such as organized sports, proms, etc. Many homeschoolers are not able to enjoy these aspects of institutional schooling, although there are regions where homeschoolers have well-organized sports networks, and some support groups sponsor proms, graduations, science fairs, and the like. There are also school districts which are required to allow homeschoolers to participate in organized sports and some other extracurricular activities, as long as they meet the same qualifications as the regular school students.