Should you Consider Homeschooling your Child?
As your children reach school age, you have a lot of options regarding education. One choice which is becoming increasingly popular is homeschooling. It used to be that only rural families homeschooled. However, homeschool curriculums online have simplified the process and many families feel the option is better for their children.
How do you know if a homeschool program is the right path for your child? Here are some key questions to consider when making the choice between public, private and homeschool education.
Why are you interested in homeschooling?
Everyone has different reasons for choosing the homeschool path. However, even with modern conveniences, a homeschool program takes dedication and hard work. You should weigh the advantages against the difficulty and work required. So, why are you thinking about it?
Many people choose to homeschool because of family-first values, flexibility, or to enjoy time with their children. Still others like the ability to control curriculum and pursue academic achievement in a personal environment. While many parents cite learning challenges, behavioral issues and problems fitting in as their reasons for homeschooling.
Whatever your individual situation, there may be other options which will also work for your child. Once you’ve chosen a homeschool program it’s important to commit for at least a year, so your children don’t get behind in school and have to catch up when you decide to quit.
What are the rules in your state?
Before getting seriously engrossed in plans to homeschool, research your state laws. You can find helpful information on your local Department of Education website, through the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, and by joining local online groups.
Some states require you to register, keep specific records or report yearly on your child’s progress. Additionally, some states have laws which grant equal access to public school programs to homeschool students. Here is a list of equal access rules, by state. These rules can allow your child to participate in extracurricular activities and take advantage of the public school system while homeschooling.
What approach is right for you?
Once you’ve done a bit of research on rules and contemplated why you’re considering homeschool, look at your options. Homeschooling has many different faces. You may choose to follow the district curriculum or even use the books and resources. Or, you might use an online program, like K-12, hire private tutors, or rely on an organic hands-on learning process. You may also look for a program which aligns with your religious beliefs or is catered to your child’s learning style.
Do a bit of research online to find the homeschool route which will best fit your lifestyle and children. The most important consideration is how this route will affect your child’s educational and personal development. Finding the right balance to allow your kid to learn, achieve and advance is imperative to success.
If after looking at the reasons you might homeschool, the laws and means to do so you are still on the fence, consider the facts. Studies show many homeschool students score higher than traditional students on standardized tests. Within minorities, the disparity is even wider. So, if one of your reasons for considering homeschooling is academic advancement, you’re on the right track.
Many of the perceived drawbacks of homeschooling like lack of peer interaction, inability to participate in traditional school activities, and community perception, have improved in recent years. While homeschooling is by no means as simple for the parent as traditional education, it does have advantages. The true question is, does homeschooling fit with your lifestyle and family?
What are your experiences with homeschooling? What are the pros and cons you have seen? We want to hear your experiences.