Frustrated with public school? Want an alternative to driving your child to another local public or private school? Here are five reasons homeschooling may work for your family.
Our oldest is 25 years old. We began homeschooling her because our third pregnancy required us to review our finances. One of the most important was that my entire paycheck and some of my husband’s would be required to keep all three in the academy and day care they attended while I worked. Many, including teachers, recommended we not place our daughter in public school as she would have to be "dumbed down." My husband and I decided I’d stay home and homeschool our children.
The National Retail Federation published a study, in 2012, which said parents planned to spend over $600 for their children’s public school needs. Similar articles, in 2012, said homeschoolers would spend an average of $500 per student and up to $1,000 per family. These figures differ from my experience and many other homeschoolers. In the last 18 years, we spent less than $500 a year for the family (we have five children). We saved a great deal by purchasing used curricula and we don’t have to buy school uniforms or back-to-school clothing. Sometimes they even do their schoolwork in their pajamas. The cost went down, considerably, once we had the complete core curriculum for all 12 grades.
A homeschooling mom tells the following story: Her daughter wanted to attend public high school and she agreed. Her daughter would soon begin her eighth grade year and asked to start public school in the fall. Mom’s response? Let’s spend this year getting you ready for the demands of high school. First, school starts at 7:20 a.m. — not 9, 10 or even 11 — but 7:20 every single school morning. We’ll practice waking up early this year.
I remember being a teen and staying up late hours to finish my homework and then wake-up tired the next day. Homeschoolers finish their schoolwork as part of their normal school day. Bedtime is consistent and allows them to receive their needed rest.
Other advantages of flexibility
You can teach at your child’s level of understanding (not grade level).
Homeschooling doesn’t have to take place in your home. The world is your classroom where you can find history, math, language arts, literature, foreign languages, physical education, health, science, economics and many, many more lessons everywhere you go.
You are the teacher
Children look up to their parents for guidance and learn more when their parents are involved. Homeschooled children learn in a positive environment by their favorite teacher; you. One-on-one learning allows you to adjust your teaching methods to meet the individual learning styles of your children without detracting from their lessons.
Your children learn independence
The story is told of a boy, Mark, who was eager to please his art teacher. She showed them how to draw a tulip and asked them to draw it. He worked hard and presented her with his interpretation. She corrected him and sent him back to his seat. The next lesson she showed them a rose. He worked hard and she corrected him. The last lesson required them to draw a sunflower. At the end of class, she asked Mark why his paper was still blank. He responded, “You didn’t tell me how to draw it.”
As our children grew and worked through their lessons, they depended less on me and more on themselves. In the beginning I worked with them through their lessons and helped them learn the new concepts. As they’ve grown older, they use what I taught them and do their lessons on their own. Now they come to me when they don’t understand and we work together until they do.
They are the record keepers, correctors and lesson planners. I’m there to guide them, make sure they complete their lessons and continue to learn. I step in when they are lax and calm them when stressed. I help them with their options and offer some they can’t see.
Socialization and homeschooling
There are many opportunities for socialization for homeschooled kids. Peer pressure is less since they spend time with others their age in sports and other extracurricular activities that have common goals. They mingle with adults during their learning experiences and learn social behaviors. Each summer our kids look forward to summer camp, where they, even at their young age, are camp volunteers. The camp counselors know they can depend on them.
Don’t think you can’t home-school. We didn’t know what we were doing when we started, but we followed our instincts, learned from other homeschoolers and grew along with our children.