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Benefits of Homeschooling in 2022 and Beyond


As a parent, you want the best for your children, and this includes their education. Some parents assume that homeschooling requires superhuman patience or a special degree, but it is not as hard as you think to provide your child a quality education. Although homeschooling may not work for everyone, there are academic benefits, plus a whole lot more. 

Individualized Instruction

Even in a private school, it can be difficult for teachers to consider individual needs. Homeschooling offers the opportunity for education that is tailored to the student’s age and ability. Homeschooled students can proceed at their own pace and master each step at their own rate. 

Homeschooling is an ideal choice for children with special needs because their unique requirements can be completely accommodated. Another homeschooling benefit is the ability to teach around each child’s learning style. This can happen whether the student is learning to count by fives, studying science, or reading the classics. Experts generally recognize three basic types of learning styles

  1. Visual learning style. Visual learners make up around 60-65% of the population, and these students prefer visuals like diagrams, symbols, graphs, and charts. 
  2. Auditory learning style. Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population, and they absorb material best by hearing it. They tend to read aloud and do well in oral discussions. 
  3. Kinesthetic learning style. Kinesthetic or tactile learners make up around 5% of the population. They learn best by doing: touching, experimenting, moving, or some kind of physical activity.  

Choice of Curriculum

When parents are able to choose a curriculum for their children, they can select material that connects with their educational goals, religious beliefs, and family interests. Parents can add subjects that will challenge and interest their children, or fill in gaps where they need more tutoring. How do you choose the right curriculum for your students? Consider these tips:

  1. Set a price limit.
  2. Outline your homeschooling goals.
  3. Choose material that supports your child’s learning style.
  4. Try a sample lesson from the publisher.
  5. Don’t be afraid to change what doesn’t work.

Flexible School Schedule 

Most children struggle to function at their best when they are required to sit all day in a classroom. Homeschooling provides a flexible schedule and learning environment. With homeschooling, there are no snow days, teacher conferences, or pandemic cancellations. Your family academy can stay in session all year long, with summer mini-courses, swimming lessons, and county fair art projects that can be added to a rich and varied curriculum.

However, our family’s homeschool days are typically spent doing what looks like “normal school.” I say that to emphasize that homeschooling is not an excuse to neglect education in favor of games, free time, and outdoor play. Homeschooling allows families to supplement their academic learning with excellent, non-traditional educational opportunities such as:

  • Travel
  • Family business
  • Serving and ministry
  • Community involvement
  • Art, science, and writing contests
  • Field trips
  • Entrepreneurship

Variety of Educational Approaches

Homeschooling allows an educational approach that works best for your family since you can mix and match what works best for each learner. Here is a sampling of educational approaches, although some are more popular than others. You may enjoy further research on these unique educational styles: 

Traditional Homeschooling

This is the most common educational approach, and it mirrors the traditional classroom model. Students that work with this approach often follow textbooks and use workbooks and worksheets. 

Unit Studies

Wrapping your studies around a certain theme or topic is called the unit study approach. Typically, a unit study will incorporate many subjects such as art, science, language, and more. Unit studies can be used all the time or a few times throughout the year, which provides for a creative break from other bookwork. Because unit study curriculums are a great way to teach a multi-aged group, our family of 13 has enjoyed many unit study projects, including:

  • World Continents. Older students write reports and create maps, and younger students trace cardboard continents on paper and read engaging picture books about the people who live in faraway places. Everyone memorizes the 7 continents and learns the difference between city, state, country, and continent.
  • Rivers. Older students study river habitats, compare world rivers, and learn vocabulary. Younger students make maps with construction paper, tackle beginning reader books, and everyone enjoys a field trip to the local lock and dam.
  • The Science of Flight. Older students document the science of flight, write reports on aviation pioneers and create airplane diagrams. Younger students learn how flight works, study nature’s flying creatures and learn related spelling words. Everyone creates flight-savvy paper airplanes and watches a movie about history’s heroes of flight.

Classical Homeschooling

Classical homeschooling has been around for a long time, and this style involves a three-part approach to education. Its roots go back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance and may involve formal studies of subjects like Latin and logic. 

Unschooling

This approach is not the absence of schoolwork. Instead, unschooling is an approach that essentially gives some or most choices of what to learn directly to the student. Are they interested in science? Art? Horticulture? Writing? Unschooling tends to allow the students to direct their learning through what they love.

Road-schooling

Road-schooling happens when families take their homeschooling on the go. Although it is not for everyone, this approach may offer some unique educational opportunities.

World-schooling

Some families have the finances to travel, and the world becomes their classroom. This can bring unique and amazing learning niches for families that are able to try it.

Eclectic Approach

Blend a few different approaches that work for you, and you have an eclectic homeschool. This is very common and it can be a great way to accommodate the varying needs of your children.

Montessori 

Famous historical educator Maria Montessori had some solid philosophies about the educational development of young learners, and they are still used and loved today.

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

Charlotte Mason was a famous British educator who believed in the ample use of quality books, outdoor exploration, use of art and music, journaling, and copy work to develop a well-balanced student. 

Waldorf Homeschooling

Rudolf Steiner focused his educational theories on the place of a child within the natural world and global community. His ideas were that preschoolers should be given creative, active play with hands-on learning, an elementary school should introduce academic instruction and expand the imagination, and high school instruction should focus on empathy, critical thinking, and community service. 

Positive Socialization

One of the biggest objections to homeschooling is the concern about socialization. According to the dictionary, socialization is: “the action of mixing socially with others” or “the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.”

Every parent wants their child to interact normally with other people, and some people think that home education:

  • isolates children 
  • hinders kids from making friends
  • prevents kids from learning approved social behaviors

This concern might be warranted if you were homeschooling your child on a remote iceberg in Antarctica, without the benefit of any other human interaction or internet access.

Instead, homeschooling:

  • offers a large variety of socialization opportunities
  • tends to produce children who are not peer-dependent
  • creates individuals with strong social skills
  • establishes young people who can interact with many age groups

A study published in the Peabody Journal of Education reported that homeschooled children tend to associate with all kinds of people, show healthy self-esteem, display maturity, and demonstrate excellent leadership skills. The side benefit of homeschooling is the lack of negative socialization in the form of peer pressure, bullying, and damaging social hierarchy that students experience in the public school environment.

Without negative social drama, students can actually focus on learning.

Character and Values

It is no secret that the public school system carries its own values and agenda, and these often do not mesh with the faith-based convictions of some families. Homeschooling offers parents a solid influence in their child’s life that would otherwise be given to the school professionals and classmates. Parents can spend time watching and shaping valuable character in their children.

Let’s face it: when children attend a traditional school, they are out of the home most of the day. For better or worse, their character is being shaped by their teachers and peers. When they get home, how much time of the day is left to notice, much less mold character in children? Another benefit of homeschooling is that it lets parents model, discuss, and train good character and values all day long through everything they do with their children. 

Strong Family Relationships

Homeschooling a lively bunch of little ones can be challenging, and there are good days and bad days. (Potty training toddlers while juggling history lessons at the peak of my pregnancy comes to mind.) However, the strong bond that forms by being your child’s teacher is unparalleled:

  • The parent gets the joy of sharing knowledge, support, assistance, and encouragement through the years of study.
  • The parent knows exactly what the child is learning.
  • Key concepts get woven into everything you do together.
  • Sibling relationships benefit since students are not separated by age and peer group.
  • Everyone can learn together and each person brings something different to the table.
  • The basic school schedule is essentially the same for everyone, allowing a family to easily plan and participate together in field trips, travel, and extracurricular events. 

Academic Excellence 

Studies have shown that homeschooled students often perform better academically than their peers in public school, and tend to score 15 to 30 points higher in standardized testing. Homeschool graduates typically gain higher GPA scores in college and persevere through their college studies longer. Increasingly, home-educated students are being sought after by colleges, who modify their policies and practices to welcome homeschoolers into the admission process.

Productive and Happy Adults

Experts have conducted research on how homeschooled kids turn out as adults. Reports show that a group of 5,000 adults who were home educated for more than seven years were more active socially and more visible in the community than their public schooled peers. A large portion of the group went on to higher education and also rated noticeably high on the happiness scale. 

Hidden Benefits

In addition to the major benefits listed above, there are dozens of hidden benefits that are unique to each family. When homeschooling families list all the little benefits they enjoy, they really add up! Some of these include:

  • sleeping later if your body needs to
  • living most life hours with the people who love you most
  • taking vacations in the off-season
  • scheduling appointments during school hours
  • no packed lunches or running for the bus
  • savings on school supplies
  • no comparing with what the other kids have
  • no school fundraisers
  • finishing school early if you are sick or need a break
  • kids with special needs receive personalized help all day long
  • you have the same teacher every year who knows your track record
  • school is flexible and mobile
  • no bullies or cliques
  • kids can be active off and on all day long

FAQs – Homeschooling

Homeschool guidelines and restrictions vary by state.

How does homeschooling work?

Learning at home looks different for each individual family. It is important to start by looking at your state’s requirements to stay within the law. Some states have relaxed requirements, and some states require more. Once you have researched your state’s guidelines, you can start looking for a curriculum. 

How do I choose a homeschool curriculum?

There are dozens of high-quality textbooks and curriculum packages,  and the most important thing to remember is to choose a curriculum that you will use. Most companies who sell homeschool curriculum allow you to view pages and samples of their material online.

Will my high school student be able to go to college?

Colleges are increasingly recognizing the benefits of welcoming homeschooled students into their institutions. They are typically motivated, persistent and well-rounded students. 

Can I homeschool if I am a single parent?

Yes, many single parents homeschool their children.

Do I need a teaching degree to homeschool my children?

No, you do not need a teaching degree to homeschool your children. 

Is homeschooling more effective than public school?

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has reported that homeschool students achieve a 30% higher GPA than public school students and an average of 15-30% higher grades. 

Can I homeschool my preschooler?

Preschool is one of the best times to homeschool your child and get them off to a great start. They can learn their ABCs, how to write their name and other basics. Homeschooling at the preschool level should include learning through lots of play and hands-on exploration. 

Homeschooling your child with special needs is a great option because even if you are not a special education teacher, you are an expert on your child. Homeschool guidelines vary by state and resources and support for special needs education is readily available. 

How many hours a day should I homeschool my child?

A normal homeschool day typically takes less time than a traditional public school day. Although it is different for every family, it may take around one to three hours a day for elementary students, three hours for middle schoolers, and three to four hours a day for high school students. 

How can I teach subjects when I am not an expert? 

For the elementary levels, you can use a textbook with a teacher’s guide, which will give you all of the guidance you need. When your child starts high school,  you can reach out and join local homeschool groups, networks and seek online homeschool support. Remember that it is not expert academic authority that makes a successful homeschooling parent. Reports say that one-on-one learning and simple parental involvement are two of the most crucial components for success. 

How can my children participate in extracurricular activities?

Homeschooling families often use the morning for subjects like math, science, social studies, and language, which leaves the afternoons for music, art, sports, and other activities. 

What are the health benefits of homeschooling?

When parents were asked about the mental, emotional, and physical health benefits of homeschooling, they answered:

  • less stress 
  • reduced exposure to germs
  • healthier food options at home
  • ample sleep and regular meals
  • less junk food
  • healthier self-esteem
  • sense of family nurture
  • more positive interactions with siblings

Can I homeschool with an online school program provided by my school district?

There can be confusion about the differences between online public and private school programs. The important thing to consider is who is in charge of your child’s education. An online school with funding from the state is a public online school. Online classes chosen by the student would qualify as online homeschooling. Programs offered by public schools generally do not allow flexibility in curriculum choice or personalized learning.

How do I find homeschooling support?

Facebook is one place to find support in your local area.

Is homeschooling expensive?

Every family has a unique school situation, and costs vary. Most homeschooling families purchase online or offline curriculums along with other books and education supplies. In our family, buying secondhand books and using the local library has cut down on the cost of homeschooling.

Book and Documentary Recommendations

Homeschooling and Working While Shaping Amazing Learners by LM Preston
Homeschooling for College Credit: A Parent’s Guide to Resourceful High School Planning by Jennifer Cook DeRosa
The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole
The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades by Judith C. Hochman
Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori McWilliam Pickert
Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World by Deborah Reber
Homeschooling: You CAN Do It!: Eliminate self-doubt and get the clarity, confidence, and skills you need to successfully teach your children from home by Kirsten McTernan
Weirdos: A Homeschool Documentary

Takeaways From a 25-Year Homeschool Mom

Before we were married, my husband and I planned to homeschool.  Neither of us was homeschooled ourselves, but we saw the value of it and watched other homeschooling families. However, planning to homeschool is not the same as doing it, and there were plenty of surprises along the way. Looking back over 25 years of homeschooling, some of the biggest takeaways are the following five things:

  1. Formal training is not a homeschooling requirement. My husband and I both have teaching degrees, but formal training does not have a lot to do with homeschooling success. In fact, sometimes this training gets in the way.  
  2. Every year, I make mistakes. After many years of homeschooling, I still make mistakes every year, but every new school year is a blank slate. I try to remember my mistakes from the past year and change things up to make the new year a better experience for everyone.
  3. The teacher learns alongside her students.  I never knew I would finally learn all of the world histories I never learned in public school (and love it.)
  4. I cannot teach my children every fact in the universe. No student, whether learning at a public, private or home-based school, will master every concept or fact that there is to know. (That’s why we have Google.)
  5. There was one important concept we tried to impart to our children throughout their homeschool education:

    Fall in love with learning…and keep doing it the rest of your life!

Conclusion

Homeschooling has become extremely popular in recent years. Many parents are concerned about the lack of moral training in public schools, worry about school safety, or would like to take responsibility for their child’s education. If you are a parent who is considering homeschooling, there are more resources and support than ever before. This includes help with curriculum, record keeping, legal issues, concerns about educating students with special needs, and much more. Families who see the benefits are wise to seriously consider homeschooling this year and beyond.

Sources

  1. (PDF) Styles of Learning VAK, www.researchgate.net
  2. https://www.stetson.edu/artsci/psychology/media/medlin-socialization-2013.pdf, www.stetson.edu
  3. http://i.bnet.com/blogs/homeschool.pdf, i.bnet.com
  4. Homeschool Laws By State, hslda.org
  5. HSLDA…, hslda.org

Lisa Luciano    

Lisa is a homeschooling mom, freelance writer and Etsy shop owner. She and her husband have eleven children and live in the Midwest. When she's not cooking for a crowd, Lisa loves reading, thrift-shopping and walking circles around the family's rural property.



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