“I’m new to homeschooling — what can you tell me about it?”
Here’s a brief Question & Answer we’ve put together to address common questions about homeschooling:
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is an educational option in which the parents assume the responsibility for educating their children at home. It is about families loving and learning from one another.
How long has homeschooling been around?
Homeschooling or family-based education has been the primary mode of education for most of recorded history. Institutionalized schooling, while familiar to most of us today, is actually relatively new. In fact, the last compulsory education laws in the United States weren’t passed until 1918. The modern homeschooling movement, which was a return to family-based education, began in the 1960s.
Why do families choose to homeschool?
There are many reasons families choose to homeschool. Academic excellence, physical safety and the desire to pass on the family’s governing values to the children are perhaps the most commonly voiced. Families desire the increased closeness homeschooling brings. Homeschooling maintains the enthusiasm for learning that a child is born with. Homeschooling allows each child to receive individual attention, taking into consideration his own learning style and interests. There are probably as many reasons or combinations of reasons for homeschooling as there are families.
How many families choose homeschooling?
Estimates of homeschooling children vary. Patricia Lines, a federal Department of Education official, in a working paper for the U.S. Department of Education, “Homeschoolers: Estimating Numbers and Growth” concluded that “around 700,000 to 750,000″ children were homeschooled in the 1995-96 school year. Another study done by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) concluded that there were 1.23 million homeschooled children in the United States in the fall of 1996, with an estimated error of measurement of ten percent. Whatever the exact figures, all studies conclude that homeschooling has had a sustained growth rate of 15 to 20% for the last three decades.
Are there different approaches to homeschooling?
Absolutely! There is a whole continuum of homeschooling approaches from something that resembles the structured school classroom to supporting children in pursuing their own interests. It is most typical for parents to combine homeschooling approaches. They might use a textbook for math, a unit study approach combining history, language arts and the social sciences, and a very hands-on approach to science.
What is a typical day like?
There is no typical day. You might be home and crack the books or play games. You might race off to a support group activity. You may take a walk, play some basketball, go grocery shopping or just read a good book. Some parents do a little of each subject every day. Others spend one day on math, another on language arts, and so on. Some families use a planned curriculum and others utilize the library and follow the interests of their children.
How expensive is homeschooling?
It is as expensive as your family wants to make it. Some parents spend thousands of dollars a year investing in complete packaged curriculums accompanied by video instruction. Other families pay almost nothing by using the library and everyday activities like cooking, gardening or a home business as the foundation of instruction, especially in the elementary years.
A decade ago everyone homeschooled for less because there were very few publications, curricula or conferences for homeschoolers. Now there are more products and services available.
Do kids have bad days?
Studies have shown that homeschooled children have fewer behavioral problems than their institutionally-schooled peers. Many families, in fact, are able to recognize and more readily remedy true behavioral situations in a much more timely and effective manner. In the long run, you’ll have fewer bad days if you homeschool.
Does homeschooling provide the same diversity found in public schools?
Yes! Families of different races, socioeconomic backgrounds, and religions homeschool all regularly meet with each other at park days & other outings. The experience is natural and very positive. Homeschooled children also have the opportunity to be out in their community more often, where they meet and observe many different people.
What effect does homeschooling have on public schools? Are you abandoning public education?
Homeschooling creates a healthy competition between itself and public schools by giving parents another choice in educating their children. Monopolies, even in education, are bad for the consumer.
There is sufficient evidence of educational success in the homeschooling movement that we believe public schools are starting to pay attention. We invite them to look at the successful educational ideas within the homeschooling movement and implement their findings to improve the quality of education for all children.