According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1999 there were 850,000 homeschooled children in the United States. The number grew to 1.1 million in 2003. In 2007, the number of homeschooled children grew to 1.5 million. As can be seen from the statistics, the momentum for homeschooling has been significantly increasing.
Although the statistics indicate that homeschooling is becoming a much more popular societal concept, this does not mean that this style of teaching is right for every child or family. Here are some things that parents should consider before saying yes to this type of education for their kids.
1. Cost – In the same study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, it was discovered that families with an annual income of more than $25,000 have a higher rate of homeschooled children. However, this does necessarily indicate that homeschooling is only for higher income families. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the lowest possible cost of this type of education is $500 per student per years while the range is between $440 -1000 per student per year.
2. Morals and Religion – As of today, the most common reason why parents choose this type of education is to provide their children with moral and religious guidance. Considering that the majority of families who choose this type of education are Christians, it can be difficult to find a curriculum for non-christian families.
3. Socialization – Socialization is defined as the introduction of new things, people or concepts. In strict homeschooling this can become a problem since the child does not have the opportunity to interact with other students or people. This can make it more difficult for these kids to make new friends and recognize social norms.
4. Planning – Parents should become aware of the different teaching paradigms that they can use on their kids.
5. Outdoor activities – Children need to play outside and experience the world around them. This is why, aside from preparing lesson plans, parents should also be able to plan for field trips and other outdoor activities with their kids.
6. News and Current Events – Parents who are planning to be the teacher of their kids should know how to discuss relevant news and current events with their kids since doing so helps expand their children’s horizons. They should also learn how to filter out information that their kids might not be able to comprehend because of their age.
7. Special Education – Children with special needs should be taught using a specific teaching paradigm which introduces subjects such as math and English in a different manner. This paradigm can be hard to follow for parents who have little to no experience when it comes to special education.
8. Learning Ability – Some kids benefit from the help of formally trained teachers in order to understand certain subjects. Formally trained teachers are sometimes better equipped in different approaches that can help a student understand a specific subject better.
9. Willingness of the Child – If the child is not comfortable with being homeschooled, it may become harder for them to grasp the subjects that are being taught at home.
10. Household setting – A conducive learning environment is a must for children. Parents are encouraged to set up a classroom-setting inside the house which includes a table, chair and other necessities.
11. Time – Some parents believe that spending an hour or two a day teaching kids is sufficient even though this is less than the typical number of hours that kids spend in a school. However, homeschooling still requires a lot of non-teaching relted time since parents need to plan the curriculum, activities, meals and other aspects of the child’s education.
12. Commitment – Since providing this type of education requires a great investment of time, prospective homeschool parents should understand this fact. Sending a child back to a regular school after a parent attempts and decides against homeschooling will take some adjustment for the child.
13. Siblings – Teaching three or more kids at a time can be stressful especially if their age gap is more than two years since parents will need to develop specific and different curriculums that will suit the age of each child.
14. Consent of Both Parents – Both parents should agree to this setup in order to avoid sending mixed signals to the kids and to avoid marital conflicts due to this type of education.
15. Parent and Child Relationship – Kids who are too close with their parents might have a more difficult time seeing them as a teacher while parents who prioritize teaching may end up being emotionally distant from their kids.
Analyzing these factors will definitely make it easier for parents to discover if teaching academic subjects at home is right for their kids. However, this is not where the list ends. Parents should also be aware of the factors specific to their own children that can affect the efficiency of this type of teaching method.
Kimberly Lawson. Kimberly Lawson is the director of marketing at www.Boostapal.com. Boostapal is a website where teenagers earn money when their family does their everyday shopping online.
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