More parents than ever are opting to homeschool their children for all or part of their primary education. In fact, in 2003 approximately 1.1 million students were educated at home in the United States; this is up just about 75% from 1999. A decade ago, homeschoolers were primarily those who opposed public or private schools for religious reasons but now homeschoolers are as diverse as their public educating neighbors and friends!
Why do people homeschool?
The reasons that parents choose to homeschool are as varied as the parents, themselves. Additionally, few parents homeschool for only a single reason.People choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons. Some of the popular reasons include:
- The desire to more specifically meet the needs of a child with a learning disability or special needs.
- The desire to challenge a gifted child beyond the capacity that most school districts are able.
- The desire to maintain a healthy and strong bond between child and family.
- To support active learning from life rather than sitting for many hours behind a desk as a passive recipient in the learning process.
- The desire to maintain a healthier type of socialization than is ordinarily offered in schools.
- The desire to escape bullying, harassing or other traumatic experiences.
- To avoid possible physical harm if one lives in an unsafe school district.
- The belief that a parent is more adequately equipped to educate his or her own child than an over-crowded, under-funded school system.
- The desire to let their children grow at their own pace.
- The desire to support an extra-curricular gift or talent such as professional acting, modeling, dance or music.
- The parent’s desire or need to spend time traveling whether for work or pleasure, without separating from the family.
- To give a child a proper religious education, offering academics that are in line with a parent’s spiritual views.
Finally, the evidence is compelling. As a group, homeschooled children score significantly higher than their publicly and privately educated peers on state and national academic tests. Aside from academics, though, homeschoolers are also seen, by many, as more mature and socially capable than their non-homeschooled peers because of their involvement in real life activities across the generations rather than mostly with same-aged peers. Homeschooling is far less expensive than private education. And homeschooled children of actively practicing religious parents are more likely to attend religious services regularly as students.
Homeschooling isn’t for every child or every family but it is quickly becoming an option. No longer do parents feel confined to either public school or private school. Now there is a realistic third option for many.