Is Homeschooling in Your Future?

by Kelsey Norwood

in Education, Media, & Literacy

library books

Many aspects of the public school system concern me and have encouraged me to search for educational alternatives for my children. I have one son who is not yet of school age, but the time to research and discover alternatives is now so I can prepare for whatever my decision happens to be.

Our home state of Utah recently voted on vouchers for schools, which I voted in favor of. The measure did not pass, unfortunately, so our next alternative is homeschooling. I like the idea of having more control over my child’s education and being able to adapt teaching methods and practices to conform to individual children’s needs. I believe that public schools would like to offer a more individualized educational experience for children, but the resources are just not there. As a mother, I am highly invested in my children’s educations and believe that homeschooling is a great option.

I’ve talked with a number of homeschool parents and have heard some great ideas, discussed as follows.

Involve the Community

A favorite idea is to get community members to come teach about a certain topic. For example, invite a war veteran to teach history, a journalist to teach writing, a small business owner to teach economics, a nurse to teach health, an artist to teach art history.

Involving the community is an excellent idea and can open kids up to career possibilities. This is something I wish I had had in my schooling experience, more opportunities to interact with people actually doing what I thought I wanted to do. Inviting others to come teach is a great idea because it takes some pressure off the parent and opens kid’s minds to the possibilities available to them.

Alternate Between Home and Public School

A mother I know homeschooled but only for certain grades. Her kids went in and out of public school depending on their individual needs. She homeschooled for the early grade school years because she felt that she could teach her children reading and other fundamentals more effectively that the teacher of an overcrowded classroom.

I spent a year substitute teaching all grades, and grade school was the most difficult. I don’t know how teachers can teach anything with all the babysitting that has to go on. With 25 seven year olds in a small room, teaching anything is very difficult. Many of these frazzled teachers come up with anything to keep the children occupied, so learning often suffers.

This mother would send her children to public school for the late elementary school years and then take them out again through junior high. She felt that since junior high is such an awkward and awful time for many kids they would be better off at home for those few years. Her children would then go to public high school.

Participate in Sports and Music Programs

One great thing about public school is the extracurricular programs like sports and music. Homeschooled kids should have the opportunity to participate in band and sports teams at the public school since homeschooling doesn’t provide for those types of groups. Sports and music are an important part of a child’s “education.”

Create Homeschool Groups

Many people are concerned about the social impact of homeschooling, and the practical solution is to homeschool together with other families, creating a small social network for children to learn how to interact with others.

Organize Field Trips

Homeschooling really facilitates field trips. With small groups and no legal limitations, parents are free to take their children pretty much anywhere to do some on site learning.

A large-scale idea is to take a few months, if individual family circumstances allow, and travel to visit the American history sites. The mother I referred to above did this with her family, and her children still remember and talk about the things they learned on that trip. When kids can use their senses to learn things, they’ll remember better. Being at the places rather than just talking about them makes a huge difference.

Final Thoughts

The thing I love about homeschooling is that it gives parents the opportunity to create unique and personal learning experiences where children can see and touch and feel the things they’re learning about, rather than just hearing. My favorite saying that I’ve heard homeschool parents use is, “Don’t let public school get in the way of your child’s education.”

Like I said, I think there’s a place for both home and public school in the educational career of a child, but some things are better off being taught at home where they can be more personalized and real, with less wasted time and busy work. As a mother, I want the best possible education for my children, so homeschooling is probably in our future.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Crystal February 5, 2008 at 11:56 am

Nice article. We are homeschooling for a lot of reasons, some stated above. This makes a good article for all first time homeschoolers, or those who are thinking about it. Thanks.

2 Homestead Mama February 6, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Great points and I think in the end it illustrates well the overall point that homeschool = choice. Each homeschool family looks and feels different. It is nice to have those choices!

Your comments about socialization caught my eye – as that was my major concern at first (as it is with a lot of people) – but after some reading and thought – my idea about socialization is much diffent now.

3 Liz February 7, 2008 at 11:54 pm

I just wanted to add that there are sooo many resources out there already once you start looking. My oldest daughter will be “school age” next year. I’ve known since birth (or maybe before) I wanted to homeschool. (Should I mention I am a former public school teacher? This has definitely played a huge roll.) I’ve recently started doing some major research on the subject. I am pleased to find out there are huge resources, groups (both church and secular based), etc. in my area. Seek and ye shall find…

4 JHS February 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Good morning:

Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family life, hosted at Health Plans Plus!

For many of the reasons listed here, both of my kids have, over the years, attended private schools. Alternately, my oldest went into public school but in the gifted and talented program where many of the classroom problems of traditional classrooms are avoided.

Be sure to stop by the Carnival tomorrow and check out the other wonderful entries!

JHS
Colloquium

5 Helene Zemel February 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Some good points about homeschooling. I homeschooled my now Junior College daughter from 7th through 12th grade. It was the best thing that we ever did. Her early public school experience was horrendous, but when she had to take the community college placement tests she scored with flying colors. We were able to concentrate on her weak area (math) while still finding plenty of time for foreign language study, science, geography, history, music and art. We had some interesting field trips and our local homeschooling group provided good socialization as well as field trips.

6 Beverley Paine February 29, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Many of the homeschooling parents I have met over our two decades of homeschooling experience have shared that they too feel the need to have some control over the direction and content of their children’s education beyond what schools will allow.

We participated in an alternative school that allowed considerable parental input but found it to be too much of a compromise. There are management and organisational issues that can’t be avoided and take up considerable time in the school learning environment that can be completely eliminated in the home. Plus home education often occurs as much in the community than it does in the home.

The wonderful thing about being in control of our children’s education was that by the time there were in their early teens they had taken over that control and become self-directed and self-motivated learners.

cheers
Beverley Paine
http://homeschoolaustralia.com
http://alwayslearningbooks.com.au

7 Robyn August 27, 2008 at 1:45 pm

This was great. my husband and I have been toying and researching the idea of homeschooling the past couple of years and are trying to still make a decision. I see so many positive AND negatives in BOTH. It was nice to hear some more perspective on it all. MOre thinking to still do…Thanks!

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