There are lots of reasons to homeschool. But there are probably four times as many advantages to homeschooling. Many parents who make this beneficial decision do so without giving much thought to the long-term advantages, especially those who remove their children from public school due to safety concerns. Others make the decision long before their children reach compulsory attendance age, but they still might not be looking at the advantages they’ll see culminating by high school.
Strictly speaking, you don’t have to know all the advantages before embarking on this adventure. On the other hand, it’s nice to get an idea of some of the great things you have to look forward to! Besides, when those who don’t understand homeschooling begin to scold or chide you (and you should know, that’s bound to happen at least a time or two, especially when you announce your decision), it’s good to have some positivity to share with them about their “concerns” for YOUR child.
Advantages For Homeschooling Right From The Start
There’s a difference between homeschooling because you’ve made an educated decision right from the beginning, and homeschooling because you felt like you had to. I’ve spoken with a lot of parents who have seen, through nieces, nephews, or friends, the results of what a public school can do to children, especially these days. As you probably know, we’ve come a long way from the days when talking and chewing gum were the main offenses in any given classroom. Now, parents often send their children off on the school bus with great fear in their heart, and for good reason.
In reality, any time you choose to homeschool your child is a great time. Even pulling them out of public school later is better than not pulling them out at all. Some parents, myself included, simply have no foundation in homeschooling and don’t even consider it an option until later. I was in that group. Sometimes something happens that changes your whole perspective on the situation and that’s when you really start to research. It’s all about coming to the knowledge of the truth.
Advantages In Curriculum and Resources
There’s no doubt about it - your child will receive an excellent education through homeschooling. Working with your child’s strengths, interests, passions, and dreams will create a well-rounded person by the time they graduate high school. It may take some trial and error, but because you are the expert on your child’s abilities, you’ll be able to find the homeschooling style that brings out the best in them. And isn’t that what education is supposed to do? I think sometimes we forget that we shouldn’t be as concerned about “keeping up with the Jones” when it comes to our children. After all, what if making your child line up with the general standard is a few steps down from where their own abilities and talents would have them be? Should we still be as intent to dumb them down as public school works so hard to do? I think not.
To help with achieving that excellent education, you’ll have access to some of the finest resources and curriculum available. Especially for those homeschoolers who implement Christian values in their coursework, faith-based curriculum choices can make a world of difference for your child. Helping them achieve a solid grounding in their faith is likely the BEST education you can give them, and there are plenty of resources for doing just that. This is in sharp contrast to the evolution and pseudo-science that is taught as fact in many public schools today. Having the option to inculcate our own values and truths with regard to Creation, science and astrology, family values, and so much more is incredibly liberating when there are no substandard theories to contend with.
There are plenty of ways to utilize your time effectively while homeschooling as well, which can lead to a more thorough expounding of any subject. Instead of shuffling between classes, waiting for the teacher to be ready to teach, waiting for other classmates to settle down, and a host of other “time-wasters,” the homeschooled child can flow quickly and easily from one subject or activity right into the next. For those who utilize Unit Studies or Lapbooks, it’s even easier, and you can accomplish far more learning in much less time. It goes even further when your child takes an interest in these studies and begins to utilize their own time to learn more.
Independent learning, which can occur at any age, is much more likely to happen for homeschooled children. If you’re working on something they love or something that truly sparks their interest, chances are they’re going to continue studying on that subject long after “class time” is over. This leads to better decision-making skills, organization, and time management, just to name a few. All of these things are just as beneficial throughout life as they are in the homeschool setting, so if “life lessons” is a subject you’re teaching, you’re definitely covering more than one base at a time.
One of the things I enjoyed most was being able to teach my daughter many things she would never have learned in the public-school setting. Home economics in public school is nothing like it used to be, but it’s something I dived into wholeheartedly with my daughter and she loved it. We thoroughly covered banking, savings, mortgages, credit cards and debt, as well as how to properly fill out job applications properly and write a resume. I wanted my child to be thoroughly equipped for “real life” especially since she showed no interest in college. Her focus is on more practical things, and if that’s who she is, I don’t want to try to force her to be anything else.
It’s Easier To Deal With Social Structure and Peer Pressure
Your homeschooled child is far more likely to be influenced by positive adults than by negative peer-pressure. In fact, who better to lead your child down a path toward maturity and independence than one who is already mature and independent themselves? Peer-pressure, which has been an issue as far back as we can remember, is nearly non-existent for homeschooled children. The homeschooled child likely accompanies their parents on many everyday excursions that subject them to real-life social scenarios, and these situations vary greatly from the social settings they are forced into in public school. In real-life social scenarios, your children learn respect, boundaries, manners, and how to do good for others, even when there is no benefit to them personally.
In public school, peers often teach one another to lie, cheat, and do many other negative things that can lead to a breakdown within themselves as well as the family unit. That may not always the case, but even those children who are smart enough not to allow peer-pressure to break them are often still negatively impacted by being trapped in the same spaces with 30 to 40 same-age peers for six to eight hours each day.
In addition to everyday activities, there are many other ways in which homeschooled children can experience a variety of positive social interactions. Joining a homeschool group, co-op, or club is a great way to explore interests, learn new things, and simply find common ground with others like you. Taking classes for music, dance, gymnastics, or even cooking can be both fun and engaging. Attending church camps or summer camps is a great experience at any age. For a wonderful experience in learning to serve, volunteer options abound as well. Consider allowing your older children to volunteer at those same camps, soup kitchens, or a local hospital.
With so many opportunities, you might be surprised to find that your homeschooled child has more than twice the amount of social interaction opportunities than the average public-schooled child. And generally speaking, this is exactly how homeschool families want to live. Not in isolation, as it is usually supposed.
I can’t leave the topic of social interaction without mentioning the improved relationships of homeschooled children with their parents and siblings. There are many ways in today’s world where children in public school are instilled with the idea that their parents simply do not know best. You don’t have to give a child very much to go on to make them doubt things, and this is a very slippery slope. Once the trust is broken between a child and their parents, it can be hard to overcome. Not impossible, but still a challenge, especially when peer pressure compounds the issue.
The mindset of entitlement is rampant and is backed up by both spoiled children and adults who teach rewards should exist for everything from behaving for a whole school day and making good grades to not cursing and bullying other students. The truth is, these situations deserve no reward. These things are the expected actions of a decent human being. To teach otherwise is to create a volatile social structure that is doomed from the start. It is a pleasure to see homeschoolers who turn their backs on this model DAILY.
It’s a Better Environment for Your Special Needs Child
Anyone with a special-needs child knows that structure, routine, and certain other changes in daily routine can be a must. In the education setting, special needs children are often the ones left behind the fastest. While that may not be the intended outcome, there is simply NO VIABLE WAY to educate each and every special-needs student to the extent that benefits them the most. You would literally need one teacher per child because no two disabled children are the same. Even teaching two autistic children can be like night and day. One might be severely autistic and nonverbal, while the other might be high-functioning with severe sensory disorder or CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder).
The fact is, ANY special need is lumped into the same classification in public school The severely autistic child may sit right beside someone with Down’s Syndrome, a child with brain trauma, or someone who has been diagnosed with dyslexia. And although each child has a mandated IEP (Individualized Education Plan), this still allows children to fall through cracks on a daily basis.
You’re likely to be told that homeschooling your child is a “burden” or that you don’t deserve to have to deal with a “differently-abled” child around the clock. But these are the same people who have no problem lumping them all into one class and treating them like cattle. You are your child’s one true hope when it comes to special needs and academics. Your child can go farther and accomplish more than they will EVER be able to do as a result of public school.
When my high-functioning autistic child was in elementary school, I was told to get an early start in choosing an institution for him so I wouldn’t have to carry that burden throughout my lifetime. I was constantly reminded of all the things “he would never be able to do.” However, that very child they said all that about is, as of this writing, a wonderfully functioning young man with a driver’s permit and a great work ethic. If you don’t know him personally, and know well, you might not even suspect that he has special needs. And that’s just the way I wanted it to be!
The Ability Freely To Schedule Family Events
Amidst all the academic and social advantages of homeschooling, there are also advantages that lean more to fun and leisure, including the opportunity to schedule vacation time on a whim. Especially for those who homeschool year-round, there is certainly something to be said for the ability to take a vacation at any time during the year. Certain months will bring seasonal discounts, cheaper hotel and travel rates, and offer the ability to see new places without the massive crowds of people who could only be there because the public school schedule allowed for it.
Vacations are fun, but you must also remember that these outings, which can be lengthy if you choose, are excellent homeschooling opportunities. If you’re traveling to a place that has historical significance, that’s even better. There will be great opportunities for learning, even when you don’t actively announce that that’s what’s happening. Travel time between destinations can be spent discussing where you’re going or where you’ve been, and it provides an excellent time for notetaking, photography, mapping, and so much more.
If you’re one of the many people who travel great distances to be with the family during the holidays, homeschooling means you can leave earlier and stay longer, which has many great benefits. You don’t have to rush, you’ll beat the “public-school” traffic, and you’ll have as long as you want to enjoy being with your family and friends. Homeschooling is as mobile as you are, and if you need to take time to homeschool while on holiday, you’ll enjoy the new setting as much as the freedom, so take full advantage.
Other Assorted Advantages of Homeschooling At Any Age
I could probably write an entire book if I covered every single advantage of homeschooling in great detail. Even then, I still might not cover many of the advantages that will be unique to your homeschooling experience. There are many others though, and here is a touch on just a few that still come to mind.
Getting to spend quality time with your kids is one of the biggest joys from my homeschooling days. I always cringed (and still do) every time I see some random parent on Facebook talking about how GLAD they are that school is back in session. I can’t IMAGINE wanting to be free of my children, or worse still, letting my children SEE ME not wanting to have them near me. It might seem odd to some, but I was thrilled, more than most, to be with my children.
Playtime isn’t just for “recess” and it shows. There might be a reason we see more diagnoses’ of things like ADD and ADHD in the public-school setting. When I was a child, we spent all of our time after school and homework playing outside. Running, playing tag, hide-and-seek, or some other random game, tending farm animals, learning to drive tractors and dump trucks, and don’t even get me started about Daddy’s pickle patch! These days, in sharp contrast, most children have all the latest devices, game systems, and laptops and spend all their free time sitting, staring at a screen, and forgetting things like fresh air and sunburns.
Sick days don’t necessarily mean no school. When my daughter wasn’t feeling up to par, we didn’t simply shut down and stop learning. Quite the contrary! It gave us the opportunity to read aloud, watch documentaries and other programs that answered all the questions she didn’t have time for otherwise. It allowed us to have deep and meaningful conversations about life after school and what her dreams and aspirations are. These are things you simply can’t write into a lesson plan, so take advantage of them!
And last but not least, my children were safer at home than at school. No one in our home ever told my daughter to kill herself because she was such an awful human. But they did at public school. No one ever shoved my daughter into the floor at home and cursed and called her names. But they did at public school. And what’s more, she was out of that environment before I ever had to worry about the danger of transgendered showers and locker rooms. Homeschooling means your children have the opportunity to miss a great deal of the moral decline happening across American, and it’s worth an extra few hours of planning on your Saturday afternoon if it means keeping your children safe.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at the specific advantages of homeschooling your child through the early years, so be sure to check back for that.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons in general to homeschool your child. And attending one of our Great Homeschool Conventions is a great way truly to equip yourself to do so. Meet other homeschooling parents and children, hear from a great variety of speakers, personally examine all the homeschool curriculum options available, and take part in your community of fellow homeschoolers.
We offer seven regional conventions, which means there should be one near you. If you find that you have to travel, we’ve arranged for hotel discounts that can give you some relief. We also offer military discounts and free admission for active members of the clergy.
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And remember, our Great Homeschool Conventions are: Equipping… Encouraging… FUN!