Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Homeschool? Top 10 Reasons

1.       Fulfilling your Responsibility in front of God.  Our children are a blessing, not something to show off on holidays or flaunt on Facebook.  No one loves a child more than his/her father or mother.  And as one homeschooling mom put it, “I don’t trust people who don’t love my children to have their best interest at heart.”   Parents should take full responsibility of the educational development of their child so that they can be certain that their child has been given the best education possible.   They are a blessing from God and we will be asked about what we did to raise them as strong believers and also about what we didn’t do.  Such a responsibility should be put in careful hands.  Public education is a risk not only to your child's education but to their spiriutal development. 

2.       Building Strong Relationships     It’s not uncommon in our society today to find a parent who doesn’t know his or her own children, who they are, what their likes are, or what they’re doing with their “friends” after school even though they live under the same roof.  Homeschooling allows for parents to be much more involved with their children developing stronger relationships and bonds.  As a homeschooling parent it allows you to not only be their parent, but their teacher, their role model, and also their friend.  The child feels you have a greater presence in their life and this helps to develop a strong family.   Additionally relationships between the siblings become stronger whereas brothers and sisters become classmates, teachers of each other, and friends.

3.       Educational Results Standardized testing in my opinion was the nail in the coffin for the educational system, but if you buy into the government system and are concerned with standardized testing then homeschoolers are winning.   But one doesn’t need some research paper to realize that if their 3 year old is reading, that they’ve made the right choice.  From another angle, we might ask what is success, and is a standardized test, or a grade on a report card the best measure.    What if what you’re teaching is outside the bounds of a grade?  How do you measure morality, character, love, and having a strong connection with God?  

4.       Flexibility in Learning Styles Children are not factory produced, and each individual is as unique as a snowflake.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses intellectually.  Children learn in different ways, some excel through visual learning, others through listening, others through physically acting out the process, and others with any combination of the three at varying levels.    Homeschooling allows the parents to cater their teaching style and activities to best suit their child.   The second aspect of this is the speed at which a child learns.  Does it really take 12 years to reach basic Algebra?  In public schools skipping grades can be difficult.  A student may excel in math and be slow in reading, but with the public school system you are forced to march with the masses.  This can force a child to either dumb themselves down or at other times run at a pace they cannot keep.  Homeschooling eradicates this problem allowing the student to go as fast or as slow as they want, in each respective subject.   The third aspect of this is having the ability to allow the student more time in a subject that they excel in, and encouraging their own personal educational interests wherever they may be.

5.       Flexibility in Curriculum Homeschooling isn't just about being home.  The World is our classroom. Need a science lesson?  Go to the aquarium for Biology.  Take a walk in the woods and examine plant and tree types.  Play in the rain after discussing precipitation.  Enroll in a karate class in place of kickball at gym.   With the internet the possibilities are endless.  There are countless educational sites on everything from history, to chemistry, to arts and crafts.  Use YouTube, watch a documentary or a how to editorial.  If you’re dealing with a real prodigy who gets beyond your ability of instruction, use ITunesU where university classes are posted free of charge from you’re local state University up to the ranks of Harvard and Yale.  And if you’re not the “do it yourself” type, you have the freedom to choose a more standard curriculum which has been reviewed and recommended by seasoned homeschooling parents on any one of the many homeschooling blogs or forums.  You can choose what to use and what not to use, along with adding additional material when you see fit.  Overall, you’re in control.

6.       Flexibility in Time 7 hours a day?! Well if you look at the public school as a babysitting center while you’re off chasing your career dreams, then maybe that isn’t such a bad idea.  Public schools are filled with busy work, dragging out curriculums for 12 years, keeping students in line with the syllabus, too much time is wasted and subject matter becomes redundant.  While Strangers are raising our children for such a long time, they could be spending quality time at home and learning in half the time.  A child's concentration may be higher in the afternoon or evening.  Children mature at different ages.  Maybe starting at 5 years old is too late? Why wait if they have the ability to start learning?  It is possible they need to wait until they are 6 or 7 years old.  Individual projects becomes more flexible with homeschool.  If the child wants to keep drawing for 2 hours, when art class at school is only 50 min, let him draw.  Homeschooling allows you the freedom to make a program that best fits your child’s individual needs. 

7.       The Environment is Better There’s no need to argue that public schools have become a catastrophe filled with all sorts of social ills.  In general public schools are centers for exposing children to bullying, cheating, lying, immorality, harassment, substance abuse, violence, labeling, social pressures like having a girlfriend/boyfriend, financial pressure like wearing the latest fashions, and exposing your children to ideas contrary to your values and beliefs.  High school can be absolutely crushing for the child’s self-esteem.  Anyone who has run the gauntlet of the public school system has their fair share of stories.  Critics would argue that your children through homeschooling will become social misfits and outcasts but the reality is the exact opposite.  Homeschooling children are often more exposed to adults than peers allowing them to mature faster, and avoid undesirable behavior problems picked up at recess.  As homeschooling becomes more and more prevalent, group meet-ups, trips, and conferences for homeschooling families increase, allowing your children to meet other homeschooled children and make friends.  Your children will not be in a social vacuum, they will have plenty of social interaction in a positive and safe environment. 

8.       Your own personal development Ask any homeschooling parent and for sure they will tell you that it is a learning experience for them, not just in teaching methods, but in the actual material itself.  It is said the best way to learn something is to teach it, well now you have the opportunity to really further your education and in any subject you want.    Things you’ve always wanted to learn about you can turn into lessons for your children.  Kids are full of questions, there are intuitively inquisitive about every aspect of life and will often ask questions that you may have never given thought to and that you don’t know the answer to, rather than blow them off, go find out the answer to their questions, you learn

9.       Protecting the spiritual development of your child.   It’s not just about saving your child from wasting his time listening to monkeyism (otherwise known as Darwinism).  Due to the separation of church and state in public schools children are lacking in their spiritual education.   Even if I don’t agree with one of the major religions of the world, I want my child to know about it, what they believe and why we don’t.  From our own perspective religion plays a major role in our lives and it affects every aspect of life.  We want to study science through the lens of marveling at the creation of God.   We want teach our pilliars of faith, to be able to teach our child moral values, or say a prayer at the end of a class thanking God, none of which can be achieved through a public school.

10.   The teachers are better Have confidence in yourself!  If you can read, write, complete simple mathematical equations, and love, then you have all the tools needed to teach your child from preschool through high school.  Add on top of that, with the internet and some seasoned homeschoolers to get advice from and you’re on your way. Through a little research you can learn and teach almost any subject that is taught in a public school to the required level if not higher.   Also you have to consider the Student Teacher Ratio.  With budget cuts and lack of funding, classrooms are becoming overcrowded with sometimes 25-30 students per a teacher or even more.    Also don’t assume that some college graduate with a teaching certificate is qualified to teach your child. Often teachers are teaching subjects outside of their specified field of focus.   Another myth of homeschooling is that it is something that only mom and dad do. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no reason why grandparents and aunts and uncles can’t get involved, inviting them to teach subjects with which they are familiar.  A carpentry class with Grandpa, sewing with Grandma, or special math lessons with an uncle who’s an accountant.  Homeschooling, when approached with an open mind opens up opportunities rather than closing them.  Most importantly as teachers you’re there to be your child’s biggest supporter, celebrating each and every success, and encouraging perseverance during difficulties.