Homeschooling 101: What It Is and the Pros & Cons
In recent years homeschooling has been increasing in popularity among many parents. This year in particular, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages through America, more parents are considering the idea of homeschooling their children. At Bellefit, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about homeschooling your kids.
What is Homeschooling?
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, approximately 2 million children are homeschooled in the United States alone. Homeschooling, also known as home education is when children are taught outside of a public or private school environment. Homeschooling does not necessarily mean that the children are being taught in the home, but that the household has control over what they are learning, how they are learning, and when they are learning it.
There are a variety of reasons that parents may decide that homeschooling is the best option for their child. The two most common reasons behind homeschooling are dissatisfaction with local schools and interest in increased involvement with their child’s education.
Dissatisfaction with the local schools can be for multiple reasons including concerns about the school environment, the quality of education, the curriculum, bullying, racism, and the school's ability to cater to their children's special needs.
Some families may choose to homeschool because they dislike the secular nature of public schools and want to include more religious influences in their child’s education. Parents may also be concerned that the school environment does not fit their child's needs. This includes students who have learning disabilities or have special needs.
Interestingly, a study by the National Center for Education Statistics determined that the number of African-American families has risen to 300,000 children. Some of these black families cite their decision as dissatisfaction with the suppression of African-American history/voices in the school curriculum.
Requirements for Homeschooling
There are many questions when it comes to who can homeschool and what is required of them. In the United States, the legal requirements vary from state to state. Some states require nothing for homeschooling. Other states require children to attend standardized tests at certain intervals throughout the year.
Most states have no requirement that a parent has to be a licensed educator or even have a degree in education. If the parent wants to teach them at home all they need is a desire to do so. For parents whose children have not yet gone to school, they can begin the homeschooling process as soon as the child reaches school age. For others who are looking to take their child out of a school environment and homeschool them, there are more hoops to jump through. A parent must write a letter with their intent to remove the child from school. Once the child is homeschooled they must follow their district's education guidelines.
Pros of Homeschooling
Before Making a Decision on homeschooling, people often like to look at the pros and cons of the topic. These are the pros of homeschooling:
- Flexibility - You are able to teach when, where, and how you want to. Homeschooled students follow the typical school year with breaks for summer and holidays. However, some homeschooled children are taught year-round. The flexibility of the school year and the school day often appeals to many parents.
- Direct Role in What they Learn - When homeschooling you are able to choose exactly what they learn and do not learn. This can be particularly appealing to families who are trying to include more religious influences into their child’s education.
- One-on-One Help - Teachers have to work in a one-to-many environment at school. They have to teach multiple students at a time. If a child is not understanding a topic they may fall behind. In contrast, homeschooling allows you to teach at their pace. If they understand one topic really well, you can easily fly through it. This gives them more time to work on another topic they struggle with.
- Fewer Distractions - In a classroom there are plenty of other children and objects that may take away your child’s attention from learning. With homeschooling, you can limit the number of distractions and get them back on track.
Cons of Homeschooling
While there are many pros of homeschooling, there are also a few cons.
- Dynamic Changes in Household - If you choose to homeschool you are taking on the role of parent and teacher. This can be difficult to navigate sometimes as you will have to create lessons, organize field trips, coordinate activities with other homeschoolers, and make sure you are compliant with state and local requirements. This is in addition to your normal duties as a parent.
- Socialization - The downside of homeschooling is that they may not get to interact with other children on a daily basis. Many home-schooled children end up meeting and hanging out together. However, it can still be hard for them to form lasting relationships.
- Less Time for Yourself - Due to all of your increased duties you will have less time for yourself. This can become stressful and you can burn out easily if you are not careful.
- It Can be Difficult to Work - Many parents end up having to tighten their purse strings because they are living off of a single income. This is not the case for all parents. Some may choose to use an online homeschooling service so they can work. Some parents still find it difficult to balance the two.
Planning a Curriculum
With so many families choosing to do homeschool, there are a wide variety of options available to them. This includes options with curricula and resources. There are multiple options available depending on your philosophy, learning approach, or time available to teach.
Parents typically adhere to the basic subjects taught in a school curriculum. They may dive deeper into a subject if their child demonstrates interest in it. The flexibility available to parents who homeschool allows for them to teach what they think is in their child’s best interest. It also allows students to receive an individualized approach to learning that matches their unique interests or strengths.
Homeschooling has become increasingly popular in the past 50 years. Parents enjoy the flexibility it allows them and the ability to create their own curriculum at home. Hopefully, this article has helped you make an informed decision about what is best suited to you and your lifestyle.
We at Bellefit know that education begins the minute you come home with your newborn. We want to ensure you are pain-free and ready to take on your new role as a mother. Make sure you are getting the support you need with any of our postpartum garments. Keeping you looking and feeling your best.