Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reasons To Choose Home Education

Lisa Nielsen, a public school administrator and teacher, has compiled a list entitled "The 12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Child" and you can read it here. The list contains many valid reasons for choosing this educational method for your children and many that I hear about in my conversations with home educators. What was missing from the list, in my opinion, are some of the opportunities to make education less self-centered and more intuitive. And so, to Nielsen's very good list, I would add the following:

1. The ability make education a family affair:
The modern educational system divides students arbitrarily, according to age or talent. The decision to homeschool breaks down these boundaries as education becomes an endeavor undertaken by the entire family. It's much easier to create an atmosphere of learning when parents see education as part of their responsibility. This is different from making sure that children do their homework. When a family homeschools everyone contributing to education. Older siblings can teach younger siblings. Parents learn along side their children. Learning together builds strong relationships as each person sees himself as an integral part of the family, and a contributor to the education of others.

2. The ability to take learning out of the classroom:
When you homeschool, I think that a switch is flipped and you begin to see that education is not something that just happens in a classroom. It's a lifestyle. Think of all that your child learned before she was formally enrolled in school. Even if she began attending preschool, there was an incredible amount of learning that happened before then, major accomplishments like speech! Children learn by observation and doing. When we take these inquisitive minds and send them to a school, telling them that this is where they will learn, we begin to divide learning from living. Of course, many students flourish within a classroom, and many families do a wonderful job of continuing to educate their children outside the classroom. But for those who find classrooms stifling and uninspiring, it can be a short leap from "I hate school" to "I hate learning". Homeschooling does not create artificial boundaries around the learning process.

3. The ability to see outside one's world:
When children are enrolled in schools according to zip code, there is a high likelihood that he or she will be attending school with other children from the same socio-economic circle and racial background. While there is comfort in this, there is also a lot of danger. As our nation becomes more and more segregated by factors such as income, we are losing our ability to empathize with people different from ourselves. While neighborhoods used to be much more integrated in terms of economic class, a startling trend of self-segregation has taken place across the US, resulting in homogenized neighborhoods. It used to be that bankers, doctors, school teachers, auto mechanics, and people working minimum wage jobs could all be found in the same neighborhoods. Now it's rare to live next to someone who is from a decidedly different economic background. This distance has allowed for an increasingly calloused view of the poor and an antagonistic view of the well-off. When you choose to homeschool, you can make a conscious effort to show your children how other people live. Whether that means volunteering in a homeless shelter, visiting the elderly at an affluent retirement home, or giving your time to a cause you believe in, you will be giving your children the ability to understand the world beyond their own neighborhood.

4. The ability to relax:
While school systems are being crushed by constant reforms, increased paperwork demands, and constant evaluations, you have a lot more freedom. Yes, your state may require testing or a submission of lesson plans, but you can set up your own schedule. You can work with your student's own learning style. When you sense that your children are fed up and you're at your wit's end, you can call it a day and go to the pool. While you may feel a lot of pressure, it's so important to remember that your children are constantly learning. It's important to have fun together, to read together, to play together. And when you're homeschooling you have so much more time to do those things.

I would love to hear your thoughts on homeschooling. Why did you decide to make this educational choice? What benefits have you discovered and found surprising? What about drawbacks?

And if you're ordering curriculum for this coming school year, now's the time to do it! Ordering now will ensure that your books are delivered in time to start your school year. And remember, all orders over $200.00 ship for free! Check out our history curriculums and study guides at

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1 comment:

  1. Great post! This will be our first year homeschooling and my 3 boys (twin 3rd graders/1K) and I are very excited. I hope I can maintain this excitement?