The pros and cons of homeschooling


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Are you considering homeschooling your children? What are the pros and cons of homeschooling? Know the good and the bad so you can make an informed decision.

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  • I believe homeschooling is the way to go, if parents can manage it. Public schools are an abject failure, as evidenced by the United States overall scores when compared to other nations. Music lessons are a great way to engage kids, and teach them to follow their hearts- especially when it comes to creativity. You may want to visit this site
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The pros and cons of homeschooling

  1. 1. The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling<br />Have you been considering homeschooling your children? The United States Department of Education has a National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) which completed a survey of thousands of parents who were reporting that they educated their children at home. The Department determined that the number of children being homeschooled in 2003 was 1,096,000, which is a 29% increase over the Spring, 1999 number of 850,000. So why more are parents homeschooling their children now than in the past and what are the pros and cons of teaching one’s children at home instead of sending them off to public or private school?<br />Different couples have different reasons for wanting their children to learn at home instead of in a formal schoolroom setting, but almost all of them agree that one of the biggest “pros” to homeschooling one’s own children is the safety factor. Mom doesn’t have to make sure the kids get onto and off of the bus without risk, there are no bullies to cause threats to the physical or mental wellbeing of the children, and the parents have complete control over which adults have access to the children and where and for how long that access is given, not to mention keeping their children safe from the possibility of drugs and other "bad influences" that might be introduced to them in a school setting. With tragedies such as the one that happened at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999, which is the fourth deadliest school massacre in American History, having one’s children at home during the school day might even save their lives. <br />Religious parents who care about what types of things their children might learn at the hands of teachers who don’t share their religion are often quite particular about the curriculum they use to train their own children. A lot of curriculum used by religious parents is Bible-based and shares the values the parents hold dear. Parents who are not religious are often also concerned about what and how their children are taught about subjects such as the origin of life and where humans came from originally, as well as how subjects such as science and health are taught. Most parents, whether they homeschool their children or not, are very concerned about what their children are learning and how they are being trained to apply it to their lives.<br />Another issue that causes many parents to consider teaching their children at home is the abundance of homework the schools send home with even the youngest of school aged kids. Not only are the backpacks the children must carry home with all their books in them causing physical harm to their small bodies, but the hours the kids spend doing their homework each evening can be causing harm to the family unit. The kids spend the best hours of their day, when they are the most energetic and awake, in the classroom at school. They usually come home hungry and tired as do the parents who often have worked all day to support their families. However, the families aren’t allowed to relax together for the few evening hours they have on the weekdays as these hours must be spent on homework, eating, and getting ready for the following day, which will again be spent at school, away from the family. With the hustle and bustle of getting dinner, cleaning up, and getting ready for the relatively early bed time so that it can all be done again in the morning, there’s very little time left for the family to bond if several of the afternoon or evening hours must be spend doing left-over school work that can’t be done in the classroom. Homeschooled children generally get their studies completed in the hours they spend actually at “school”, even in their own homes. <br />A study of Homeschool statistics was conducted in the Spring of 1998 by Bob Jones University Press Testing and Evaluation Service, the largest home school testing service in the United States, provides Assessment services to home taught students and privately funded schools on a fee-for-service basis. The tests that were conducted in this study were the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS, grades K-8) or the Tests of Achievement and Proficiency (TAP, grades 9-12). Both the ITBS and TAP are published by Riverside Publishing Company and were developed after careful review of national and state curricula and standards, reports, which gave a summary of the study, the entirety of which can be found at<br />How do home schoolers measure up?<br />Home school students do exceptionally well when compared with the nationwide average. In every subject and at every grade level of the ITBS and TAP batteries, home school students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts.<br />Because home education allows each student to progress at his or her own rate, almost one in four home school students (24.5%) are enrolled one or more grades above age level. It should be noted that home school scores were analyzed according to the student's enrolled grade rather than according to the student's age level. In other words, a 10-year-old home school student enrolled in 5th grade would have been compared to other students in the 5th grade, rather than to his age-level peers in the 4th grade. Thus, the demonstrated achievement of home schoolers is somewhat conservative. On average, home school students in grades 1-4 perform one grade level higher than their public and private school counterparts.<br />The achievement gap begins to widen in grade 5; by 8th grade the average home school student performs four grade levels above the national average.<br />Another significant finding is that students who have been home schooled their entire academic lives have the highest scholastic achievement. The difference becomes especially pronounced during the higher grades, suggesting that students who remain in home school throughout their high school years continue to flourish in that environment.<br />Differences were also found among home school students when they were classified by amount of money spent on education, family income, parent education, and television viewing. However, it should be noted that home school students in every category scored significantly higher than the national average.<br />No meaningful difference was found among home school students when classified by gender. Significantly, there was also no difference found according to whether or not a parent was certified to teach. For those who would argue that only certified teachers should be allowed to teach their children at home, these findings suggest that such a requirement would not meaningfully affect student achievement.<br />One of the biggest “cons” that is often associated with homeschooling is the purported “lack of socialization” their children get when they don’t spend their days with children their own age. However, a closer look at this reveals that this “socialization” is actually counterfeit. Where else in life are people put into groups of other people in the same age group and the same general economic and social class for the entire day for years and years? Nowhere! Once these kids grow up and get out into the workplace, 22 year old Johnny might have 56 year old Sandy, the “crazy cat lady” for his cubicle partner. The High School beauty queen might have to sell a product to a man old enough to be her father and make sure he’s satisfied and will be a repeat customer. The college jock might have to defuse a situation with an irate mother who didn’t get the product she paid for. The young, just-starting-out lawyer might represent the aging businessman who needs to update his will. The workplace, which is the end result of the years of schooling all children get, is diverse and adults have to learn to get along with and to work with people from all walks of life and various ages and social/economic groups. Therefore, the “public school setting” is actually NOT the best venue for teaching “socialization skills”, after all.<br />It’s important that every child, homeschooled or not, gets proper “socialization”, but sticking them with kids their own age and generally the same social and economic class all day for 12+ years is not necessarily the way to get this socialization. Does the child have sports, drama, or musical interests? He or she can join a group to participate in the activity that interests them. Is the family a church-going family? Parents can teach their children to “socialize” with folks of many ages in church and religious settings. Kids can learn to do extra chores for an elderly neighbor without asking for anything in return; this is a great way to teach children how to get along with others. Many cities have homeschooling groups where parents who home-teach and the kids who are home taught can get together and participate in different types of activities, which also teaches kids how to play well with others. And homeschooling parents can still have “play dates” with their children and other kids their own age to teach them how to get along with people who are not part of their own families, just like other parents do.<br />In today’s economy, many families have found that both spouses need to have a full time job in order to make ends meet. Some folks believe this prevents them from being able to home teach their children as they must be at a job during the workday and cannot stay home with their young children who still need supervision. However, there are many ways to make a full time income while staying home. Some of those jobs require telephone work, and some require night meetings and such, but many of them are done simply on the computer. It is common nowadays for homeschooling mothers or fathers to support the family with employment that can be done via the family’s computer. Quite a few of these work-from-home employment situations are real jobs that have the same sort of Company benefits one would find in an office setting and many employers are now considering allowing employees to telecommute. This flexibility allows numerous parents to home school their children while still bringing home the paycheck the family requires. <br />One of the cons that some parents might be worried about is that they, themselves, might not have the knowledge of certain subjects they might need as their children advance. There are several things these parents can do, however, to make it possible for them to teach their children, anyway. One thing that can be done is to have a tutor who comes into the home part-time to help out with some of these subjects. Another thing that can be done is to get curriculum that has a computerized learning and grading program, so that the child can learn the subject without the parent having to be an expert at it. There are quite a few computerized curriculum programs that can do this and there are also some students who attend high school online from home full time without their parents’ input. So this worry isn’t as much of a problem nowadays as it might have been in the past.<br />Most states ask that parents who home teach have their children tested each year to make sure the kids are keeping up with their grade levels in subjects such as reading, math, and science. This is an important part of homeschooling and most people considering homeschooling are willing to comply with this requirement. That way, the parents know each year if their kids need extra help in certain subjects and the parents can plan the following year’s studies accordingly. That creates a situation where the schooling is specialized to the learning pace of the children themselves, which almost always constitutes a better learning experience for the child.<br />Are you brand new to homeschooling?  Or perhaps just frustrated and need direction and encouragement?<br />This is absolutely a MUST TAKE class for all homeschoolers - new or seasoned!  I cannot recommend it enough!<br />~LeeAnn<br />Homeschooling Help for Every Parent<br />Pros and Cons of Homeschooling<br />