Homeschooling can often seem like a daunting feat, with many unknowns, however, you are not alone; there are over one million families in America educating their children from home!
Having been homeschooled myself, I can speak to the countless benefits of taking control of your child’s education and guiding them in learning. Homeschoolers do not have to worry about bullying, negative peer pressure, falling behind, becoming bored by teachers, or spending unnecessary time doing schoolwork (no homework is always a plus!). My personal experience being homeschooled meant my siblings and I could take off in the middle of the day to go play in the rain or snow, take educational trips around the country, explore historical landmarks and national wonders, and benefit from getting ahead in school by taking college classes in high school. For parents, it means more time with your children before they are gone from your household, the ability to have a say in what they learn and when they learn it, and flexibility for your family’s needs.
5 things you can expect when you homeschool
- Your child’s needs will always come first and be at the heart of their education. As a parent, you know your child the best and have the most concern for their future. This is why they will succeed with you at the helm of their education, steering their course. You are the one who taught them how to tie their shoe, encouraged them to walk, taught them how to dress, and how to hold a fork and spoon. By the time they are school-age they have gained so much from you already! Why stop learning from the ones who are their biggest cheerleaders?As their teacher you can also ensure they get an education that fits their individual needs. In public school, one teacher can only teach one way to their 20 or more students. These 20 students may each learn a different way, and as a result, a good portion of them may fall behind, become bored, or not fully master content. When homeschooling, you can make sure your child is taught in a way that is best for them. From choosing a curriculum that best fits their learning style, to taking breaks when needed, to learning outside during nice weather, you are in total control and able to customize your child’s learning experience to exactly what they need to thrive and love learning.
- Your values and beliefs will be communicated above all others. In both private and public schools, you have little-to-no say in what your children are being taught, seeing, or hearing each day. In a world that seems to be becoming more and more troubled, this is increasingly important. Our worldview, religion, and beliefs shape who we become much more than academics ever will. This is why being involved in the development of your child’s beliefs is so important. Children are most influenced before the age of 14. Why give up the majority of your child’s daily interaction with you, to others, especially those who may steer them down the wrong path? Homeschooling means you will be able to teach and model the values and worldview you want to pass on to your children. You will be able to choose a curriculum that is aligned with what you believe and you will be right there to discuss difficult topics as they arise. Simply discussing world events over lunch, the latest news in pop culture, or what you are reading in your devotions allows your children to receive spiritual and emotional guidance from the people who know them best and care about them the most — their parents. And, they won’t be “sheltered” because you’ll allow them to think critically and analyze their beliefs with your guidance.
- Your family will grow in closeness. The weekend does not have to be the only quality time you spend with your children, or that siblings can spend together. There are many lessons to be learned, for better or worse, when you share the majority of your time with your family. Homeschooling presents unique opportunities for brothers and sisters to become each other’s best friends. Homeschooling siblings can be seen playing in the snow together without waiting for a snow day, or playing make believe in the playground on a sunny afternoon. Simple things like shopping with mom or volunteering at a local organization is also valuable time to grow together as a family. Time at home also presents opportunities to teach valuable life skills such as cleaning, cooking, home repairs, and maintenance. Working together is always more fun than doing it alone, and many hands make for light work, leaving time for other activities during the day. Every day you will have the opportunity to live in a community with the ones God has placed closest in your life.
- Your child’s interests and goals will take center stage. Homeschooling allows you to take your child’s interests to a new level. Traditional schools only have so much to offer, and can only take your child so far, while built upon what is best for the majority, not the individual child. By the time a student gets home from school there is often not enough time to pursue their interests and hobbies once homework is done. Homeschoolers have much more time during the day that they are not doing schoolwork. The typical homeschooler usually only spends a max of five hours on school work, leaving the rest of the time for other pursuits! If your children are heavily involved in sports, homeschooling allows for flexibility for them to pursue their passion, fitting school work in between practices. If your child has an artistic passion, sign up for art lessons at a local community center, or co-op. Take music lessons, visit museums, go on field trips, the possibilities are endless. If your child excels at something outside of academics, homeschooling is the perfect setting for allowing them to pursue their passion and gifts which will in turn lead them to a brighter future.
- Your child will grow and succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Free from peer pressure, large classrooms, and other stresses of public school, children are often able to excel far beyond expectations. Their self-esteem, confidence, and abilities will soar with individualized education suited to their strengths. Students often turn from failing in school, to making enormous strides in learning, simply because they are finally able to understand what is being taught within the homeschooling structure. Homeschooling also allows gifted students to move ahead faster, working at their own pace as they are not held back, waiting for everyone else to catch up. At Bridgeway Academy, we have seen students finish a whole school year in six months, allowing them to graduate early or move on to more advanced study, putting them ahead of the majority of their peers. And your child will most likely have a brighter future than their peers having been home schooled! Homeschooling students graduate at higher rates and are 10 percent more likely to attend and stay at a four-year college, while achieving much better scores than their peers on the SAT and ACT exams. Homeschoolers have also been known to become more active public citizens, participating in their community, voting, and becoming involved in government affairs. As a parent you will also be able to see firsthand that your child not only grows and progresses in academics, but in all areas of their life.
Homeschooling is no miracle cure; it is hard work at times, and yet 75 percent of home-educated graduates say they are happy they were home schooled. Students are able to receive an individualized, unique education that is impossible in the traditional school setting. This education is not limited to the classroom but is stretched to include the whole world, better preparing them for their future. Perhaps the best part of all? You’ll be learning and growing right along with your child, teaching and nurturing them to become a young adult that stands out from the crowd.