While less common, homeschooling presents a great opportunity for K-12 children to experience a new learning model and focus on a wider variety of academic subjects. But how did this alternative learning style come about?
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, many religious parents sought a way to incorporate religion into their children’s everyday studies. For many parents, homeschooling helps to remove common distractions such as drugs, bullies, and peer pressure, or introduce a different academic structure for their children.
Nonetheless, some education experts argue that homeschool learning places students at a disadvantage compared to their public-school counterparts. Today, most homeschoolers are more demographically diverse in contrast to the early homeschool movement.
Homeschoolers are known to perform better and apply their knowledge more effectively than public school students in mandated testing. According to a 2014 NHERI report, homeschooled students scored above average than the national average score for all high school seniors. Many homeschooled students obtain opportunities to learn more subjects if they choose to, outside of the “Core Four” areas of study. These “Core Four” subjects allude to English, Mathematics, Science, and History.
With online services like Khan Academy, Udemy, Skillshare, and apps like Duolingo, homeschool students can delve into concepts unavailable in most public-school systems. From mastering sign language to learning conversational Portuguese, homeschool students can even learn finance on the side by the eighth grade and progress to learning in a college-level environment at an early age.
Homeschooling’s strength is deeply embedded in the personalized approach to learning, which has led to change in some public schools trying to personalize their curriculum. Despite achieving varying levels of success, most public-school districts are unsuccessful in catering to the needs of the individual student. When properly taught, homeschoolers can potentially receive a more profound education from their curriculum – the materials, the resources, and their goals – which is set by the student and their parents/teachers working together.
Homeschoolers are also just as successful as their public and private counterparts. NHERI’s 2016 report lists homeschooled students’ scores as 15-30% higher on standardized tests than students enrolled in public and private schools. This also translates well to their performances on the SAT with 67% of homeschooled students being more likely to graduate college compared to 59% of students enrolled in public school.
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooled students are just as outgoing and social as their peers in public school. Social media has helped students in the last decade to reduce bullying while maintaining friendships both on and offline. Homeschooled children are also able to have a moving classroom. These students work from home for a part of the day and then may experience hands-on work at museums and libraries. The nurturing environment enables homeschool students to feel comfortable around adults and encourages open-mindedness.
Every homeschool student has the potential to become an exceptional student. When given the proper resources and opportunities, that student can transform into a better student. Homeschooling allows students to succeed without peer pressure (academically and socially) and distractions, and to learn in a personalized environment that encourages growth and maturity. Homeschooling may not always be the first option, but it may be the “right” option to address your child’s unique needs and goals.