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Benefits of Homeschooling – The Ultimate Guide

Four Reasons to Homeschool

There are a good many reasons why you should homeschool your children but here are four of the best reasons why you should choose homeschooling over institutional schooling.

Scholastic Achievement. There have been enough studies done now to show that homeschooled children do as well and usually better than their public school counterparts.  Test results have shown that homeschool children score higher than the average on ACT and SAT college entrance exams and generally higher on general scholastic aptitude tests.  Not only that, but when you see that your child has a high aptitude in a specific area, you can choose curriculum and studies that will enhance their natural aptitudes.

Creating a close knit family.  Homeschooling has this great built in feature that people that do not homeschool do not understand.  Their children generally get along better with each other as well as their parents a lot more through the process of learning together.  Homeschooling naturally brings a family closer together as older children help younger children and each feels a sense of being part of something bigger than themselves. We have six children now ranging from thirteen to twenty three and they are all great friends with each other. We don’t have the sister or brother who hates each other that you see so often in families.

Socialization.  The last point somewhat coincides with this one as homeschooling teaches your children how to get along with people of different ages. Regular schooling takes fifty kids of the same age and throws them together.  Not great for learning to deal with real life situations of mixed age groups. Homeschooled kids generally also get to be around other people through volunteer work at church and in homeschool groups as well as through group activities with homeschool groups that generally bring all ages together. We know how cruel kids tend to be in regular schools.  This isn’t the case with homeschooled children and they are generally more comfortable conversing with adults than kids from regular schools.

Religious Freedom.  Choosing homeschooling allows you to raise your children and teach them according to the religious and moral values that you believe in rather than subject them to the government system that tries to remain morally neutral which has its own detrimental aspects.

Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

When choosing homeschool curriculum there are several factors that you want to take into consideration.

The main consideration is how your child learns best. Will he learn best with textbooks, workbooks, online, computer, unit studies, etc. The answer to this has to do with their learning style. Are they hands-on learners, do they learn best by listening, do they learn best visually?

If they learn best by hearing you might want to go with a textbook approach. These learners like to listen and learn and you using a textbook might be the best way for them.

If they are a visual learner you can look into workbooks, online or computer-based, as well as unit studies. These all generally use a lot of visual enhancement to their teaching methods.

A hands on learner might like a computer based curriculum or a unit studies type of program. They will want to be involved physically in their learning.

Another important factor is how you want to teach. You may like textbooks or workbooks or you might want to oversee an online or computer curriculum. Another consideration is Unit Studies which is the teaching of all subjects through one topic. An example is teaching about Egypt. You can teach math, reading, writing, science, and history all through one topic.

You can also use the eclectic method of homeschooling or the mix and match approach combining bits and pieces of different homeschool methods.

Asking other homeschool parents is a good way to find out what works best in different situations. Contact a local support group or an online message board. And remember, you can always try something different next year if you don’t like what you did this year.

Are you Competent Enough To Homeschool

The question often arises, “Are you smart enough to homeschool your children? You don’t have a teaching degree.” Well, the quick answer to this is of course you are smart enough to teach your children.

Who says that just because someone gets a teacher’s certificate that they are more qualified to teach your child? Does someone who is going to teach your sixth grader math have a degree in math? No, they have en education degree. Do they have a degree in science? No, they have an education degree. Why would that make them more qualified to teach your child in those areas? It doesn’t.  They have learned how to teach lessons to a group of diverse students. They have learned crowd control.

Think about this. You may have one child that learns best by hands on methods of learning while you have another child who learns best by an auditory style of learning. At home you can cater to each of them in the way they best learn. In a school setting they will be taught to the lowest common denominator and will all be taught the same. If your child is advanced he will be bored and may lose interest in education. If your child needs a little help to stay up with the class he may fall behind.  This doesn’t happen at home.

Anyone with at least a high school education can use homeschooling curriculum effectively to teach their children. And you are able to see your child’s progress and cater to it immediately instead of waiting till there is a problem which may happen in a public school.

The real answer. YOU CAN DO IT.

Advantages of Homeschooling

There are a great many advantages to using the homeschool option for educating your children.

First and foremost is that it is your right and obligation to oversee the education of your child. With homeschooling you are in total control of every facet of your child’s education. You can make sure that they are knowledgeable in every area of curriculum and you can emphasize areas where they need work and let them progress ahead in areas of their strengths.

Flexibility of curriculum.  You can choose a curriculum that works best for your child.  And if you find that it is not working well you can change it.

Flexibility of time. You don’t have to do class work at any special time. Do it when it fits your schedule. And homeschooling doesn’t take six hours of the day like traditional school.

Proper socialization. Homeschool children learn to communicate with a wide variety of people not just people of their own age.

Everything is a learning experience. You will find that all of life is a learning experience that will further your child’s education. There is math in cooking. Your children will learn time management just as a part of their normal day. There is always an opportunity for a teachable moment in every day and you will soon see this develop naturally in your life.

Your family will grow together. We have six children ages thirteen to twenty three and they are all best of friends. Spending your time together as a family develops well rounded relationships in the family. How many families can say that their children all love to be around each other.

You can instill your values into your children.  Homeschooling allows you to keep your children from the brainwashing of ideas you don’t agree with that they will be saturated with during twelve years of public schooling.

Homeschooling is a choice you will not regret.

Learning Styles in Homeschooling

One of the greatest failures of public education is the fact that because teachers are teaching to twenty children, they have to teach them as if they all learn the same way. This is a recipe for leaving some children behind.

There are three basic styles of learning and knowing these and how your child learns can help you in the choice of curriculum or teaching style.

Visual – this type of student learns by seeing. They like flash cards, visual aids, and watching a teacher. Illustrated texts are great for these students.

Auditory – this student learns by listening. They need material explained so they can process it through their auditory senses. Reading aloud to them and books on tape are helpful.

Kinesthetic – these are the students who like to learn hands on. Younger students learn math well with block types of teaching methods. They learn well with hands on experiments. These students sometimes are those that have trouble sitting still.  They like to move around as they learn.

Determining which learning style your child is will help you to decide how best to teach them and that is one of the reasons why homeschooling is a better alternative for learning than public school.

Why Do We Homeschool?

There are a lot of people in the world that think we are crazy to educate our children at home. Most often they don’t think we are qualified to teach our own children, and then of course their other big bugaboo is “socialization.” Well let’s begin by why we do homeschool.

First off I believe children educated at home can get just as good or better of an education than they will in a public school. This has already been proven through studies of homeschooling.  Teachers in public school didn’t major in math or English, or in science. They majored in teaching. They learned how to deal with twenty kids in a classroom. I have had my children in public school and I am sure those of you who do are familiar with a child coming home with math homework that they don’t understand because their teacher doesn’t know how to teach it. It does take more effort for us to teach at home but we go over the material to make sure that we understand it first and then we explain it to our children. The problem in a school setting is that they have to teach to the lowest common denominator and when you do that, there is no challenge for those who can grasp the subject matter. Homeschool curriculum are great these days. Children are getting a better education through these materials as they are not filled with the nonsense found in public school materials. We don’t use “new” math and we don’t spend inordinate amounts of time on “global warming” etc..

Following along with the first point is that we can instill in our children the values we believe in. We are not held hostage to the social engineering of the public schools. With homeschooling you can teach your children to be good Christians, or good socialists, or good atheists, or good capitalists, whatever you feel is important for your children to become a better part of society when they get out in the world. All we want is the freedom to teach our children the values that we feel are most important.

And finally, we can teach our children about true “socialization.” Our children don’t learn to only funcion in a group of kids their own age, they learn how to have intelligent converstaions and interactions with people of all ages. Our kids get all the interaction with others they need at church, in baseball and soccer leagues, and with other homeschoolers on field trips and in joint classes. They also learn how to respect everyone else in their family. They learn how to difuse their own arguments and disagreements. And they learn respect for others. I heard one man once say that if he wanted to give his child the socialization of public school he would take him into the bathroom at lunch and force him to hand over his lunch money.

Well, as you can see, the two main objections people have with us homeschooling our children are two of the main reasons why we do homeschool. And don’t those naysayers have  enough to worry about without worrying about how our kids are educated.

What if My Child is Gifted?

Do you have a gifted child? Is your child great in Math, or Science, or Music, or any other discipline?  If so, then you really need to consider homeschooling.  Unless you send your child to a school for gifted children, chances are they are not going to develop that area of their life to their fullest potential and may even lose interest in schooling altogether. The typical classroom has to teach to the lowest common denominator which means that your child is not going to be challenged in that area that they excel in.

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can create a curriculum that will accentuate your child’s inherent abilities.  If they are great in math, you can challenge them with more intense types of Math curriculum such as Saxon math. If they are great in science, you can add extra emphasis on the  areas that interest them the most. Homeschooling offers them the opportunity to grow without stifling their natural interests.

Do your gifted child a favor and teach them at home.

Can I Afford Homeschooling?

Well, you’ve decided that the public school option isn’t right for you. You want an atmosphere where your child not only learns morals but also develops in character. With the economy in disarray, private schools may not be an affordable choice at this time. The answer is homeschooling. Depending on how well you research homeschooling you will find that it can be a very reasonable option that will not wipe out your wallet.

If you visit homeschool curriculum fairs (many cities have a homeschool group that will sponsor these fairs), you can find great deals on used curriculum. There are also many used curriculum websites to find great deals. There are even many new curriculum that you can get for about $400. If you think $400 is a lot, take your daughter to get clothes and supplies for school and it won’t seem as much as you thought. But if this is still too expensive, you can either go with an eclectic approach, piecing together your own curriculum from used sources or you can even find some free options.

New Study Shows Homeschoolers Perform Better Than Public School

Well, those of us that have homeschooled our children have always known that our children did as well or better than public school children, but the last study proving that is over ten years old. That study in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner of the ERIC Clearinghouse a part of the University of Maryland showed that homeschool students performed thirty percentage points higher on standardized tests.

The latest study looking at over 11,000 homeschool students who took the major standardized tests such as the Iowa Basic, the California Achievement, and the Standford Achievement in 2008 showed an average of thirty seven percentage points better. It also showed that income level, education of the parents, certification of parents, cost of materials, or how strict state laws were had no profound impact on the results.

Parents that were teachers didn’t achieve better results. States with heavy regulation didn’t improve results. Whether a parent had gone to college did not show a profound difference.  In all cases the children averaged the same thirty seven percent higher score.

College Classes for High School Homeschoolers

An option that may be available in your area is that many junior colleges offer homeschoolers the opportunity to take college classes for free in their senior year.  This is an option in Colorado and may available to you. We were able to have our kids take math and English courses their senior year that also counted for them as college credit.

To do this in Colorado homeschoolers take part in The Options Program which is actually a program by the public schools that offers homeschoolers free curriculum and licensed teachers chosen by homeschool parents and one day of classes a week. We participated in the program and found no problem of government influence. Our group chose the teachers and the curriculum but we were able to offer kids some of the harder classes in math and science that many parents don’t want to tackle.

Anyway, the point is that you may be able to get college classes for free in your area. Check it out.

Eclectic Method of Homeschooling

Many homeschoolers decide after a few years that they don’t like to stick with just one curriculum or even one teaching style. For these folks the best of all worlds is using an eclectic method of homeschooling. What we mean by that is a mix and match style of program. You may believe that Saxon math is the best math program four your child while you have seen a workbook program that works best for your language arts needs.

There is nothing stopping you from using the best subject material from different sources. You don’t have to use a total curriculum package. That is one of the great things about homeschooling. You can piece together a program that works best for you and your family. And if you are using some materials that are not specifically for a certain grade you can take a look at a Typical Course of Study from Worldbook Encyclopedia. Click on the grade you are teaching and it will give you a summary of what your child should be learning in each subject.

What are Homeschool Unit Studies?

You may have heard of the term unit studies as it pertains to homeschooling, but you may not know what they are.

Unit studies are a method of homeschooling by which you take one topic such is used to teach all subjects. Let’s say that you want to study Egypt. For instance it goes without saying that you can teach history while studying Egypt but you can also teach other subjects as well. You can cover political science by studying the political structure past and present. You can teach social studies while talking about the customs of society both past and present. Math can be integrated by using math calculation to determine man hours and labor for the building of the pyramids. Science can be taught discussing the ecosystem of the region. You get the picture.

Another great thing about unit studies is that you can teach several age groups at the same time. Some homeschoolers only use unit studies as their method of teaching while others integrate them as a supplement to their other curriculum.

There are a great many unit studies available for free on the internet as well as companies that specialize in them. A quick internet search will find all of the unit studies you need. You might want to try one and see how your kids like it.

What is Charlotte Mason Homeschooling?

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who was born in 1842 and died in 1923. She developed an educational philosophy that is very adaptable. The Charlotte Mason method includes narration and copy-work, nature notebooks, fine arts, languages, a literature based curriculum instead of textbooks, and real-life applications.

This method almost seems like an unschooling method to some due to the lack of workbooks and notebooks;however, this method is more structured for the mother as she has to read the books and develop short interesting lessons that cover all of the necessary material. This method can be a great way of keeping costs down as you are not investing in traditional textbooks or curriculum.

This method is about learning from life and developing a disciplined lifestyle while at the same time learning in a relaxed atmosphere. Facts and figures are not the centerpiece of this method but how and why. A god place to learn about this method is at the Simply Charlotte Mason website.