Homeschooling Statistics

What is a Homeschool Education?
A well-rounded education helps children become responsible citizens of society, fulfill their duties towards their families and live happy and productive lives. A relatively less common method of education in the US, besides public and private schools, is homeschooling. A traditional definition would simply be – education imparted in the home environment by a guardian or parent. However there are certain guidelines to be followed for homeschoolers and they vary from state to state. Many states specify which subjects and material needs to be covered, while others require a yearly evaluation to be done to gauge progress. Implementing such regulations is a different matter altogether, as it is difficult for the state to know if parents are being fair in imparting knowledge on complex subjects. Issues such as these have made homeschooling a controversial aspect of the educational system.

Homeschooling Facts and Statistics

According to a research by National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) in 2010, homeschooling is growing at a rate of 2-8% every year making it the fastest among different forms of education.
2010 data from the NHERI indicates that there are about 2.04 million homeschooled students in the United States.
An approximate 1.75 to 2.35 million students were homeschooled during the early months of 2010.
$16 billion of the taxpayer money was saved due to homeschooling programs in the country. Homeschooled children do not have to depend on government funds for their education.
Nearly 15% of the Hispanic community home-schools their children.
Homeschooling is a diverse demographic, drawing families from minority communities as well as the mainstream population.
College students who were homeschooled as children, graduated at a higher rate of 67%, than students from the institutional mode of education. They were behind at 55%.
Income demographics for homeschooled students are also widely distributed, from $34000 to $70000.
Almost 74% of homeschooled children have gone to colleges as compared to 44% of the general population.
71% of homeschooled children have been found to be involved in at least one community service as compared to 37% of the general population.
Homeschooled children score 15 to 30 percentile points more than their public or private school counterparts.
Recent research has shown homeschooled students socialize well in college and in fact take part in a greater number of sports and social activities than students already in the system.

*2010 data from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).
Benefits of Homeschooling

Customizing education: Parents can plan education for their children according to the child’s abilities. A homeschooled child has an advantage of having his best evaluators with him. Moreover, the flexibility that homeschooling allows in the matter of choosing subjects and the way in which a parent or guardian can go about teaching it, makes homeschooling a better option for many parents who want the best for their children.

Better academics: Even the data speaks for this aspect of homeschooling. Homeschooled kids do better at studies than children in the traditional education system mainly because they have the advantage of asking questions and exploring their interests from a much younger age. They develop skills in things they like and pursue them later, picking up the same subjects in college and doing well in them.

A safer environment: This is possibly the greatest cause of the yearly increase in parents and guardians deciding to home-school their kids and not put them through the system. Public schools in many states have become havens of violence and drug abuse, not counting the lack of discipline and moral safeguards which should be ingrained in any educational institution. Many parents opt to keep their kids at home and preserve their childhood while also imparting worldly education.

Imparting values and world views: A homeschooled child is not exposed to commercialism and consumerism in the same way a child going to a public school is. The values and rationale in him can be cultivated in a positive manner under the guidance of his parents or guardians. Homeschooled children have a greater sense of responsibility towards family and society and take active part in social programs in college and work life.

Focus on the child: The purpose of education is to impart knowledge and values to children, the focal point of the learning process. In the confused and often cluttered syllabus and extra-curricular activities made compulsory in public schools, somewhere the focus on the primary subject – the child, is lost. Homeschooling makes children the center of the process. The teacher can devote his entire time and attention to one or two children and make strategies to improve their reading, writing and numerical abilities. It has been seen that public schools are neglecting the fundamentals such as reading and writing in favor of fancy subjects and unnecessary social activities. This can be avoided in a homeschool environment.

Travel and education: Many parents in the US have to travel extensively due to work or business commitments. Children are often left alone or with guardians who sometimes neglect studies and regular schooling. The child begins to lose interest in academics and is plagued by distractions. A homeschooled child can travel with his parents when they move or go to different cities for work. The parent being the teacher can manage the children’s educational schedules along with his own and doesn’t have to worry about leaving them with guardians or in boarding schools.

Homeschooling vs. Public schooling
There is no hard data which conclusively proves that homeschooling is better than public or private forms of education, but research is on. It will include new types of controls and variables and make definite measurements regarding this type of education. Brian D. Ray, Ph. D published a paper on the NHERI website commenting on the research done by Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse which supports the theory that in some specific forms of homeschooling, the benefits do outweigh those from public institutions. However, the debate between this so-called ‘radical’ and ‘back to nature’ form of education and the more formal, regularized approach towards learning rages on. Critics argue that homeschooling results in neglect of the child and apathy towards learning. They say that the parents’ sense of responsibility cannot be counted upon as every shift in their circumstance has a direct impact on the education of the child. If the parent or guardian cannot hold a job or is frequently in and out of relationships, it will cause a retrograde movement in the learning curve of the children dependent on him or her.

Whatever the case may be, homeschooling is fast becoming an acceptable and a better approach towards learning, and will continue to attract parents who want to give their children a holistic education to help them realize their potential.

How to Start Homeschooling Your Child

The popularity of homeschooling has seen a phenomenal rise in the last decade or two. There are plenty of attributes that have contributed to this rise. Parents prefer to home-school their kids to keep them away from the peer pressure and stressed atmosphere of the school. Moreover, in a home-school, your child gets single-minded attention, unlike in a public school, where there are at least twenty students in a class. With this form of education, you can keep the child under your supervision and also get to spend more time with him/her. But it also has its own set of drawbacks, that cannot be ignored. The most obvious one being – the child missing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the institution called “school”! The school atmosphere is completely different from the atmosphere at home, and in a school there is more focus on discipline, schedule and team work.

The choice to opt for homeschooling kids depends entirely on the parents. Keep in mind the following – to make the idea work, you will have to compromise your career and completely devote yourself in educating your child/children. Alternatively, you can hire a home-school teacher to educate your kids, but still, you have to be around to make sure that the teacher is doing the job well.

Getting Started with Homeschooling

It is an old concept, that has been popular since a long time. It is a legally approved concept in the United States (the state regulations may differ). As it gained popularity in the United States, the universities also started accepting students from such educational backgrounds. Thus the parents need not worry about the future education of their child and should focus more on designing the study technique and curriculum. To make the program a success, the atmosphere in the house should also be calm and conducive to study. Design the room using various charts and posters and create a fun atmosphere, for the child to study. Make it a point that you use a table and chair for studying, as the posture you keep while studying is also important.

#Step 1: Check the Regulations
Though the process is legal, the state regulations may differ. So, as the first step, do some research and understand the rules and regulations about homeschooling, in your state. Some states are quite liberal and do not even require you to notify the concerned authorities about the decision taken. Semi-Liberal states require you to notify them about the decision they make. The third category is the slightly strict states. The regulations in these states require you to periodically submit, the progress and evaluation report of the kid. And in the states that have the most strict regulations, the parents need to get the designed syllabus approved before they proceed with their decision. Some states that are strict regarding homeschooling require you to get certified for the teaching process, or allow you to keep only certified people as home teachers. The regulations also have mention of the number of days per year you need to teach the kids. Thus, you need to determine under which category your state belongs to and understand the rules thoroughly.

#Step 2: Design the Curriculum
Once you have complied with all the rules, the next important step is designing the syllabus. This is the most crucial step. You have many options to design the homeschooling curriculum. Think and determine what kind of education you want to give your child, and what you want to focus on. For example, for those who want to focus on arts, the arts related subjects should be the major crux of the syllabus. But to develop the all round intelligence of the kid, the curriculum should be a mix of all the subjects. For stricter states, the curriculum needs to be in conjunction with the state education curriculum. There are plenty of choices available for you to choose the right syllabus for your kid. In addition, there are many online packages and books based on grades available.

#Step 3: Plan a Schedule
To instill discipline in your kid from a young age, a balanced routine is very important. Plan your hours fruitfully, allotting appropriate hours to each subject. Monthly and yearly tests are also mandatory and should be a part of the schedule. But to avoid monotony in the process, you have to take efforts. One advantage of homeschooling is, you can be innovative in your way of teaching your kids. You have the freedom to incorporate your own ideas and techniques in the teaching method. You can also change the location of the ‘homeroom’ at your own will, and plan some trip to the park to make learning an interesting process for the kid.

#Step 4: Make it Easy for the Kid
Kids who have been to school and are now home tutored may find it hard to adjust to the new method of teaching. So, as parents you need to make sure that the child is comfortable with the new teaching method. The child might miss his friends – to avoid this make him join a library or a play club. This way the child will be able to socialize, and wouldn’t feel lonely.

Educationalists do not approve of this form of schooling, and believe that it deprives the children from their social life. They are also of the view that parents cannot give their hundred percent as teachers. But, if it is the only option you have, make sure you do it with perfection and dedication. With efforts from both the parents homeschooling can turn out to be a rewarding experience. Good Luck!

Reasons Why Homeschooling is Bad

Homeschooling refers to the concept of educating children at home instead of sending them to public or private schools. The concept is not new. Earlier, most children were educated at home because not everyone could afford to send their children to schools. Nowadays, homeschooling has become popular in many countries for various reasons.

Reasons for Homeschooling
One of the prime reasons why some prefer homeschooling is the questionable quality of education in public schools. Also, many prefer educating their children at home due to the costs involved in traditional schooling. Some parents believe that they know their child’s strengths and weaknesses best and hence, are in a better position to teach him. Some prefer it so as to keep their child away from bad company. There are people who opt to educate their children at home because they want them to absorb the morals and values of their family, and follow their religious beliefs. Some parents think that homeschooling helps build stronger family bonds.

It has been observed that homeschooling, when undertaken meticulously has benefited many. However, every coin has two sides and even homeschooling has its share of demerits. Let us look at its negative impact on parents and students.

Parents

Absence of Certified Educational Professionals
A parent may have good educational qualifications, but that does not make him or her a good teacher. Teaching is an art, which requires the ability to understand children’s needs. Parents may find it difficult to adjust to the curriculum. Unlike professional teachers, parents may not be trained to teach, thus making homeschooling difficult for them.

Special Needs May Not be Met
Some children require special learning aids and tutors, and cannot be home-schooled. Lack of proper guidance might impact their education. Similarly, certain subjects require different methods of teaching or certain specialized teaching aids. Homeschooling may not be able to meet these needs of education.

Homeschool Burnout
Many parents may eventually become tired and stressed due to teaching for long hours at a stretch. Parents having to manage work and household responsibilities while also devoting time to the education of their children, may have to follow a very hectic schedule. This may take a toll on their health or hamper their efficiency as teachers. This may lead to a homeschool burnout and cause the parents to temporarily lose interest in teaching.

Shifting Priorities
Parents have to sacrifice a lot in terms of other priorities. Home-schooling children is a full-time job and may not be suitable for parents who want to concentrate on their careers. On choosing to teach children at home, career aspirations of parents might have to take a backseat. It takes a lot of time and dedication from the parents’ side to make homeschooling successful.

High Costs
Though homeschooling may cost less than $1000 per year for parents, inevitable expenses like textbooks, basic stationery, a computer, Internet, educational software, seating arrangement, field and educational trips, audio-visual aids, hobby classes, sports classes, library, legal fees, memberships and newsletters of support groups may also have to be added to the budget. In many states, homeschooling does not receive any kind of financial aid other than making the cost of school supplies tax-deductible.

Social Pressure
Parents who home-school their children may have to face social pressure from proponents of traditional education.
This might lead the parents of homeschoolers to feel discouraged and diffident about their decision. They are oftentimes ridiculed by others for their decision and deemed incapable of educating their children at home. They have to face social flak for preferring homeschooling.

Children

Isolation
Children who are home-schooled may feel lonely, friendless and isolated, especially so if they don’t have siblings. Friendships in school help them learn the importance of sharing and being there for one another. Often, homeschoolers become increasingly dependent on their parents. Being schooled at home, they are isolated from the exposure traditional education gives.

Hindered Development
One of the most critical impacts of homeschooling on children is limited social interaction. In a traditional school, students are exposed to children coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. Homeschooling lacks this aspect, and hence may prove to be detrimental to the development of children’s interpersonal skills. Schools give children, the opportunity to participate in debates, sports and other competitions. They expose children to the real world. In homeschooling, school remains confined to the home, thus limiting the social, emotional and psychological development of children.

Assessment Pressure
Homeschoolers have to take an annual assessment test before proceeding to the next level. In traditional schools, children are given periodic tests, which prepare them for the next level. This may not be the case with homeschooling, thus leading to tremendous mental pressure on children when appearing for the annual assessment exams.

Lack of Competition
Schools prepare children to face the fierce competition that one is exposed to, in real life. However, homeschooling does not give them a chance to compete with other kids. They are also unaware of where they stand among their peers. The competitive spirit that is developed in traditional schooling is more or less absent in a homeschooling environment. This may affect the future lives and careers of children.

Though homeschooling has its benefits, it does not match up to the positive influence of schools on the overall development of children.