13 Reasons for Homeschooling You May Have Overlooked
Homeschool: Freedom to Exercise Creativity
What do you think the three most important reasons for homeschooling are? Well, according to the study Homeschooling in the United States (2003), the top three reasons individuals give for homeschooling their children are:
- The belief they could educated their children better at home.
- They had religious reasons for choosing to homeschool.
- Their concern about the quality and safety of the learning environments in schools.
Of these three, most respondents were either concerned about the school environment and a child's potential exposure to drugs, peer pressure or violence (85.4%), or they wanted children to have religious instruction (72.3%). (Click link for the methodology and technical notes, including information on sampling and nonsampling errors for this study.)
While these are all good reasons for homeschooling, they do not cover the range of reasons for parents and guardians to choose to educate children in a home environment rather than send them to a public or private school. Including the three already mentioned, which we'll expanded on in this discussion, here are 13 reasons you may not have thought about for opting for a homeschool learning environment for children.
1. You don't want strangers to choose your children's educational materials and curricula.
School curricula is chosen by school boards and committees, educators and others, but those decisions may or may not be based on what is best for children. The choices may be influenced by special interest groups, by budget constraints, or by the lure of federal monies in exchange for using a particular curriculum.
What does this mean for parents who prefer their children to learn about reading and the language arts by reading classic books rather than government documents? What if you don't want your kindergartner to participate in "family life" (sex education) classes? Choosing to homeschool is usually the best answer to questions such as these.
Choose Your Own Curriculum
The beauty of homeschooling is the home educator chooses what courses to include and which to exclude from a child's educational plan. Each curriculum can be evaluated on its own merits, and the home educator can even design an personalized course of study if necessary. Additionally, they decide when children are ready for each course of study.
Set Your Own Classroom Routines
If you'd like to start every home school day with a pledge of allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag, or the Bible, you can choose to do so. Homeschool educators have the perfect solution for bringing prayer back to schools; they simply make it a part of their everyday classroom routine.
States With Parental Rights Laws
2. It's Your God-given Right
God assigned the duty for educating children to parents, not to schools or the government.
The Bible has much to say about how child are to be educated. The following scriptures are offered as a guide to get you started, but before you make a decision about homeschooling, search the scriptures for yourself until you are satisfied about God's will for you in this matter.
- In Deuteronomy 4:9, and 6:6-9, parents are exhorted to teach their children God's commandments as well as what they have learned about God. They are encouraged to talk about these commandments, post them on the door frames of their homes and the city gates, and tie them as symbols on their hands and foreheads. (This latter commandment refers to the Jewish practice of binding bags—also known as phylacteries—containing scripture verses from Exodus and Deuteronomy to their arms and heads. )
- Proverbs 22:6 tells parents to teach children God's ways from early childhood so that when they are old, they will still be following his commandments.
- Proverbs 4:3-5 is an illustration of a father teaching his child to seek wisdom and follow his father's commandments. The son is instructed to hear and obey his father's words and assured that wisdom will love and protect him.
- Ephesians 6:4 instructs fathers to raise children in Christian discipline without exasperating them. (The word used here for fathers could be translated parents according to Bible Gateway; the phrase "exasperating them" could be translated "without making them bitter".)
States With Religious Freedom Restoration Acts
3. You can work within your family's dynamics, not against them.
Many parents decide to homeschool because they don't want their children making long bus commutes twice a day or because of a child's disability. Long commute times can lead to sleep deprivation in children (or parents), and affect the quality of a family's life, especially if the family includes one or more special needs children.
4. Your children become independent thinkers who love to learn.
Unfortunately, most American schools have moved to the model of teaching to the test, with the Standards of Learning (SOLs) being the gold standard for assessing progress. Most of the school year is invested in training children to take and to pass these SOLs, which means real academic learning is relegated to second place.
In some cases, according to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, subjects such as art, physical education, social studies or science are abbreviated or even dropped because of pressure to train children on the materials needed to pass the SOLs.
Many parents opt for homeschooling because they want their children to be equipped with critical thinking skills and useable knowledge versus being able to fill in the right bubble on an SOL test. They do this by providing rich learning environments with lots of hands-on activities, field trips and experiments in addition to classroom work and textbook study.
What's Your Opinion on Homeschooling?
Would you consider homeschooling your children?
5. Your children develop marketable life skills.
Most schools are not graduating students with marketable skills according to William J. Bennett and David Wilezol, authors of Is College Worth It?
In their own words, "In today's colleges, much of what is taught in the humanities and social science is nonsense (or nonsense on stilts), politically tendentious, and worth little in the marketplace and for the enrichment of your mind or soul. " As a former United States Secretary of Education, Mr. Bennett has the credentials to speak to this subject with authority.
A desire to equip children with marketable skills that will enable them to live financially fulfilling lives is another reason for homeschooling many parents and guardians have embraced. Parents observe their children's skills, abilities, and preferences and help them acquire the education and training necessary to work in occupations that match their demonstrated strengths.
6. You pass on your culture and heritage in whatever way you choose.
Children in a home schooling environment learn by example, so whatever morals, values and ethics you hold dear and exhibit in your daily life and behaviors are the influences that shape their characters and mold their integrity.
7. Your children learn under an umbrella of safety.
Homeschooled children are safe from bullies, peer pressure and criticism, drug and substance abuse, and random acts of violence. They learn in a nurturing environment where they are affirmed and their self-worth and value as individuals is acknowledged.
8. Children received a personalized rather than one-size-fits-all education.
Standardized curricula and rigid classroom teaching methods are designed for making teaching to the masses easier and more effective. Unfortunately, the child who cannot keep up with the group or has specialized learning needs may be left behind by such cookie cutter methods.
Homeschool educators design educational programs to teach to the areas of children's weakness while building on their areas of strength. They can teach to each child's individual learning style, and children have the freedom to learn at their own pace rather than feeling stressed to keep up with a group.
Additionally, home educators have the flexibility to offer their children richer learning experiences by immersing them in cultural, historical or other unique academic pursuits that would not be offered in the traditional classroom.
9. The choices of how and when your child is socialized are made by you, not some autonomous government agency.
Homeschooling your children allows you to decide when to introduce sensitive and sometimes controversial subjects such as puberty, sexuality and so on. Participation in group events or cooperative studies is done on a scale that suits your child's needs rather than the demands of some arbitrary academic schedule.
As parents or guardians, you choose the social contacts you deem most appropriate for your child. This allows you to filter out negative influences on susceptible youngsters until they are mature enough to handle them appropriately.
A good example of this is a family that doesn't allow the use of profane language doesn't not have to worry about children learning these words in a home school environment, but their children could be exposed to that type of language in an unmonitored group environment.
Socialization Choices: A Benefit of Homeschooling
10. Your child is educated holistically: academically, spiritually and physically.
The purpose here is not to debate whether public or private schools are the best academic venue for educating children, but to raise the question of whether they are the best choice for parents and guardians who want their children educated in other areas as well as academics such as religion or mental and physical wellness.
Homeschooling allows you to choose the depth of immersion you want your children to have in each of these areas. If you want your children to reach a higher degree of spiritual development, you can incorporate more religious studies into their individual educational plan so your children's spiritual development happens by design in a homeschool environment rather than being left to chance. On the other hand, it may be more important to you to strike a balance in all three areas rather than focusing on one. As the educator, the choice is yours.
Finally, you can include family, extended family and even friends in your child's homeschool learning program. As you can see in the photos below, home economics is way more fun when it's hands-on and taught by great-grandma!
Homeschool Home Economics Is Tasty Fun!
11. Homeschooling is healthier for children.
No matter how conscientious you are as a parent, it's difficult to provide children with healthy boxed lunches 5 days a week for every week they attend school. Additionally, even if you pack the most nutritious lunches and snacks your budget allows, how do you know whether they are eating the food, trading it with others, or simply throwing it away?
By preparing and serving them meals and snacks every day, you can monitor their nutritional health as well as their academic health and ensure even the pickiest eaters are eating well-balanced meals.
Most schools incorporate physical education into their curriculum but especially as children grow older, the physical education classes may be only one or two times per week or alternated with health classes.
Homeschoolers have the freedom to exercise and be physically active every day, and they can also choose from a wider range of physical activities. Want to go rock climbing at the local rock climbing wall or skating at an ice rink? Go ahead - it's your choice.
Homeschooled children experience less stress because they take their tests, quizzes and assessments in a relaxed atmosphere rather than in a classroom under pressure to finish within the allotted timeframe.
States With the Fewest Homeschool Restrictions
12. Homeschooling is your constitutional right.
Many homeschoolers believe the Ninth and Tenth Amendment guarantees their right to choose how their children are educated.
Ninth and Tenth Amendments
In a nutshell, the Ninth amendment reserves to the people the unenumerated powers, while the Tenth amendment reserves to the states and the people those powers not delegated to the United States, or prohibited to it by the states.
Many also believe the First Amendment, which among other things addresses freedom of speech and religion, also protects and establishes their constitutional right to homeschool.
Important Supreme Court Rulings
For general reference, it's interesting to note that in 1923, the Supreme Court made two landmark rulings regarding parents and homeschooling.
- In the case of Meyer v Nebraska, their ruling was that parents have the right to decide how their children are raised and educated.
- In the case of Pierce v Society of Sisters, their ruling was that a state law which forced children to attend public school violated parental rights to control children's education and upbringing. While these are not the only rulings of the Supreme Court about parental rights, they most likely set the precedence for future cases.
Do Your Homework
However, a key element to keep in mind is the section about the "not delegated powers being reserved to the states..." If you want to homeschool your child, it's in your best interest to check with your state to see if your right to homeshool is protected or abridged by your state constitution.
States With The Most Homeschool Restrictions
13. Just Because You Can...
As we've seen here, there are a multitude of reasons for homeschooling, and they cover many facets of a family's emotional, spiritual and physical makeup. Homeschooling is not the right choice for every child and every family, but it is encouraging to know that we live in a country that empowers us to make the best choices for our families, and we can choose to homeschool...just because we have the freedom to choose.
- Undisclosed author, "Phylacteries," Jewish Encyclopedia
- Undisclosed author, "Parent's Reasons for Homeschooling," Homeschooling in the United States (2003), National Center for Education Statistics
- Undisclosed author, "The Dangerous Consequences of High-Stakes Standardized Testing," FairTest,
- Irons, Dawn Michelle, "When Government Intervention Becomes Excessive: The Rights of States versus the Rights of Parents," Family Rights
- Bennett, William J. and Wilezol, David, Is College Worth It?, pg viii, Thomas Nelson, copyright 2013
Information in the tables "States with Religious Freedom Restoration Acts," "States with the Fewest Homeschool Restrictions," and "States with the Most Homeschool Restrictions" was compiled from "Summary of Laws"
© 2013 Donna Cosmato