As a homeschooling parent, I would like to raise awareness of the benefits and challenges of homeschooling your children.
National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) suggests that there are over 2,3 million homeschooled students in the United States, and even though the form of education appeared to be “alternative” a decade ago, it’s now becoming main stream in the United States. Research also states that the home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests (nheri.org 2019). Even though there’s various reasons for homeschooling, my experience is that families who choose this path for their children wants a more “hands on” education”, and a more individualized curricula and learning environment for their children.
The experience of freedom and the value of independence over set learning outcomes, such as standardized testing in traditional education, is why I chose homeschooling. Inspired by experience, I have gathered 3 main topics common for all homeschooled families – that can support children towards their true purpose;
The freedom of thought
- In current education, the most common practice is to teach students based on a standarlized curricula, ensuring that all students aquire the same information & learning goals. However, “the freedom of thought” gives homeschooled families the opportunity to value children’s unique interests, hence supporting them on their life path. One practical way of nurturing ‘the free thought’, is to give children time to be curious and to self-evaluate their own learning. Also, to allow children to participate in the decision of what to learn and how.
The freedom of individual achievements
- Teach children from a young age that their own unique achievements should only be compared with their own development. Teach them how to trust their inner validations & motivation. By focusing upon co-creation, as the opposite of competition, children will learn, grow and evaluate their own learning progress, inspired by their dreams and goals in life.
The freedom of individualized pedagogy
- Whether your child likes to read & write, have creative talents, or like a more ‘hands on’ approach to learning, you will gain an unique perspective on different learning strategies by homeschooling your child. Different long-term strategies for learning will support your child to self-evaluate and strengthen their ability to reflect upon their own learning. Contrary, traditional education tend to value temporarily learning strategies for children to acquire information quickly and to pass tests or assignments for short term goals.
How does homeschooling then differ from traditional education, and what are the challenges you may face? Even though homeschooling may in fact be “the fastest-growing form of education in the United States” (nheri.org 2019), parents may still hesitate or delay the process of homeschooling for several reasons. I gathered 3 main areas for discussion, on how to best face the challenges you may meet as a homeschooling parent.
3 challenges that you can turn into victory for your homeschooling experience;
The challenge of time
- Parents usually have full time jobs & find it difficult to even think about educating their own children. Instead of focusing upon the lack of time, focus upon co-creation. You can teach your child self-learning strategies, so they learn how to tutor them selves (this may require some time and motivation for a student). You can also participate in co-creative groups with other home-schooled parents and children. That way, you can share the responsibility of homeschooling.
- You want your child to thrive academically and may worry that you are “good enough” as a parent to teach your child. You are not expected to be a professional teacher as a homeschooled parent. you can hire private teachers and mentors in subjects that requires extra attention. In addition to teaching your child alone or in groups.
- You may worry about your child’s social life. This can be another good reason for co-teaching your homeschooling children in a community where they can be with peers, and where you as a parent can gain necessary insights & inspiration for tutoring your child at home. Several children will thrive better socially when taken out of public schools, because some may feel more energized to socialize when their energy is not focused only upon the demands of education. Also keep in mind that the homeschooling period is often only a percentage of the child’s life and will give your child other benefits, such as becoming independent; knowing who they are, their likes and dislikes and learning to become “their own best friend”.
In regards of both challenges and benefits of homeschooling, I believe there’s several pathways for a child to take in order to thrive in life. Regardless of chosen educational pathway, their goals and inspiration will strengthen when they follow a pathway of freedom, inspired by their inner motivation! Homeschooling can support children on their life path, because they will value education and life as one.