Have you ever thought about homeschooling? Without getting into politics, I’ll tell you that it’s been on my mind a lot the last few days and leave it at that. I know a lot of parents who homeschool for many different reasons, but up until recently, it was something I only thought about in passing. Whether you’re thinking about it yourself or just wondering why people opt to go that route, I have a fabulous guest today to share the reasons why people homeschool (and how to make it work!). Check it out!
by Kimberly Truong
Parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of different reasons. Homeschooling today is a very different experience from how it was years ago. With how advanced and accessible technology is to nearly everyone, homeschooling is just as much as effective as traditional schooling is today.
I remember when I was in high school, I had only learned how homeschooling worked when I saw a girl come into my school’s office one afternoon I happened to be in there as well. Her mom gave the secretary a box full of files, and the secretary gave their girl back another neat little file. After the secretary explained to me the girl comes to the school every few weeks to get schoolwork, she completes it all in her own time and comes back to take the test. Then when she is done, she gets another box full of schoolwork. I don’t really know how it worked “back then,” but what those were what my 14-year-old eyes saw. The only thing I know now is… it is nothing like that now.
Students no longer need to go pick up a box full of schoolwork every few weeks from the local high school. Homeschooling programs are now built on the same platforms as online college courses, creating curriculums that encompass some of the same basic requirements to complete a class. Everything that needs to be achieved in a traditional classroom, needs to be achieved in an online homeschool program as well.
The platform for online high school courses is similar to online college courses. There are weekly assignments due via the internet. These assignments can include
- Written papers
- Discussion board posts and responses to interact with other students
- Online software for STEM subjects (that may or may not need to be purchased separately if the student is attending a private school)
- Attending live online sessions when the teacher would give weekly lectures on that week’s lesson(s)
Many homeschool students and their parents enjoy the flexibility this option gives them. It is still recommended (like working at home) that students wake up at the same time morning, get ready and get dressed for school, but the flexibility let’s them fit in other parts of their lives that also contribute to their education into their schedule—such as dance practice, acting auditions and jobs and music rehearsals.
Online homeschool programs have also given students the option not to travel all over the country with their families, but all over the world.
While we all agree political beliefs belong in the public classroom as much as religion does, (note: it doesn’t) it still exists. Many parents don’t mind the extra lessons on current events as long as personal views are not too extremely implemented or pushed upon their children. Some feel the responsibilities of teachers ends at math, language arts, science and history and the responsibility for the social and spiritual beliefs of a child falls on the parents and his or her religious leaders.
WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT?
Don’t be. Just like traditional schooling, your child’s social development is much more dependent on the peers their parents surround them with and the outside opportunities that are given to them.
Simply being in a traditional school does not guarantee your child is being exposed to all the different social dynamics that will help prepare him or her for the real world. All children need to be in extracurricular activities beyond the classroom. This includes sports in and outside of school, groups that promote community service as well as self-growth such as The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Make sure your child is a part of one or two social groups. After all, this is also a part of his or her education.
Many students who homeschool travel with their family at their leisure. There is no need to wait for summer months to travel the world and learn about other countries, cultures and religions. This is a part of your child’s education as well—learning beyond the classroom. With the opportunities and resources, traveling is one of the best ways to learn about nearly every subject in the book.
Just because you opt to homeschool your child, doesn’t mean they are alone in their education. Many parents try and help their children in their schoolwork as best as they can. However, no matter how much you love your child, not having the proper training and/or education can prove the task truly frustrating.
Homeschool tutors are just like your child’s own private teachers. They should be educated and qualified in the subjects being taught as well as trained in traditional teaching. They can help your child by answering just a few questions he or she has, or they can take over and teach an entire lesson if you feel the online lectures don’t help your child at all. Some online teachers have a blended program in which they teach by giving live lectures, posting notes or simply assigning videos on a subject to watch. A teacher’s time online is limited. It takes time for a teacher to answer questions via email. YouTube videos don’t answer all questions, and pre-written notes don’t answer follow-up questions.
A homeschool tutor can help your child beyond the virtual classroom. They are not with your child 8 hours a day. After all, you can send them to traditional school if that was what you were looking for. Instead, you can set certain days and times with the tutor, either at the beginning, the middle or the end of the week according to what your child needs. There are benefits of scheduling homeschool tutors during different times of the week.
Many worry about their children’s success in homeschooling. Many worry about their children’s success in traditional schooling. Of course, you want your child to pass all their classes, but you also want them to learn all they can. Passing the class and actually learning concepts and lessons that will benefit them for the rest of their lives are two different things.
If your child is getting straight As—you may be wondering if your child really does understand everything or if the material is just too easy and not as intricate as the curriculum set in a traditional classroom. If your child is struggling—you may wonder if there is a flaw in the program and your child is just part of the initial test group of a beta-program. Either way, you want your child to be able to compete and succeed in the world with the education you provide for them.
A professional eye on the outside can help assess if your child really is getting the education he or she needs to competitively succeed after high school.
IS HOMESCHOOLING RIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD?
It depends on what you are looking for. We are all looking for our own children to get the best education possible. That can be found in both traditional schooling and in homeschooling programs. However, beyond that—what are you looking for?
About Kimberly: Kimberly is a private tutor in Orange County, CA. She works with elementary students, high school, college and adult students teaching English, Spanish, science, math and ESL. She has her bachelor’s degree in English and her MBA. She will soon have her CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Cambridge and will be licensed to teach English worldwide, but plans to teach English at the University level at home. Learn more about her here.