One of the somewhat less discussed reasons to homeschool a child is because of family values. What does this mean? It means that the family unit believes in certain values, certain practices and certain ways of being, and that they don’t feel that those values are being kept in the school system.
While some might argue that homeschooling shelters children from the real world, and that it’s important for them to be exposed to the world at large, homeschooling parents don’t necessarily agree. They believe that their children can become just as confident and loving (or maybe more so) and just as social without those influences. These homeschooling parents see the family unit as the most important part of the child’s life and they want to encourage that connection and foster it.
Rather than sitting in the classroom with the classroom furniture, the computer tables and the other equipment, they believe that they can create a warm and nurturing environment at home. This environment might include bean bags instead of classroom desks, science experiments in the kitchen, day trips with the kids and more.
While there are many ways to argue this point, the important thing is if the parents believe that they are instilling their values in the child and if they feel that they are holding up the sanctity of their family unti.
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Contrary to popular belief, attending school is not a legal requirement in the U.S. All children must be educated, however. KidsHealth.org explains that “when parents believe their can give their children a better education- or have other reasons for not wanting to send their kids to a local school (religious instruction, for example)- they may choose homeschooling.”
A common misconception is that homeschooling is easier and less demanding than regular schooling. However, the opposite is often true. Though home-based education is less traditional, the material covered is the same as that in a regular classroom. Sometimes, the level of education is even higher, depending on the instructing parents or tutors. Homeschooling does tend to be more hands-on, with an increased number of field trips, science experiments and crafts. The environment often changes as well, ranging from a school desk at home to a creek or forest to a local library or museum.
Homeschooling parents often turn to pre-packaged curriculums for their children. However, this approach can be unnecessarily expensive, especially if there is more than one child studying at home. Instead, some parents have taken to creating their own education resources and environments with school desks and small school chairs.
Here are some tips for setting up your own curriculum:
- Start with what you have
- Look for standard household supplies that can fill in for more specialized materials
- Do it yourself
- Get to know your library system
- Find the gems on the Internet
- Take advantage of learning opportunities available through local schools, colleges, museums, youth organizations and business
- Collect books, craft materials, educational toys and games used or at a discount
- Do your homework before investing in a textbook, an online school or a packaged curriculum
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Choosing to homeschool your children is an important decision. It involves quite a lot of planning and preparation, so it is best to begin the process slowly while creating a relaxed learning environment.
About.com offers some starter tips:
Start by collecting resources you already own, or can borrow, buy, or access online. These include books, globes, calculators, measuring cups, rulers and tape measures, art supplies, and internet access. You may also have a computer table, small school chairs and other furniture that will enhance your child’s new learning environment.
Next, explore local community resources. Look into enrichment programs, teachers and organizations in your area, and don’t forget to take full advantage of your local library!
Make sure to organize your household and set up a schedule for daily chores. Have your children pitch in with cleaning tasks, and share other responsibilities with your spouse. Collect organizing tips and easy recipes to make your life easier, and always ask for help if you start to feel overwhelmed! An organized, relaxed household will enhance your children’s homeschool experience.
Last, start a record of your homeschooling experience. In some cases this is a requirement, but every parent can benefit from this in many ways. An organized record can help you keep track of your progress, plan future lessons, and even compare notes and insights with fellow homeschooling friends, local groups and online forums.
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Many people have misconceptions about home schooling and about exactly what it looks like for a family. They assume that they child is sitting at his school furniture desk in his home all day long, learning just as he would be in the classroom.
Many families, however, select to home school because it can broaden the child’s horizons, rather than limit them. When done correctly, home schooling can allow students to get out into their communities more than other children might. They can use the resources at local museums, libraries, businesses, marinas and other locations as part of their educational endeavors.
In addition, in many areas today there are enough people home schooling that they can combine efforts. This could mean that the students learn together in small groups at one family’s home, creating a small classroom of sorts with school furniture in this location. Or, it could mean that they create ways to do after school programs together. So they can get out after their learning and enjoy art or sports together.
There are many possibilities and ways to engage the home schooled child that aren’t part of the traditional methods of learning. Since the child is not in a regular classroom, there is also more time and ability to travel, showing the student an historical location when they learn about history, for instance. Of course not every family has the money for this, but it certainly has an impact on the child to show them the Washington Monument when they learn about America’s founding.
Many people hear the words home schooling and they assume that it includes a child sitting at home all day with his parents. While this is certainly one way to do home school, it’s not the only way. And home schooling isn’t only for unruly kids who can’t fit into the school system or for children who are outsiders or outliers.
Home schooling has become a booming area of interest for many, with more than 1 million kids educated at home today in America. There are many reasons that parents select to home school their children and to set up school furniture, classroom chairs and other items in their own homes rather than in the school environment.
There are many reasons that people home school. Some do so because they believe that students can have more intense learning when they are in a 1-1 environment. Some home school so that their child can accelerate in areas of interest and have less focus on areas that aren’t as interesting. Most parents who homeschool believe that their ability to focus on one or a few children allows for much more focused learning and much less need to deal with behavior issues and commotion that is common in a larger classroom.
In some situations, it isn’t even the parents who are in charge of their child’s education at home. It could be that a few families get together to home school their children. They create a learning environment at one home with computer tables, classroom tables and other necessary items and they hire a teacher to be in charge of the student learning.
Certainly, home schooling isn’t for every family or every child; it isn’t something to write off immediately, however, as there is much more to it than some people assume.