What to Consider When Considering Homeschool
As you find yourself in the throes of a new school year, I know many of you parents are already frustrated. Your child is back around kids who have a negative influence on him. The teachers are assigning too much homework. Your child is returning from school in tears. You may already be wondering—is this the right place for my child?
Of course, you have to give these transitions time. Everyone—students, teachers, parents—needs to adjust, get back on a schedule, and get some more sleep if possible. But for some of you, alternatives to public and private schools might be a serious consideration and conversation you are having in your home. While there are stigmas around homeschooling, concerns about a child’s socialization or quality of education, my experience with children coming to my practice who have been homeschooled has been overwhelmingly positive.
Children who have been homeschooled often exhibit strong self-confidence, make eye contact better and have a higher respect for their parents and adults in general. They are also better at communicating with adults because they are more accustomed to being around them. They also often have stronger and healthier relationships with their siblings and parents because they have more opportunities to spend quality time together.
But don’t just take my word for it. Homeschooling in the U.S. is on the rise. What was nearly nonexistent just a few decades ago is now becoming a popular alternative to public and private education in our country. It’s estimated that 3.4% of children in U.S. grades K through 12 are homeschooled. From 2010 to 2016 the number of children who were homeschooled in the U.S. grew from two million to 2.3 million, and that number continues to grow.
The beginning of the homeschool movement can be traced to the 1970s when the Supreme Court ruled that removing prayer from schools was not unconstitutional, leading groups of Christians to take their children out of the public school system. Today, all kinds of families homeschool who come from all kinds of religions, ethnicities and backgrounds.
A few more positives to consider regarding homeschooling:
Less Negative Peer Influences
You can’t protect your child from all negative peer influences but homeschooling your child could significantly reduce how many negative influences your child is exposed to and the amount of time she could spend with peers like this.
More One-on-One Tutoring
You have probably all witnessed the difference it makes in your child’s homework and test scores when he has one-on-one attention, whether it’s from you, a teacher or a tutor. The homeschool environment offers this type of educational opportunity for your child—something that data shows is beneficial to academic performance. Homeschool students score 72 points higher than the national average on the SAT.
More Opportunities for Great Field Trips
When you homeschool your child, you set the schedule, not the school. This means if you want to go on a weeklong field trip to see Yosemite National Park in the middle of October, you can. Of course, your field trips don’t have to be this extravagant. You can take your child to your local museum or library during the off hours when they aren’t as crowded. You can go for a hike and observe foliage and wildlife. Or you could go see a documentary at your local indie movie theater. The possibilities are endless and you get to decide when and where to go.
Ultimately, every parent knows what is best for his or her child, but don’t let the fears or the unknowns of homeschool turn you off to it. There are many benefits and for some children, homeschooling will be the best way to build self-esteem and improve academic performance.