The idea of homeschooling has been around since the 1970s, but has definitely picked up due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the academic year 2020-21, many parents have considered it as an alternative to regular schooling. Homeschooling has changed significantly over the last 50 years- laws surrounding it have been amended, resources are now more available, and the general attitude towards it as a whole has shifted. As this acceptance of homeschooling has grown, the flaws seen in traditional school systems (underfunding, lack of control over curriculum, limited focus on each individual’s education) have become more highlighted as well, prompting more parents to take the decision to switch to homeschooling. Below we take a look at why homeschooling has seen a sharp spike in recent years.
- A modern mindset towards homeschooling
In 1998, federal laws in the USA changed to provide funding eligibility to homeschooled students looking to gain acceptance into colleges and universities. Additionally, employers and military branches of the US Armed Forces have also seen a growth in favorability towards homeschooled children than in the past. This increased acceptance has provided homeschooling with an improved status and confirmed that these children are receiving a viable and valid education.
- The desire to remove their child from a negative school environment
The highest rated reason that parents choose to homeschool over sending their child to a public school is the negative environment of the school. Many parents are concerned about bullying, as it is frequently difficult for parents to know if their child is on the receiving end of bullying in school or online by classmates. Many incidents of bullying can be dismissed by teachers and go unreported, leading to low grades, self esteem issues, disturbed sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, body image issues, and more.
In addition to this, in the United States, school shootings have risen in number over recent years. In many cases, news of a school shooting can push parents over the edge and make the decision to homeschool.
- Parents want their child to have a higher quality of education
Many parents feel the quality of education provided by public schools has declined over the years- due to reduced state education budgets, and increase in the number of students attending the school, and many other factors. They feel the curriculum is not providing the necessary knowledge and skills for their children to succeed in life and be academically ready for college.
Homeschooling allows parents more control over what their children are learning, as they can use a state approved curriculum and provide a more personalized instruction.
In recent years, homeschooled children have over all scored better than on standardized tests, regardless of their parents income or prior experience in teaching.
- Working on your child’s socialization
Homeschooling allows parents more control over their children’s social interactions and activities. Due to the flexibility of a homeschooling curriculum, parents are able to engage in more activities outside the home, such as visiting museums, historical sites, parks, and community engagement programs.
This can often improve psychological and emotional development in children and strengthen familial connections. When parents transform the world around their child into a classroom, they gain a greater awareness about their environment and develop a strong sense of civic responsibility.
- Wanting to provide moral or religious instruction
In homeschooling, children are receiving an education that lines up with the values of their parents. In a public setting, classrooms are filled with children who have different values, making learning in line with your families beliefs impossible. Parents are able to reinforce what they believe is important- which results in greater freedom for the parents, but it must be kept in mind that there is a much higher level of accountability as well, as your child will be shaped by what you teach them. This can apply for both moral or religious values.
- Providing support for a learning disabled or special needs child
Due to the vast number of children in a public school, children with learning disabilities or special needs can have a difficult time receiving the attention they require to truly thrive. Many schools lack the resources and time required to truly help a child who is struggling.
However, in homeschooling, parents can use specialized educational tools that are tailored to their child’s specific needs and help them gain the knowledge and skills they need. An appropriate learning environment for your child’s special needs can be created, with learning being more focused on consistent progress than more arbitrary concepts such as grades.
- Improved learning
One-on-one teaching allows for quicker learning, and also leans towards child-led learning. The pace is set by your child and their understanding of the subject, rather than your child being pushed to follow a classroom’s pace. Homeschoolers have the opportunity to customize their education for each child, giving allowances for their different learning styles as well as strengths and weaknesses.
- A flexible schedule
The flexibility provided by homeschooling is a major reason that parents lean towards it. They are able to work around their schedule, plan holidays and activities, and be more spontaneous than those adhering to a school schedule.
- The availability of homeschooling resources
The advent of the Internet has significantly changed the resources that the public have access to- applying across all fields. This now includes homeschooling resources that are vital to a holistic education as well as support groups that ensure homeschooling families and students have a community to rely on. Resources include apps, educational and instructional computer games, online curriculums, and online schools and classes.