Why do families homeschool? That is like asking the question, “Why do families live in Orlando, Florida “or “Why do families have certain standards?” Every family has a different reason or a number of reasons for all of these questions! If you asked 1000 homeschool parents why they choose to teach at home, although you may get some similar responses, I can guarantee that you would not find two families that have identical feelings on the matter!
No One Reason
That does not mean, however, that explaining “why” is impossible. Although each family has a different answer to this question, many of the motives are similar. Perhaps it is about family values. Perhaps it has to do with a child’s particular learning style. Maybe it is about time – time together and time for learning things that are important to the child. Or maybe it is simply about curriculum choice.
The homeschool adventure begins with a different focus for each family, but the advantages are pervasive: parents as value-setters, customized curricula, attainment of individual goals, and closer family ties.
Top 35 Reasons Families Homeschool
Still wondering about why? Here are the top 35 reasons that others choose to homeschool. Which ones resonate with you?
1. Spend more time together as a family.
2. Spend more time with children when they are rested and fresh rather than tired and cranky from school.
3. Avoid having to struggle to get children to do the tedious busywork.
4. Allow children to have time for more in-depth study than what is allowed in school.
5. Allow children to learn at their own pace – not too slow or too fast.
6. Allow children to work at a level that is appropriate to their own developmental stage. Skills and concepts can be introduced at the right time for that child.
7. Provide long, uninterrupted blocks of time for writing, reading, playing, thinking, or working so that the child is able to engage in sophisticated, complex activities and thought processes.
8. Encourage the child to develop the ability to pace her/himself.
9. Spend a lot of time out-of-doors.
10. Children learn to help more with household chores, developing a sense of personal responsibility. More time spent on household responsibilities strengthens family bonds because people become more committed to things they have invested in (in this case, by working for the family.
11. Children learn life skills, such as cooking, in a natural way, by spending time with adults who are engaged in those activities.
12. Time is available for more nonacademic pursuits such as art or music.
13. Children will learn to design their own education and take responsibility for it.
14. Children will realize that learning can take place in a large variety of ways.
15. Children will learn to seek out assistance from many alternative sources, rather than relying on a classroom teacher to provide all the answers.
16. A more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle is possible when families do not feel the necessity to supplement school during after-school and week-end hours.
17. Learning can be more efficient since methods can be used that suit a child’s particular learning style.
18. Children can learn to work for internal satisfaction rather than for external rewards.
19. Children will not be motivated to “take the easy way out” by doing just enough work to satisfy their teacher. They will learn to be their own judge of the quality of their own work.
20. Children will be more willing to take risks and be creative since they do not have to worry about being embarrassed in front of peers.
21. Peer pressure will be reduced.
22. Social interactions will be by choice and based on common interests. Friends can be more varied, not just with the child’s chronological age peer group who happen to go to the same school.
23. Field trips can be taken on a much more frequent basis and can be much more enjoyable and more productive when not done with a large school group.
24. Volunteer service activities can be included in the family’s regular schedule.
25. Scheduling can be flexible, allowing travel during less expensive and less crowded off-peak times.
26. Religious and special family days can be planned and celebrated.
27. Feedback on children’s work will be immediate and appropriate. It can be much more useful than just marking answers incorrect or giving grades.
28. Testing is optional.
29. Grading is unnecessary. Understanding and knowledge are the rewards for studying, rather than grades (or stickers, or teacher’s approval, etc.).
30. Children can be consistently guided in a family’s values and can learn them by seeing and participating in parents’ daily lives.
31. Children will learn to devote their energy and time to activities that THEY think are worthwhile.
32. Children do not have to wait until they are grown to begin to seriously explore their passions; they can start living now.
33. Children’s education can be more complete than what schools offer.
34. Children with special needs will be encouraged to reach their full potential.
35. Children will be safer from gangs, drugs, and guns.
1-2-3…Count the Advantages
1. Socialization Benefits: What? This is the main reason that people say you shouldn’t homeschool! I contend, however, that homeschooling offers socialization benefits that public schools can’t offer. By participating in community life, homeschooled children feel comfortable with a wide variety of people. They are not age-segregated all day and therefore, can interact with people of all ages. Many people who come into contact with homeschooled kids remark on how easy it is to talk with them.
2. Less Stress: Yes, homeschooling can be stressful, but it is a stress that can be managed by what you do at home. Those that homeschool find that the lack of nightly homework stress is a big relief! Add to that the fact that schedules are loosened – no bus departures and arrivals, no specific attendance days, no particular hours – and you definitely find a less stressed atmosphere.
3. Teach to the Child: A homeschooled child can be taught in a manner that is best for the child. They can learn the things that interest them most and develop talents in ways not possible in the confining structure of public school. Homeschooling encourages development of a child’s own individuality.
This is just a sampling of the benefits of homeschooling. There are many, many more. The benefits are as individualistic as the reasons for homeschooling. Why? Because no two homeschooling families are the same!