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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?As a professional educator I think I probably...

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catd1115 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM via web

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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?

As a professional educator I think I probably have the typical teacher view on home schooling. I worry that parents aren't qualified (especially as their children get older), that not enough time is truly being laid aside for learning time, that kids are missing out on important lessons of socialization and how to work in a society outside your home. That being said, I am very curious to know what the advantages of home schooling are. Why do parents and/or students choose it? What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school? How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?

I would love to hear from any home schoolers or anyone in general who has had a positive experience with it. Also, are there statistics out there about the success of home schooled children later on  in life?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 8:27 AM (Answer #2)

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I was home schooled for a bit, but that was in pretty special circumstances -- living in a place where the schools weren't conducted in English.

As far as the advantages go, you have really small class sizes with (if you are lucky) a very good teacher.  My mom was a great teacher who later taught middle school and HS science when we came back to the US.  She was teaching just my older brother and me and could give us lots of time and personalized attention.

Outside of that, there is always the attraction of having your kids taught the way you want them to be, not the way some stranger does.  This goes both for the pedagogical style and for the content of the teaching (here where I now live, it is a very conservative area where many people would like their kids to receive a Christian education but do not live close enough to a place with a private school).

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:33 AM (Answer #3)

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I would say a major advantage of home schooling is that students can learn at their own pace and parents can adapt instruction to the interests/needs of their own children. As long as parents follow standards and hold students to or above the same educational expectations as their public grade level, home schooling is a good option for some.

I know this isn't part of your original topic, but I do think there are some social disadvantages of home schooling, though they can be remedied with extra-curricular activities like team sports, 4-H or Girl/Boy scouts.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:33 AM (Answer #4)

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I don't home school my children, but I have several friends who do, and I personally see many benefits.  Granted, I am also a teacher, and have had my share of teaching home schooled children who are socially awkward and severely deficient in the basics.  So, I have seen both sides.  The difference, I find, definitely lies in the parents, their motivations for home-schooling, their own personal education qualifications, and in their dedication.

One benefit that I have seen first-hand is that home-schooled children can move at their own pace.  Because of this, they often are way ahead of their peers that go to school every day.  The children of the friends I have that home school are academically much more advanced than the students I teach.

Another benefit is that each child receives one-on-one instruction that is specifically targeted to their learning style, pace, and even their personal interests.  If a child really likes science, for example, the English curriculum can use science-oriented novels or texts to teach the core curriculum.  Specifically tweaking the subject matter like that for each kid is very difficult in a classroom of 35 students.

As mentioned above, another benefit is that the parents can choose the subject matter.  I know that many people might find that to be a disadvantage, but if the parents are educated and skilled at critical thinking, I have found that the subject matter they pick provides a much more balanced and thorough perspective than many of the teachers that I have taken have provided.

To make up for the social experiences that they are missing from school, the people that I know have children that are highly involved in church, community and neighborhood organizations.  They constantly play with others, are in classes in other capacities, and interact at church and neighborhood functions.  If a parent looks for it, they can find plenty of opportunities for their children to operate in the "real" world; jobs, clubs, sports, play dates, etc.

I'm fortunate to know many home schoolers who are doing an excellent job.  I hope that they are the norm, and not the exception.

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rskardal | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:22 AM (Answer #5)

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A colleague recently presented on findings that homeschooled children tend to perform better on standardized tests than public school students. Perhaps this is the advantage you're looking for?

I suppose we often do imagine the awkward home-schooled student, but my understanding is that many homeschool families are now using the internet to create social opportunities for their children.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM (Answer #6)

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Every home-schooled student I have ever had the pleasure of teaching was head and shoulders above all the others in attention span, work ethic, and reading comprehension.  They also tended to be generally more mature.

From a parent's point of view, homeschooling allows you to teach your students the school curriculum from the vantage point of family values--public schools tend to be more liberal and many of my friends choose to home-school their children because they are conservatives with Christian values.  If you'll check out your local homeschool groups, I think you will find that many of them are teaching from a Christian-based curriculum which also includes the required objectives of the school system. 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM (Answer #7)

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How many British had governesses who taught them?  When watching vintage movies, viewers apprehend that these children were taught Latin, Greek, and many culturally enriching subjects.  And, while the children of the upperclass were probably not going to associate with any other class, whether they interacted with a cross-section of society was of no significance to these parents.  Now, of course, there is some concern about whether children who are home schooled and only associate with children of their same socio-economic class will be able to deal with the diversity of many workplaces. However, other than this concern, the benefits of homeschooling are obvious, as others have stated.  Perhaps, nowadays, the best advantage is that one's child does not have to be deprived of learning time or become anxious or bored while a teacher must attempt to deal with rude, disorderly students about whom the administration will take no effective action, nor are there those who are unable to learn the curriculum but are, nevertheless, in the child's classroom, holding others back since there is "No Child Left Behind," of course, in public education.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM (Answer #8)

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We homeschool our eldest, though that is for many different reasons. However, being a qualified teacher myself, I shared many of the concerns that you raise in #1. However, having read lots of research on homeschooling, in particular looking at the literature of John Holt, I must admit I am a lot more in favour of homeschooling now as compared to traditional schooling. Our 5 month experience (and counting) with our eldest has gone incredibly well. He has leapt ahead in his reading and Maths. As for socialisation, I do share your concerns, but because we are able to do more in less time, our eldest is able to do other things. He is going to be volunteering in an orphanage working with disadvantaged small kids. What better socialisation can you ask for?

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 1:17 PM (Answer #9)

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As a 30 year public education high school English teacher, I have been vehemently opposed to homeschooling.  I felt that most parents simply weren't trained well enough or were disciplined enough to give their children the solid education offered in our school system.  But experience has proved me wrong.  I have yet to teach a homeschooled student who was not  strong in reading, writing, and speaking.  I concur with amy-lepore that these students tend to be quite mature as well.  It seems that quite a bit of time is wasted in elementary school and perhaps beyond in not allowing students to progress at their own pace and in maintaining class discipline. 

Perhaps I am biased, though, when it comes to high school.  By the time students reach high school.  I think they might do better in a more social environment, in high school classrooms that allow debate and discussion.  This type of interaction seems to me to be more efficiently provided by the traditional classroom experience than in the homes.  Further, many teenage students will have outstripped their parents' ability to teach them. 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 6:15 PM (Answer #10)

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There are many reasons for choosing home schooling.  It is important to remember that some children choose to be schooled at home for health or social reasons.  In some cases, it is just because the local schools are so bad.  I have taught in a lot of these schools, and I can't say I blame them.  I have also taught in an online independent study program, and I can say that homeschooling is not for everyone.  The student has to be dedicated and good at time management.  It is so tempting to play video games or get on YouTube and Facebook rather than doing work.  Only with discipline will the student get anything out of homeschooling.

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sbdi2 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM (Answer #11)

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The notion of home schooling saddens me, basically, not just because my thinking echoes the disadvantages mentioned above (especially the socialization problem), but because, in my experience, home schooling is fundamentally elitist in its implementation. The parents' motives usually revolve around religious values, or other familial principles to which the child must adhere. I found, as a college teacher, that a number of parents were also "pushy."  There appears also to be an underlying attitude--my child is uperior or "gifted," so he or she deserves to be in a class by him or herself.  I've had 13-year olds trying to enroll in a college literature class, for example, Mom (usually) at the other end, trying to kick the door down so Jr. can get into Harvard at 15. Yes, there are exceptions to these complaints. But home schooling gives the lie to the democratic notion of education--and that's where I have trouble with it.

On a practical note, both my husband and I had college degrees from Ivy League schools, but we would never have considered home schooling our four children because we weren't qualified in subjects outside our majors. I don't see how anyone would want to substitute his or her limited knowledge of a subject for the fine teachers in that discipline in the public schools.

 

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prashant86 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted February 18, 2011 at 9:31 AM (Answer #12)

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In reply to #1
Home schoolers can cut out all of this unnecessary waiting, and get their work done within two or three hours.

Despite shorter schooling hours, home schoolers have consistently scored at or above average in virtually all subject areas on standardized tests. Studies have shown that children whose parents are directly involved in their education are more apt to excel in academics. Indeed, a home-schooled child is aware of the dedication of his parents to his educational success.
In addition to this, extended periods of time together strengthen family relationships, not only between the child and his parents, but also with his siblings. As they get to know each other, the family members form bonds that last a lifetime. Children tend to adopt the behaviors and values of those around whom they spend the majority of their time. Therefore, it stands to reason that home-schooled children are more likely than their classroom-schooled peers to value the views of their families over the views of their friends. They will find it easier to resist the pressure they get from their friends to break rules because they won't be spending hours of idle time together.


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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:39 AM (Answer #13)

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Homeschooling is actually ideal, if practiced in the most ideal circumstances.  Who knows their kid better than their parent?  What is more efficient than learning in the home, at your own pace and in a comfortable environment.  That being said, I think many people go into homeschooling for political or religious reasons, without realizing how much time and effort it takes to teach.  Online courses are often a poor substitute for learning social skills and personal interaction, and depending on the curriculum that is used, whole subject areas can often be undertaught or overlooked.  I have had some fine students who transitioned into high school from home schooling, and I know some very dedicated parents who do this with their children.  I guess I don't fear or discredit homeschooling or homeschoolers, I just view it as another avenue of education.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted February 22, 2011 at 9:28 AM (Answer #14)

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I have never home schooled my children, although my younger son spent a year in a cyber-school, which often amounted to the same thing.  As  teacher, one advantage I do see is that a student at home can pursue a passion in a way that a school does not and perhaps, cannot allow.  One passionate interest can engender great learning across the board, and schools do not have the resources or time for this kind of individual learning.  One example I can offer, while it is not a homeschooling one, is of my younger son, who became very interested in economics while playing video games.  This led him to do his own reading on economics, which led him to behavioral economics and more.  This great interest taught him not only about economics, but also about math, psychology, business, and statistics.  He also became a more astute and questioning reader and thinker.  Homeschooling provides the best possible environment for this kind of learning.  It is a shame that our schools do not.

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equeenan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM (Answer #15)

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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?

As a professional educator I think I probably have the typical teacher view on home schooling. I worry that parents aren't qualified (especially as their children get older), that not enough time is truly being laid aside for learning time, that kids are missing out on important lessons of socialization and how to work in a society outside your home. That being said, I am very curious to know what the advantages of home schooling are. Why do parents and/or students choose it? What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school? How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?

I would love to hear from any home schoolers or anyone in general who has had a positive experience with it. Also, are there statistics out there about the success of home schooled children later on  in life?

Because my post is too big it will come in stages.

I love the topic of home-schooling! I appreciate the interest from educators who actually ask questions and not just assume the stereotypical home-school clichés. I am in a unique spot to comment on homeschooling because I spent a portion of my childhood home-schooled (up through 5th grade) and the remainder of my education was in public school. I have worked with Child Protective Services, but I am currently a college instructor so I have seen the opinions regarding home-schooling from various angles.  Most importantly, I am a home-schooling mother!

Prior to answering your questions I must put forth the disclaimer that these are being answered solely from my own experience and research!

 

 

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equeenan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM (Answer #16)

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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?

As a professional educator I think I probably have the typical teacher view on home schooling. I worry that parents aren't qualified (especially as their children get older), that not enough time is truly being laid aside for learning time, that kids are missing out on important lessons of socialization and how to work in a society outside your home. That being said, I am very curious to know what the advantages of home schooling are. Why do parents and/or students choose it? What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school? How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?

I would love to hear from any home schoolers or anyone in general who has had a positive experience with it. Also, are there statistics out there about the success of home schooled children later on  in life?

Your first question was “Why do parents and/or students choose it?” We chose home-schooling for numerous reasons. The most important is probably that I loved my homeschooled experience as a child. I loved the time with my parents and I so enjoyed the ability to work at my own pace. I wanted the opportunity to build that same relationship with my own children.

Secondly, having worked in the public school system I have seen the struggles that teachers battle with educating children that are not at the same level and whose parents seem to believe their child’s teacher is also responsible to teach their children manners, morals and everything else. In my experience if school is truly about learning then it is far from the optimal setting. At home there is no peer pressure or social standard that must be maintained. In regards to learning (not social issues) it has been my experience that this creates a far more conducive environment for learning and retention.

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equeenan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:13 PM (Answer #17)

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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?

As a professional educator I think I probably have the typical teacher view on home schooling. I worry that parents aren't qualified (especially as their children get older), that not enough time is truly being laid aside for learning time, that kids are missing out on important lessons of socialization and how to work in a society outside your home. That being said, I am very curious to know what the advantages of home schooling are. Why do parents and/or students choose it? What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school? How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?

I would love to hear from any home schoolers or anyone in general who has had a positive experience with it. Also, are there statistics out there about the success of home schooled children later on  in life?

Your next question was, “What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school?” For our family the highest benefit that comes from home-schooling, would be difficult (but not impossible) to achieve in public school, is the freedom of creativity. For example, when my daughter was struggling with math we played Monopoly once a week and she was the banker. While this did not take the place of her assigned math assignments it did provide the opportunity for extra practice in a non-stressful setting. I do not doubt that teachers also provide creative resources, but they are limited by the number of students that they have to accommodate. Another benefit is that by collaborating with other homeschoolers my children have numerous opportunities that they would not have time for otherwise. Once a week they take Russian from a Russian speaking home-school family. Our local skiing resort offers a home-school day once a week in the winter which my children get to partake in. We have the ability to do school in the afternoons on those days which is great! The homeschoolers in our area have a co-op another day during the week. Our home-school co-op offers elective courses such as sewing, cooking, art, group PE, and sign language.  In addition our children are involved in year round sports with the local schools and city leagues.

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equeenan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM (Answer #18)

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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?

As a professional educator I think I probably have the typical teacher view on home schooling. I worry that parents aren't qualified (especially as their children get older), that not enough time is truly being laid aside for learning time, that kids are missing out on important lessons of socialization and how to work in a society outside your home. That being said, I am very curious to know what the advantages of home schooling are. Why do parents and/or students choose it? What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school? How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?

I would love to hear from any home schoolers or anyone in general who has had a positive experience with it. Also, are there statistics out there about the success of home schooled children later on  in life?

Your last question was, “How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?” Truthfully, I am not sure that they are missing much. The curriculum available now is amazing! There are so many online resources that it is simple to pull additional information or helpful videos to support difficult topics. There are ample opportunities that home-schooling parents can utilize that to me the social issue is negligible. On a side note, I have to ask what is socialization? When I think of socialization I want to know that my children can interact with their peers, the young and the elderly…all of society. Merely because our children can interact with children their own age surely does not constitute full socialization.

 

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equeenan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM (Answer #19)

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What are the advantages of Home Schooling?

As a professional educator I think I probably have the typical teacher view on home schooling. I worry that parents aren't qualified (especially as their children get older), that not enough time is truly being laid aside for learning time, that kids are missing out on important lessons of socialization and how to work in a society outside your home. That being said, I am very curious to know what the advantages of home schooling are. Why do parents and/or students choose it? What are they getting out of it that they wouldn't get out of a traditional school? How are they making up for the experiences they are missing?

I would love to hear from any home schoolers or anyone in general who has had a positive experience with it. Also, are there statistics out there about the success of home schooled children later on  in life?

Lastly, as adults if we are in a situation that is not optimal for us, if we are experiencing pressure that is not conducive to an excellent life we have the ability to make changes. I have found that our children are not as fortunate. They are placed in school and sometimes stay with the same kids for the next 12 years. How can we expect to be their main influences when they are surrounded 8 (or more) hours a day by their peers? In the real world, as adults, we are influenced by those more experienced and wiser in our fields. If our children are surrounded primarily by their peers and people with the same experience level how can we expect them to make decisions above it?

Home-schooling comes down to two things. One, it should always be a legal right for parents to choose what is best for their own family. Secondly, if parents undertake home-schooling then they cannot do their children the disservice of doing a poor job!

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ckrau2002 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM (Answer #20)

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Home schooling has benefits and drawbacks. 

The child(ren) can move at his own pace.  He can explore subjects that interest and motivate him.  It is a more efficient model than our current education system, which is just based on age instead of ability.

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