Deciding to home-school can feel like a massive undertaking, but it is worth it. Here are some gems from a father’s firsthand experience. As the primary educators of their children, stable parents are best-placed to form their offspring, and have access to many resources today.
Merriam-Webster’s base definition for homeschooling is “to teach one’s child at home.”
Whether you’re a parent who is new to homeschooling or you’re a parent against homeschooling, chances are you’ve engaged in homeschooling at some point in your child’s life without knowing it.
Homeschooling is a legitimate life-giving education pathway that has here-and-now as well as eternal rewards.
While the homeschool education pathway is as simple as pointing kids in the right direction and showing them the way forward, the long-term benefits of going deeper with this parent-involved approach to education often outweigh the costs.
Here’s why homeschooling is an attractive option for the parents of the 26,000+ students currently being homeschooled in Australia:
The number 1 reason to homeschool is opportunity.
Crosswalk called homeschooling the ability to give kids ‘a top-notch education, without the budget cuts.’
They were then right to assert, ‘the educational limits of homeschooling are simple: you and your children are limited only by what you choose to do (or not do).’
It is home education’s flexibility that powers this point. Flexibility offers homeschooling families an opportunity to bond, create, and do life together, in a way that formal schooling’s segregated halls disallow.
This is why Business Insider, when discussing the types of freedom homeschoolers enjoy, noted:
‘Without formal curricula to guide their education, homeschoolers get the chance to explore a range of topics that might not be normally offered until high school or college.’
In sum, any healthy activity is a learning opportunity. Education is not limited to meeting the requirements of standardised tests.
As Maths Australia recalled, flexibility gave them the opportunity to travel, care for others and assimilate education into their family’s lifestyle.
Simple tasks like preparing lunches and dinners, for instance, are potential homeschool lessons in serving others, food safety, and healthy eating.
“Education is not about downloading information into the child. Education should focus on how to learn, not what […] We need elasticity in our abilities and that comes from being able to teach ourselves.”
2. Better Curricula
Having access to a wide range of better curricula is another great reason.
Homeschooling, by definition, dictates that parents have a greater say and involvement in what their children are taught.
Therefore, the curriculum (or what a child learns) is in the hands of parents, not the government or a surrogate. Parents can vet ABCD education from other acronym indoctrination, utilising a curriculum that hasn’t been tainted by agenda-bending activists.
A better curriculum means that homeschooled kids have more time to learn from the world’s best, unhindered by political conformity.
Also, the homeschooler’s world forms the backbone of their education. As they get older, homeschooled kids learn to love learning by helping to choose the curriculum they might want to explore.
The homeschooler’s curricula choices are not limited to agreeing with whatever ideological fad the government or its tenured teachers are pushing.
New York City’s Department of Education explained this independence well:
‘[Homeschooling parents] choose the subjects to be taught (based on a child’s age and ability) as well as the curriculum and methods of teaching, plan the schedule, and teach or facilitate instruction.’
For example: As a homeschooling parent, I bring the best of both worlds together. I join Australia’s focus for English on phonics and text types with curricula from the United States, which focus more on sentence structure and classical conventions.
3. Time Efficiency
Reason number three for why you should homeschool is time efficiency. Homeschooling translates into more quality time with family.
For instance, homeschooling families don’t usually have homework to drag themselves through at the end of a tiring work day. This alone creates a healthier home.
Homeschooling requires little to no homework. This minimises afternoon lag, and the nagging, which often brings the entire house down with it. This energy and time can then be better spent working on dinner, or afternoon sport.
If done right, most of the lesson (or chapter) can be covered during the day. Homeschooled kids are consumed by a social need to impress friends or teachers — they’re busy learning.
To defer back to Crosswalk,
‘Precious family time does not last forever. While playing teacher can certainly be vexing at times, nothing beats being there to experience your children’s successes and help them overcome any setbacks.’
For homeschool veteran Jeanne Faulconer, homeschooling ends time wasted waiting in school pick-up lines, on the bus, or during lunch breaks — where some kids end up standing around idle, wandering around aimlessly trying to fit in.
Faulconer added that homeschoolers can work ‘at their best time of day. You don’t have to work against a child’s natural body clock, so you can get more done in a shorter time.’
Hence, Calvert Education asserts,
‘Homeschooling allows you to take all the time you need to ensure learning is taking place.’
4. Sharpened Professional & Personal Development
‘To teach is to learn,’ said Søren Kierkegaard.
While many homeschoolers put their career on hold, their professional development doesn’t have to stop.
If asked, a majority of homeschooling mums and dads would quickly testify to how much they also learn.
Rather than shutting off potential, homeschooling presents a whole new horizon of possibilities, bringing new skill sets, networking, and experiences.
Education publisher Scholastic agrees. It encourages homeschooling parents to ‘learn as they go, and adjust to the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling.’
Scholastic also notes:
‘There are so many ways to approach your task. Remember that you’ll be defining — and constantly redefining — yourself as you go.’
The other benefit to this feature is parents learning with their children.
As online short course provider Udemy stated in Abby Banks’ 101 on how to homeschool: right from the start, homeschooling parents are learning, adapting, and revising the process.
Homeschooling parents are often homeschooled themselves along the way. They bring to their children existing knowledge and skills, while matching those with new knowledge and skills as they homeschool together.
5. No Deadlines. No Demands.
Wherever homeschooling is legal, the general rule is that homeschoolers are free from following the formal school year calendar.
There are no deadlines, school bell times, or set exams. For this reason, homeschoolers enjoy a better quality of life. They don’t have to deal with stress and anxiety from proving their intellectual worth by sitting for tests.
This is one of the best reasons to homeschool. Simply because when a homeschooler is given timed tasks to evaluate their knowledge, any gaps in their knowledge can be identified and corrected.
This contrasts with formal schooling, where the class moves on, and the failing student can be too easily left behind.
‘Homeschoolers can avoid unnecessary tests, and if testing is needed, it can be done in a gentler style. (i.e. instead of sitting kids down for a stressful test, narration is a great way to test comprehension after a passage has been read).’
The how-to-homeschool legend then added,
‘Children don’t have to endure and feel discouraged by critical peers. This is less stressful and, therefore, a better learning environment.’
The accusation “lack of socialisation” is a whip statement often only deployed to discount homeschooling.
Rarely, if ever, is the charge made against the schooling system, which allows 60-minutes+ of sparsely supervised play each day.
What is meant by socialisation is usually whether or not a child can conform to the rules set by their peers in the playground, or submit to, rather than resist, the peer pressure associated with it.
Given the wide range of ages homeschoolers engage with, and the unique learning opportunities they are given, homeschoolers are often better socialised, because they’re resilient. They lack the social anxiety induced by class uniformity, and the impossible “fit in, but stand-out” paradox of modern society.
Most homeschoolers are better socialised because they’re raised by their parents, not left to be raised by the meta culture, or their peers.
It is good parents, not peers, nor the education system, who instil in their child the ability to relate to the world and those around them. It doesn’t take a village. It takes wise parents and teachable students.
Big Bang Theory and Blossom star Miyam Balik homeschools her children. Here was her response to the “socialisation” whip:
“I would argue that we are oversocialized. We have soccer four nights a week, taekwondo two nights a week, my older son is in violin quartet and orchestra, my younger son has taken art classes. Oh, they both like Shakespeare classes. Name it, and homeschooled kids do it too.”
7. Homeschoolers Become Thinkers and Doers
Tutelage was the stuff of privileged pre-20th century aristocrats. Some taught their own children, others outsourced the teaching, employing a personal tutor.
The information age brings the library of a tutor into the living room, free of charge.
The abundance of options means easier access to reliable teaching aids and programmes that surpass government-sponsored ones.
Homeschooled kids have more potential to fine-tune independent thought through engaging with subjects like classics, civics, logic and theology.
One-on-one tuition also allows homeschoolers to learn at a pace different to that of the outdated, rubber stamp, industrial-age education mills.
Homeschoolers tend to have a good work ethic. This healthy approach to work is instilled in them by the natural process of applying themselves to learning about subjects, even if they’re not all that fond of them.
8. Greater Family Unity
Those who learn to love learning together, often stay together. This is because homeschooling fosters greater family participation.
The old teach the young, and sometimes the young get the chance to teach the old. There’s a mutual reciprocity that can also bring different families together through outdoors extra-curricular activities.
Having the freedom to spend precious time together fosters unity. For instance, thanks to flexibility, homeschoolers are free to travel. As homeschool curriculum publisher EUKA explains,
‘Many [of their] students are Athletes, and have rigorous travel schedules. Others are in fine arts, music, and theatre, and have rehearsal, work, and performance schedules that make mainstream school impossible.’
Homeschooling ‘allows parents to better manage their kid’s schedules.’
Likewise, said Lonely Planet, ‘Travel doesn’t have to stop after having kids.’
Highlighting the examples of the Larmour and Jacobis families, Lonely Planet described life on the road as ‘practical learning, that brings learning to life.’ Something that could not happen without organisation and families working well together.
A key complaint I encountered during orientation day at college was that universities were increasingly faced with students who were not self-motivated to learn. They expected the work to be done for them.
Unlike institutionalised kids, homeschooled kids play an important role in their own education.
Much like university students, a homeschooler’s education isn’t spoonfed to them. A homeschooler’s education is facilitated.
This fathers self-discipline and individual responsibility. This is because for a homeschooler to progress, they have to take part ownership of the education process.
Being able to adapt to last-minute activities, changes in routine, and show initiative in helping maintain the daily grind, make the self-discipline home-educated kids acquire another great reason to homeschool.
10. Raising Well-Grounded Adults
There is no better fruit to testify to the truth of “in raising up others, we ourselves are raised,” than when good parents nurture their child through a holistic, classical approach to education.
Whether homeschooling or not, having a mother and a father involved in a child’s life is paramount to that child becoming a well-rounded adult.
Concerned about the downgrade of culture, homeschool advocate and childhood television star Kirk Cameron began homeschooling his six kids after sixth grade.
Although he was apprehensive at first, he now believes no one is better suited to set their kids up for success than their parents.
Talking with the Daily Signal about his film Homeschool Awakening, Cameran said,
“Parents are waking up to the fact that you only have so much time with them to shape their little hearts and minds. No one loves [your kids] more than you do as a mom and dad, and no one’s better positioned to teach them. You’ve been doing it since Day One. You taught them how to walk. You taught them how to talk.”
Cameron added: “Homeschooling is a fantastic option.”
Opportunity, better curriculum, time efficiency, personal development, no deadlines, resilience, work ethic, family unity, self-discipline, and well-adjusted adults, are solid reasons to consider the homeschool pathway.
While I am firmly convinced parents are the first port of call in the education of their children, I’m conscious of the fact that homeschooling is not for everyone.
For some, if the foundations of the home are not stable enough to support the homeschool life, homeschooling won’t just be difficult, it will be harmful.
The good news is that seasons pass. If the foundations at home are right, you’re more than ready to homeschool.
If kids have a joy-filled stable home environment with mum and dad at the helm, you’ve already met one of the main requirements for being homeschool parents.
Assuming this joy-filled stability exists in the home, homeschool where you can, when you can, if you can.