What is Home Schooling?
Homeschooling is when parents decide that they will teach their children at home rather than in a traditional classroom environment. Families all have different reasons for making this decision, but generally it is because parents feel their child’s education will benefit from homeschooling. Not everybody agrees with homeschooling, but this is often down to a lack of understanding and knowledge. In fact, homeschooling is often perceived to be very different to what it actually is and there have been many occasions when I have felt the need to justify my decision to home school to my friends and family.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that parents who choose homeschooling are controlling and want to live their lives through their children. Although all parents are different, this is generally not the case. Most parents make the decision based solely on the educational needs of their children and are not trying to prevent freedom and independence.
Another misconception is that parents choose homeschooling as an easy option. People think that homeschooling families don’t want to do the school runs and the homework. Instead, they keep their children at home, let them run wild and teach them as and when they feel like it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Homeschooling is hard work and requires complete dedication from parents. Preparing resources and lessons is very time consuming. Most families who have opted for homeschooling have a schedule in the same way that mainstream schools have a timetable. Obviously there is more flexibility in a home environment but you still need to put the hours in each day.
Homeschooling is not the best option for every family and some children will not thrive or benefit from learning from home. Gifted and talented children are the group that is most likely to benefit from homeschooling. This is because parents can tailor lessons to their child’s learning style and individual needs. Children can work at their own pace, rather than at the pace of others in their lesson, and tasks can be set to challenge them. If a child is advanced in specific areas, like my children, then you can spend more time and effort focusing on these subjects and less on those that are either not compulsory in the curriculum or one of your children’s talented areas. In a mainstream classroom environment children who excel in some subjects are overlooked and not pushed enough to achieve at a higher level. They are held back by working at the pace and level of the other children.
Some children with learning difficulties also benefit from homeschooling in the same way that gifted children do. Parents can set work that is based on the strengths and weaknesses of their child. The child doesn’t have to face the pressure of struggling to keep up with the pace of the other children in the class. Instead, parents can work towards finding different ways for their children to learn and set achievable targets for their child to aim for.