The Benefits of Homeschooling: A Quarantine-Conceived Trend that’s Here to Stay?
While some parents are itching for their children to go back to school post-quarantine, others have discovered that homeschooling may actually be a better fit for their child than they would have realized if it weren’t for Covid-19. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of homeschooled students nearly doubled between 1999 and 2016– from 850,000 to 1.7 million students. Though homeschooling laws may vary from state to state, below are many impressive benefits of homeschooling, which can help you explore whether homeschooling is the right fit for you and your child.
The first step in deciding whether homeschooling is a good fit for your family is to become informed about homeschooling regulations in your state. For more information about homeschooling regulations in your state, you can visit the Home School Legal Defense Association here.
The Impressive Benefits of Homeschooling Your Child
1. One-on-One Learning.
While the traditional high school can have a student-teacher ratio of 30:1, there are obvious advantages of having a student-teacher ratio of 1:1 in the comfort of your own home. When your child is learning a new subject or fine-tuning a familiar concept, they have your undivided attention to ask questions immediately to create a concrete understanding of each lesson. Instead of sitting in math not knowing what is going on and being afraid to ask, you can very clearly explain to them how to solve a problem in a way that they can individually understand.
By not having to share the room or teacher’s help with 30 other students, your child can learn more efficiently by not having unexpected disruptions, wasted time learning what they already know, or busy or “filler” work that so many students hate because they take up time and aren’t all that beneficial to their education.
2. Meaningful Learning.
Not only can your child learn more efficiently without having to worry about other students and distractions, but learning will become more effective too. Homeschooling provides the possibility of reviewing specific materials or techniques that your child needs to feel confident about their success in a certain area of their academic career. Instead of studying materials only to repeat them verbatim on a test, your child can be taught in a way that is meaningful to them, and will allow them to absorb the material in more relevant ways. You, as their parent, know best how your child will learn, be it auditorily, visually, or kinesthetically. You can then design lesson plans that will help your child to learn new things in a more meaningful way.
3. Academic and Lifestyle Flexibility.
Is your child learning three different methods for a long division that only leave them confused in the long run? Does your child have aspirations of becoming a professional basketball player and spend gym class wishing they could use that valuable time practicing layups instead of hula-hooping in a crowded gymnasium? Perhaps your family moves relatively frequently for military duties, which naturally causes your child to transfer schools often. Whatever the unique situation of your child’s academic or lifestyle needs, homeschooling offers flexibility to make your child flourish in a way that is tailored to meet those needs.
4. Ability to Address Mental Health.
If your child is encountering mental health issues due to low self-esteem around peers, bullying, not being in a challenging enough curriculum, genetic imbalances with seemingly no cause, or just from being in a school environment, homeschooling could be a great way to improve their health. By being in a controlled environment where your child is free to not have the worries of their typical school-aged peer— what do people think of me?, what would people think if I wear this?, when will I be bullied next? etc.— they can focus on simply succeeding in what school is primarily for in the first place— receiving an education and succeeding academically.
If your child has a specific mental health issue (such as being hospitalized for clinical depression, body dysmorphia, etc.), homeschooling provides the means to learn in any way that can build, not diminish your child’s mental health, and can be done in any environment where your child can get better. Oftentimes academic burnout is something that any student experiences from time to time, so homeschooling can provide the ability to slow down or speed up whenever your child is feeling the need to do so. Homeschooling additionally offers more of a focus on getting more quality sleep with a personalized schedule, more time for movement and exercise, and no need to do “make-up work” from missing school on sick days!
5. Customized Curriculum.
One of the most unique aspects of homeschooling is that your child’s curriculum can be adjusted slightly to fit their specific interests. While state regulations require certain topics and skills to be taught and tested in each grade, homeschooling allows for a focus on topics or skills that aren’t always taught in traditional schools.
For example, if your child has a keen interest and advanced skills in computer engineering, you can add an emphasis on computers when it comes to learning about science, as long as the minimum state science requirements are still being met. Or, you may only teach your child for several hours each day, which leaves plenty of time for your child to study their passion in computer engineering instead of wasting time on topics they already know. In this case, your child would have a definite leg up when it comes to college admissions into a computer engineering program years down the road.
6. Community Involvement and Activities.
While most children can join volunteer clubs or sign up to volunteer with parents on the weekends, your child can understand the importance of being engaged in your local community at any time. The options for community involvement for a homeschooled child are endless because they can partake in community engagements and volunteering during traditional school hours, and even have the flexibility to make it part of their curriculum.
While studying government and politics in social studies, your child could attend rallies, protests, marches, speeches, or other events held during the day that other children attending school don’t have the opportunity to attend. For a science field trip or activity, you and your child could visit the local or even most impressive regional science museum, go see a panel of scientists speak, or take a tour at a local chemical company. With field trips only consisting of you and your child, there is minimal organization needed, so they can be more frequent and geared toward your child’s individual interests!
7. Safe and Comfortable Environment.
By learning in the comfort of your own home, your child can focus on learning in a safe environment, free from any judgment of peers, and without the worry of any physical dangers that are possibilities in public spaces nowadays. Homeschool parents don’t have to worry that their child is protected, and homeschooled children can feel secure. Additionally, although it may be best to maintain a morning routine in homeschooling similar to one that they would carry out before going to a public or private school, your child could technically learn in their pajamas all day, too! For parents and children, a safe and comfortable environment is a win-win.
8. Higher Standardized Testing Scores.
Studies have shown that homeschooled children learn faster and perform better on state-mandated standardized tests. Even higher education professionals have faith that homeschooled children are generally more successful in the long run. This study from 2013 shows that 78% of higher education admissions officers “expect homeschool graduates to perform, overall, as well or better in their first year of college than traditional high school graduates.”
9. Unique Academic Experience for College Admissions.
Your child can stand out from public or private school applicants when it comes time to apply to colleges, simply by being a homeschooled student.
Was your child able to become high-achieving in a niche passion of theirs due to the flexibility of homeschooling? Maybe they were able to travel the country to participate in national robotics or spelling bee competitions or spend countless hours in a gym every week to become a decorated gymnast. Or, maybe they racked up hundreds or even thousands of hours doing some sort of volunteer work that wouldn’t have fit into their schedule if they had done traditional schooling. Maybe they had time to start their own company, patent an invention, or sell products online. Whatever your child’s passion maybe, they will have more time to pursue it while being homeschooled, which could help them get accepted into a great university when the time comes.
10. Escaping the Status Quo.
Homeschooling provides the unique and life-changing opportunity to relieve your child from the stigmas that exist only in being surrounded by peers and other members of society day in and day out. In your home, you can erase the stereotypes of being “nerdy” or the need to feel “popular” that exists in schools. You can also eliminate the stigmas around learning differences, racial differences, gender stereotypes in your controlled environment. Not only can this help to keep your child’s self-esteem high, but it allows your child to focus on their education without any concern for peer exclusivity and hurtful school politics. This could also be a major bonus to your child’s mental and emotional health!
Is Homeschooling Right for You and Your Child?
There are so many impressive benefits to homeschooling your child that many higher education professionals argue that it is better for your child than a public school education in the long run. If your child needs more independence, a greater academic challenge, increased one-on-one attention, personalized learning, more time to pursue their intense passions, higher standardized tests scores, help with learning disabilities, or to improve their mental and emotional health, homeschooling could be a great option for you!