What is Homeschooling?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,822
    Homeschool expert Leslie Nathaniel discusses why some families choose to educate their children at home.

    Leslie Nathaniel: Hello, I am Leslie Nathaniel, a homeschooling mother of two and member of the Board of Directors for the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. I am talking about how to begin homeschooling your child. In this segment, I'll talk about what homeschooling is, and why some families choose to educate their children at home.

    Homeschooling is home-based learning that provides an education customized to suit your child and family. It does not have to look just like school taught at home, nor do you have to follow a typical school schedule. Homeschooling affords a family the chance to ensure that children are taught in the manner in which they learn best, offering a lot of freedom in guiding your child's education. More than just an educational choice, homeschooling typically represents a lifestyle choice for families.

    Why do families choose homeschooling? There are as many reasons to homeschool as there are families choosing homeschooling, and families frequently find that their reasons change, as their children grow older.

    Homeschooling can offer something different than school. For some parents that difference might be a more rigorous academic approach than they find at their local school. For another family, that difference might be the chance to provide their child with a broader range of educational experiences.

    The third family might prefer the benefits of a family focus on education especially when their children are quite young. Yet another family may find that homeschooling allows their very active child the chance to learn without having to sit still, so that the child who hated school, blossoms when brought home to learn.

    Homeschooling is home-based and that it comes from the home, but frequently much of a homeschool child's learning may take place in the community. Taking advantage of the great outdoors for science and nature study, visiting museums, going on field-trips, and doing volunteer work.

    Homeschool children still participate in the same kinds of activities as other school children, scouting and forage, music, and martial arts lessons, sports, dance and art. Contrary to some stereotypes, homeschool children are typically not isolated at home. They usually have rich and varied lives with more opportunities to interact with people of all ages than many children who spend their days in age-segregated classrooms.

    Let's explore some of the common reasons to homeschool. Homeschooling can allow each child to learn at his or her own pace whether that happens to be faster or slower than a typical school schedule. A child might speed ahead in one area and lag behind in another, but homeschooling can adjust to provide enough challenges in your child's strengths. Well, giving extra help and support in areas where your child might struggle.

    Homeschooling can also help meet the needs of children with disabilities of one kind or another. Homeschooling can allow a child to follow passions and talents. Learning can fit around music lessons, sports practice, games, and performances. A child who is keenly interested in a specific subject can study other subjects through that lens.

    For instance, a child who loves math can study the flow of mathematical knowledge through history, can read about mathematicians, and their discoveries, can write about mathematics, and delight in the mathematical underpinnings of science.

    Homeschooling can allow families to educate according to their personal faith, philosophy, and values. SOME families choose homeschooling primarily because it allows them to incorporate their faith into their child's education or to use a faith based curriculum.

    Homeschooling can allow families to follow unusual schedule, seasonal work, and mobile lifestyles. Some homeschooling families take advantage of the freedom that homeschooling offers to a company apparent with work related travels.

    Some families have a mobile lifestyle as performers or travelers. Home-based education doesn't have to follow a school schedule, or look like school at home. It does allow parents to select materials and methods appropriate to each child. Some children thrive on literature based approaches, some children do well with the textbooks and workbooks. Other children learn best with hands on, practical explorations, and activities.

    Homeschooling allows families to pick and choose what works best to accomplish their educational goals, as one homeschool child recently described it, homeschooling is an art that is done at home with your mom or dad, that is creativity, and learning, and reading, and writing all at once, and you are having fun at the same time.

    Homeschoolers are a cross-section of society and very diverse. They represent every political, educational, faith, socio-economic, and ethnic background. Families have as many different reasons for choosing homeschooling as there are children, and just as many different ways to go about educating their children.

    So homeschooling allows parents to guide their child's education. It can look very different than traditional school, all kinds of people, homeschool, and their methods can be very different. Now Celeste Land, the Director of Government Affairs is going to discuss the legal requirements to homeschool your child.