Currently, children all around the world are being homeschooled due to the pandemic. The normal figures show around 2 million children in the US are homeschooled as standard, and this is a number that is currently increasing. More and more parents are choosing to take their children’s education into their hands to ensure that they get a more balanced, concentrated view on the things that they need to learn without the worry that their children are being given a biased history of the world. Globally, there are 40 countries that have banned homeschooling, preferring children to be in a school environment and learning based on the curriculum set out by the government and its advisors.
Now, parents who are happy to send their children to school have been thrust into an environment that is unfamiliar. Trying to work from home full time while trying to teach children when they are not teachers? Parents have it very hard right now, and homeschooling can feel like the most negative thing in the world. Yes, as parents, you are taking a bigger, more active role in helping improve your child’s reading fluency, but this is a positive thing! You get to be a part of the education in an even bigger way than you would have if they were in school. Despite the pressure and the worry, there are plenty of benefits to homeschooling. So much so, some parents are even considering continuing home education after the pandemic is over. Before you go ahead and make the same decision, worrying about your children and their future, let’s go ahead and talk about the positive side of homeschooling.
Homeschooling can improve test scores
You may feel like you’re not doing anything to contribute to your child’s education, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of homeschooling for the first time. However, there have been studies that show that homeschoolers often do better in testing environments. There was a study of 20,000 children that showed children homeschooled through high school scored 60+ points more than the national average. While parents may not feel adequate enough to teach their children, this study proves otherwise.
Children feel free
A school environment is great for children to develop among their peers, but there is a lot of emotional freedom with homeschooling that cannot be achieved in school. Schools are a fishbowl for children where every move they make, everything they say and every emotion they have is catalogued and saved for later. Children fight to be the top of the hierarchy in the classroom and being educated at home removes all of this emotional stress from the shoulders of your child. The stresses of the usual classroom environment are removed and there is no pressure to fit into the ideals of other people. Children can be as expressive as they like without limits, without fear of retribution and without a loss of self-esteem. Teenage girls in a school are more vulnerable to peer pressure and image issues – this isn’t a problem in a home environment, which allows them to become more mature adults.
Homework? What homework?
At home, there is no set work. Children sit in school for upwards of six hours per day being talked to; homework is a factor on top of those hours which leads to children becoming exhausted, burnt out and reprimanded if they don’t complete their tasks. At home, there is no pressure to continue working for hours and hours per day. There is no homework to be done beyond the schooling hours and parents never have to try and struggle with this homework set every night. School children have a lot more pressure on them than necessary, homework is an added burnout!
“But what about making friends?”
It’s a sentence said to all homeschooling parents who do long-term home education with their children. The belief that children learning from home are not socialized properly is just a myth. Homeschooling families often meet with other homeschooling families and create their own communities so that their children can socialize together. Not only this, but children mix with people of a variety of ages when they are homeschooled. They attend clubs with children and grown ups outside of their age group and they join sports clubs and swimming clubs, giving them the chance to have shared interests with others beyond the confines of a class of thirty. This is a huge benefit to homeschooling that most parents bump up against.
No school runs. No rushing. No school uniform shopping. No asking permission to go on vacation away from school. There is no rigidity to the schedule of a homeschooling family. The flexibility in your schedule with the kids allows you to have far more time with the kids for fun and not just school work. The best bit? You can join reading groups and museum groups, take on annual passes to fun attractions and enjoy educational breaks with parents outside of the busy seasons. There is more of an opportunity to enjoy hands-on learning, which school-based children are often away from.
Some children are “behind” in school, but it’s not because they are actually behind their peers. The school model is based around all children of the same age learning the same thing at the same time. The thing is, this is not how children work! Children learn at different rates and it’s important that parents are able to accommodate those rates. Homeschooled children often progress faster because they are not closed in by the pace of the classroom. Instead, children can take more time to learn what they need to learn with one to one tutoring from their parents. The homeschooled kids learn how to take their own control of their learning, allowing them to make progress at a much faster pace – which is exactly what they need!
Needs are met
If your children have specific needs, they are better met in a controlled and closed environment than if they were in school. A school isn’t always equipped to cater individually for each child who needs it. Instead, children with additional needs are placed in a classroom away from the children in their class and are taught separately. This segregation, while good for mainstream children trying to learn, is a good way to make a child feel as if there is a prejudice against them. Sensitive homeschooling is going to ensure that their needs are directly met by people they are comfortable around.
More time together
One of the most positive benefits of homeschooling is the time spent together as a family. You and your children get more time to be with each other, learning from each other and keeping an open forum for discussion. Parenting is a wonderful way to spend time together, but children can benefit from the closed-quarters they have with their parents. The chance to build a better, more trusting relationship with children is important for their development, and it’s more achievable when children are homeschooled. It doesn’t mean that school-based children don’t have that close relationship with their children, but parents aren’t as intimately involved in the learning process thi way.
There may be a lot of social media panic surrounding homeschooling, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Homeschooling can be just as much a joy as school-based education if parents are open to learning as much as their children. Being a part of their education is a huge privilege for parents and it should be seen that way when homeschooling during a pandemic.