Why Families Homeschool
© Beverley Paine
The reasons families chose to begin or continue homeschooling tend to change over time as the benefits become more apparent. Some of the reasons, cited in research include:
- A marked lack of confidence in state related institutions, with a tendency toward conservative view points;
- Lack of direct influence in determining curriculum and school agendas;
- Opposition to the ideological content of school programs and/or methodology used;
- Conflicting value orientations of home and schools;
- Need for individualised attention for children with special needs (gifted and talented and specific learning problems);
- Focus on perceived gains in social development from home education, with a strong emphasis on family unity and relationships;
- Concern with declining academic standards in schools;
- Perceived lack of availability of educational programs to suit individual children's learning needs, styles, rates and interests;
- Avoidance of negative peer influences and damaging socialisation experiences;
- Perceived lack of attention in schools to holistic development of children, including spiritual:
- Strong parental sense of primary responsibility for children's education, with a need to have access to, and some control over, their children's educational experiences as a strong motivational factor;
- Offers solutions to present or potential educational problems, sometimes as a result of deterioration of communications and hostile relationships between families and schools;
- Parents' own educational experiences, or memories of unhappy or unsuccessful personal experiences of schooling;
- High cost of alternative and private schooling, including correspondence education;
- Lack of educational and schooling choice in local area;
- Opposition to the competitive nature of schooling, grading or testing;
- Perceived gains in autonomous home learning programs, independent study skills and higher student motivation;
- The development in parents of a stronger sense of satisfaction with their own lives through directing their children's education;
- Home education offers a natural learning and socialising environment as opposed to the contrived and artificial environments and learning programs of schools.
Each homeschooling family undertakes a journey, an adventure in home learning that is not static, but flexible, responding the to ever changing conditions, situations and opportunities that active learning brings.This creates a diverse range of homeschooling practices, but the following characteristics are common to most homeschooling situations.
- The practice of home education follows closely from the reasons for choosing it and from lifestyle choices.
- Parents are highly interested in children's personal, social and spiritual development.
- Both parents are actively involved in home educating their children with the mother generally fulfilling the role of 'teacher' most of the time.
- Most, though not all, parents have attended or graduated from some kind of tertiary education.
- Learning programs tend to move from formal structured activities to generally more informal, spontaneously generated learning activities, with time and experience.
- Learning programs tend to be flexible and highly individualised with use of both home made and purchased curriculum materials.
- Home educated students study a wide range of subjects, including conventional school ones.
- Many families are interested and involved in home birth, breast feeding, and healthy lifestyle choices.
- A variety of religious beliefs are represented among home educating families.
See the following articles for additional information :
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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