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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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since 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. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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