The Homeschool Option
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is when parents take charge of their children’s education and keep them at home for learning rather than sending them off to a brick-and-mortar school. Legal in all fifty states, homeschooling is a popular educational choice, with figures ranging from 1.5 to 2 million current homeschool students in the US (around 3% of school-age children).
The homeschooling movement began in the 1970s, but also dates back to colonial times. It has grown to become a popular educational choice. Parents choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons. These include religious beliefs, educational philosophies, medical necessity, special needs, dissatisfaction with progress in the traditional classroom setting, and concerns with school violence.
There are many methods of homeschooling, including online classes, co-ops, working with tutors, one-on-one parental instruction, and independent learning. In addition, homeschool styles range from traditional textbook learning to unschooling. In all homeschool settings, however, the parent organizes the student’s subjects and evaluates progress. Basically, the parent is the teacher, principal, and guidance counselor all rolled into one.
Although many homeschool families are single-income with one parent staying home to teach, many single parent and dual-income families homeschool as well. The homeschool community is a diverse group that has grown to include many support systems, including groups for mom’s night out, support, accountability, field trips, park days, and cooperative learning. Many print and online resources are available that cater specifically to the homeschooling community, and curriculum designed specifically for homeschooling is widely available.
Homeschool laws vary from state to state. Requirements include factors like the parent’s level of education, paperwork oversight, documentation of hours or days of instruction, standardized testing, and more. Record-keeping is done by the parent who must ensure that they understand what is compulsory in their state.