Explore the benefits of homeschooling

Column by Liese Carberry

By Liese Carberry; Mother of four and homeschooler for 17 years.
Posted

I could make a really long list of pros for homeschooling, but I'll try to keep it short. 

Just some of the highlights include:

A homeschooler can provide individualized instruction to their child. Curriculum (despite what public schools say) is not ‘one size fits all.' A teacher who has 30 plus kids can not tailor the curriculum to each child. She finds a middle ground and kids who are above that are held down while kids who are below that level are held back. A homeschooler can find something that works for their child, for their level, for the way they learn. And who says all learning comes in a book?

I doubt a public school teacher would allow a child to yell out their spelling words while bouncing on a trampoline or read a book while sitting upside down on the couch or hopscotch math problems.

But, if you have a child who is kinesthetic, visual-spatial or energetic, these things might work for them. After all, who can resist chocolate math?

So, the major pro is that you can take any curriculum or way of learning and apply it directly to the way your child learns.

Learning at your own pace. Not the pace of other kids, not the pace of kids your own age or kids that are in your grade. This may sound like a con (what...home schoolers can't keep up with other kids, it sounds lazy) but there are tons of studies that find that kids who read later, do math later, get social skills later have no disadvantage when compared to kids the same age. But, home schooling is not about comparing my kids to yours, it's about allowing a child to grown and learn, find out what they are good at, get a solid foundation and bloom in their own time.

If you teach a math concept one day and your child doesn't get it, you can stay on that concept until they do get it.

They don't have to be rushed or passed over, they can do it until they understand it.

Hands on learning.

This is where homeschooling shines: field trips, chance encounters, co-ops, library events, museum classes and more. Sure, kids at school get to go to the museum on a field trip, but they have no time to learn or explore, they are herded from room to room, see this, don't touch that, hurry up.

Homeschoolers can go to the same museum and wander, explore, ask questions. Chance encounters would, I think, hardly ever happen in a school setting since strangers aren't allowed in school. But, on a recent trip to the river to collect water samples for a science project, my daughter bumped into the watershed coordinator and they had a great talk about the river, water testing, projects going on near the river and just plain talk.

At a concert my daughter asked a singer how she got started in music and what instrument she recommended. Bethany now plays guitar! My kids would much rather work out math problems in sidewalk chalk than work them on paper, learn about blacksmithing by helping a blacksmith forge iron than read about it, and tour an art gallery and talk to an artist than look at pictures in a book.

Heck, you might even go to a play and learn how to be a superhero.

Or meet a dancing princess.

Or meet a famous cake boss.

Or dance with the Moscow ballet.

We can do these things because we have the time to do them and we like to do them.

Another pro, creating a schedule that fits your family. Need to do school at night? Want to do school on the road? Need to have time to fit in girl scout meetings, church groups, park days, etc.?

You are not bound by the 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., August through May school times. Want to school year round and take breaks at strange times, go ahead.

Disney world is less packed in February. Have another pesky hospital stay? No problem, you can work around that.

Some homeschoolers school monday through Friday, some school on the weekend, some school in the morning, some at night. Some mom's work all day and come home and take over the teaching of their kids. There is no one schedule that will fit everyone, that's the great thing about homeschooling, you get to make your own.

So in a nutshell, homeschooling gives you the freedom to school when and where you want with the curriculum you need for your child. There is no right way to homeschool, there are a million ways to teach your children, because they are unique, one-of-a-kind and special. Homeschooling just gives you the opportunity to make that shine through.

If you think I'm biased, read next week's article on homeschooling cons here. Home schooling is, once again, not for everyone, I'm just trying to put some information out there for people checking it out.