Homeschooling: An Appealing Educational Alternative


Homeschooling: An Appealing Educational Alternative
by Carren W. Joye

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an estimated 2 million children in America are being homeschooled, with that number rising by 15 percent each year. Indeed, home education has become an appealing alternative to classroom instruction in recent years for various reasons. These reasons are the issues that all parents consider before deciding on public, private or home school.

Safe and Nurturing Environment

No school is as safe as the home. No one cares as much for the wellbeing of your child as you do. In the nurturing environment of a home, homeschooled students have few distractions and can focus their attention on schoolwork. They do not have to worry about bullies, harassment or violence. They also don't have to concern themselves about being popular, wearing the latest styles, hearing the latest gossip, or getting on the teacher's good side. Instead, they can focus their time and energy on their lessons.


Schooling at home allows for regular reinforcement of academic lessons, integration of the curriculum into other aspects of everyday life, and individualized attention. With parents' intimate knowledge of their children, they can personalize the curriculum to suit each individual child's talent and skills. Also, with the instant child-to-parent feedback in the homeschool situation, they also know in what areas their child needs improvement. This results in the higher standardized test scores for which homeschooled students are so well known.

Flexibility and Economy of Time

Homeschooling allows a flexibility that can't be beat! You don't have to school from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, August through May. Indeed, very few homeschoolers follow such a rigid time schedule. Some families prefer morning hours, while others devote the afternoons or evenings to study. Some families homeschool year-round, so they can enjoy long vacations throughout the year or four-day school weeks. Others alternate two weeks of school and one week off.

Whatever schedule is preferred, schooling at home provides free time for extracurricular activities, such as gymnastics, dance, sports, clubs and community service. Also, it allows homeschoolers to work around illnesses and family emergencies without missing any schoolwork.

On average, homeschooled students spend about three hours on schoolwork in a typical school day, less for the early years. In a classroom, the entire class can proceed only as fast as the slowest learner. Even then, if the slow learner doesn't get the concept, the class will eventually move on without him. A homeschooler, on the other hand, can spend as much time as he needs to learn a difficult concept, and he can move at an accelerated pace if he understands the work.

Character Development

Home education encourages better character development because it imparts parental values, reduces risk of peer dependency and encourages independent problem solving. Parents are the best persons to explain and pass on their morals and beliefs to their children. Although friends play a large role in any kid's life, particularly in the lives of teenagers, peer pressure is significantly less in a homeschooled environment than in a classroom situation.

Indeed, when schooled at home, children learn to rely on themselves in ways that a student in a classroom cannot. Homeschooling encourages independent problem-solving and improves self-esteem because there is no classroom of other students to fall back on or to deflect attention. Without other students in direct competition for grades or for the teacher's attention, homeschoolers avoid that destructive competition that damages self-esteem.


Homeschooling encourages relationships between all age groups. Rather than being confined to a classroom with 10 to 20 other children their own age, homeschooled children spend time with other kids of all ages. They are comfortable with and learn to get along with toddlers, adolescents, teens and even other adults and the elderly, all from varying levels on the socio-economic ladder. After all, as an adult, when was the last time you were the member of a group where everyone was exclusively your own age?

Since homeschooled students are not pigeonholed into their own age or grade groups, they become active members of various groups. Indeed, to counteract accusations of isolation, homeschooling parents compensate by having their children participate in various extracurricular activities, such as clubs and sports, where kids spend quality time with their peers. They also organize numerous field trips with other families and get involved in their local support group activities and churches.

Family Unity

The final benefit to homeschooling is the cohesiveness it brings to the family unit. Homeschooling gives families precious time together as they learn, read, solve problems, work on projects and just hang out together. This is valuable time together that public and private school children do not get. A strong reliance on and appreciation for the family is usually the result.

Now that you know the benefits for your child and your family, consider homeschooling as a viable educational option. You will probably find other benefits that are unique to your family. In any case, chances are that you and your children will be glad you decided to homeschool.

About the Author:
Carren W. Joye is the author of A Stay-at-Home Mom's Complete Guide to Playgroups (ISBN 0-595-14684-8). A homeschooling mom of four children, she has founded four successful playgroups and one homeschool support group, and helped start countless other playgroups around the world. Visit her web site at for more information about playgroups. 

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Homeschooling: An Appealing Educational Alternative