If you’re new to the idea of home schooling, you might think it’s just like traditional school, but without the classroom. In some ways you would be right – but there are many important differences. And these differences make home schooling the best choice for many families.
Whether you’re new to home schooling or just curious about how it works, here are seven facts about home schooling that may surprise you.
Home schoolers do not have to do the same work as children in school
In some states, students in public schools have the option to do their homework online. Because they are still enrolled in the public school system, these students follow the same curriculum as children in school.
But generally speaking, home schoolers also have the option of creating their own curriculum, or not using a curriculum at all.
Home schooling Parents Stay updated on how children learn and grow
To keep their teaching license current, classroom teachers may be required to attend “professional development” workshops. At these workshops, they study the latest information and strategies on how children learn.
However, research on educational topics such as learning styles, brain development, and the links between physical activity and memory can be found in books, journals, and websites that are also available to the public. That’s why even home schooling parents who don’t have a teaching degree are familiar with the latest information on how to become a better teacher.
It is not uncommon for classroom teachers to home school their own children
No one knows how schools really work better than classroom teachers. So, it’s not surprising that many licensed, trained, experienced elementary school teachers decide to home school their children.
As they will tell you, home schooling allows them to use their knowledge and experience without a lot of red tape. At home, dedicated professional teachers can create the kind of learning environment every child should have.
We are still waiting for a good study of home schooling
You may have read articles claiming that home schoolers do better than average on standardized tests, come from wealthier families, and home school primarily because of religious beliefs.
None of the conventional wisdom about home schooling is supported by rigorous scientific research. Most of the statistics you read were collected by groups with a vested interest in proving that either home schooling is a panacea for American education or the end of civilization as we know it.
The true answer is more complicated and not yet reliably studied.
Many home schooling parents are also working parents
Coupled with the idea that home schooling families are wealthier than average is the notion that teaching your own children means that a parent must be at home full-time and not work.
It’s not true. Home schooling comes in many creative ways to balance work and home schooling.
Home schoolers do not need a high school diploma to enter college
Colleges have come to realize that home schooled students are just as well prepared as traditionally schooled students for college life. That’s why they often have a special application process for college-bound home schoolers that takes into account their varied backgrounds.
Some home schoolers also get around the requirements of standardized tests like the SAT by taking enough community college classes while in high school to apply as transfer students.
Home schoolers can receive many of the same educator discounts as classroom teachers
Classroom teachers know that national chains and local stores that carry school supplies, art supplies, books and teaching aids often offer teacher discounts. In many cases, home schooling parents can get these discounts as well.
Special teacher discounts also extend to study visits. Museums, summer camps, theme parks, and other educational and recreational venues have learned that offering special events and programs for home schoolers can boost business during slow periods.
Some national companies also include home schooling in competitions and incentive programs aimed at school children.
Policies change, so it’s always a good idea to ask. You may also want to be prepared to show proof that you have home schooled, such as a letter from the school district or your home school group membership card.