Homeschool Questions Answered: Why Do People Homeschool?

People are often curious why homeschoolers have chosen this route. After all, the vast majority of people choose to send their children to public school.  On the other hand, there are now more children being home-schooled than are enrolled in charter and voucher schools combined. I read recently that there are now over 2 million homeschooled children.  

In 1999, three reasons for homeschooling were the most frequently cited:

  • 49 percent of homeschooled students had parents who cited the ability to give their child a better education,
  • 38 percent had parents who cited religious reasons, and
  • 26 percent had parents who cited a poor learning environment at school (Bielick, Chandler, & Broughman 2001)

Here is a chart published by the National Center for Educational Statistics  citing some of the reasons for homeschooling (2003):

Figure 2. Percentage of homeschooled students, ages 5 through 17 with a grade equivalent of kindergarten through 12th grade, whose parents reported various reasons as their most important reason for homeschooling: 2003

Why does our family homeschool?  Homeschooling was always on my radar. My sister/brother-in-law homeschool their three kids so I knew it was a great option.  My cousin also homeschooled her kids and they did extremely well academically and got into great universities.  My oldest briefly tried preschool, but it wasn’t a good fit.  By that time we were doing a lot of Montessori activities, tons of experiments and he knew how to read.  Then by the time he was old enough for Transition (Kindergarten in Australia) he was two grades above his peers academically.  Homeschooling really was a great match… we continued doing lots of hands-on activities, experiments, games… and never looked back!

Some of the reasons my friends homeschool:

  • The kids were advanced when they became school-aged. Homeschooling seemed like a good alternative in kindergarten and then they never looked back.
  • The public school setting wasn’t challenging her daughter. She brought her home in 3rd grade and it was a much better fit. They found a warm community of homeschoolers through Classical Conversations and her daughter is much happier academically and socially.
  • They love the family bonds that homeschooling creates.
  • They are a military family and homeschooling allows for a consistent, unbroken education.
  • They couldn’t afford the (private Montessori school) tuition when their twins were born.
  • Their son was being bullied and was extremely unhappy and unmotivated in school.  They started homeschooling him and then the other siblings joined in.
  • Their son homeschooled during second grade because he needed more one-on-one attention with reading to be on grade level. He caught up and then went back to public school the following year above grade-level. He’s in 10th grade now and doing well.
  • Their two daughters were profoundly gifted, but socially behind in other ways. Homeschooling allowed them to work at their level across the board.

The reasons for homeschooling really vary from family to family — academics, religious reasons, peer pressure, school bullying and/or violence, poor quality of schools, a child has special needs or disabilities. Some parents would like to send their child/children to private school but can’t afford it.

*Homeschooling allows families to individualize the child’s education. Each child learns differently. You can spend as much or as little time on a topic as the child needs.

*Homeschoolers don’t have to balance the difficult situation of 25-30 kids in a classroom. With one-on-one instruction it’s easier to meet the child’s specific needs and abilities.

*Homeschooling allows for the study a huge range of topics. If a child is interested in electronics, homeschooling allows them to explore that in-depth.

*Homeschooled kids often have more time to foster unique interests and for creative play.

*Some homeschoolers mention morality and character as a reason they homeschool. I hadn’t ever mentioned that as a reason why we homeschool, but there are definitely more opportunities for me to talk to the kids about about treating each other with respect, being responsible, behaving well in public, using their manners, what to do about bullying situations, how to talk to/address a coach/teacher and other situations that arise.

*Homeschooling allows the kids sleep in if they need to.

*The kids are learning practical life skills.

*Homeschooling is very flexible. It allows families to homeschool when it suits them best. Families travel and schedule outings when it works for them. Homeschooling can happen anywhere.

*Homeschooling is really fun!

*One last reason that will keep us homeschooling in the middle school years is that it saves my children the 45 minute bus ride (each way) to and from school. That’s an hour and a half that can be used more productively each day!

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