Homeschooling 101: What Is Homeschooling?

What Are the Ways Parents Homeschool Kids?

How are kids of different ages homeschooled together?

Families that homeschool often combine certain subjects that are not necessarily grade- or age-specific, such as history, literature, and the arts. For example, children of various ages might study the same historical time period together, and then be given assignments that reflect specific age and ability. For studies in other subjects, such as math and reading, a homeschooling parent might tutor each child one-on-one to meet the student's individual needs. Meanwhile, depending on each child's age, the other students may be working on solo assignments or playing in another room.

What happens if the parent is sick?

One of homeschooling's biggest advantages is the flexibility it offers. A sick parent can still ensure that the most essential aspects of the day's work get accomplished, providing instruction from bed if necessary. Group work that requires the sick parent's direct involvement may be cancelled for the day, but the parent could still supervise any individual work the child needs to do -- like penmanship or reading beside Mom in bed. In two-parent families, both parents can contribute according to their schedules.

What resources and curriculum do homeschooled kids use or follow? What kinds of subjects are taught?

The rapid increase in the number of homeschoolers has resulted in a wide variety of available curricula and resources. Catalogs are filled with a plethora of options based on different educational philosophies, learning approaches, the amount of time a homeschool teacher should devote to daily instruction, and so on.

Subjects typically taught include the standard disciplines followed in a traditional school program as well as those that capitalize on the child's interests. In his best-selling book The Element, Ken Robinson writes that "the key to [educational] transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions." A homeschooling atmosphere provides a natural setting in which parents can deliver an individualized method of instruction that matches the child's unique interests, ability, and learning style.

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