Homeschooling 101: What Is Homeschooling?

How Do Homeschool Kids Move Ahead?

Do homeschooled kids receive homework? How do they receive objective grades?

In many ways homeschooling lessens the need for traditional homework often required by schools, particularly for elementary school-age kids. Without 20 or more children in one class, schoolwork can often be completed in a shorter time frame during the school day, eliminating the need for extra work afterward.

Acting as a one-on-one tutor, the parent-teacher constantly observes the children as they learn. This direct observation allows a parent to keep track of a child's proficiency in or struggles. Assignments are then tailored accordingly.

Homeschooled children, especially as they grow older, often attend more traditional classes, giving them experience in completing more typical homework assignments. Some public schools allow homeschoolers to attend certain classes that they choose. As they get older, homeschooled kids may enroll in community college classes and begin their college studies early.

Although grades in certain subjects are not always needed, many families do administer graded tests, some through computer programs. The homeschooling environment allows children to progress at their own pace until they have mastered the necessary materials.

Do homeschooled kids need to take standardized or state-mandated tests in order to move to the next grade or to "graduate"? How long does homeschooling last?

A number of states require standardized testing at specific intervals; others don't. Some families prefer to have their kids tested to ensure that the children are progressing academically. Other homeschoolers believe there is no need for such testing until a child reaches high school.

Homeschooling can continue until a student graduates and enters college. Families may choose to homeschool throughout their children's education, or they may do so for only a few years before transferring their kids back into a mainstream school system. Most colleges are beginning to take note of homeschooling's popularity. Even Ivy League universities have recruited and accepted homeschooled graduates.

Jamie Martin homeschools her three children in the New England countryside and blogs at and She is the author of Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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