Five Reasons to Home School From an Educator’s Perspective

I have yet to delve into the world of home schooling; however, the more I do my research, the more I realize home schooling my girls may be best for them in the long run. I have been a part of the public education community in several capacities over the last fourteen years, and I can honestly say that the public school system continues to leave me looking for alternatives, and quickly.

There are a myriad reasons why parents choose to home school their children, and many public school educators themselves are distancing their children away from the public system to an extremely private one: Home Schooling. If you are looking for reasons to home school your children, please due your homework-yes, pun intended-and make sure this is something you can handle. An education is nothing to mess with.

There are several factors to consider when choosing to delve into unchartered territory. The first and foremost being can you handle being with your children literally twenty-four seven? If you have doubts for any reason, don’t home school. At least your child would get an education, albeit not a very good one if they continue within the public school system.

Here is a list of my top five reasons why Home schooling may be our next move.

Bullying in schools has become more common place than in years gone by. With the advent of social networking sites and texting/cell phones, cyber bullying has displaced face-to-face confrontations and this in turn has caused more unlikely bullies to rear their ugly heads upon society. And since old fashioned bullying still takes place, some kids in school are not safe whether they are in the school building or at home. While many schools claim they are taking a hard stance on bullying, our senate leaders think the bullying stand is too tough for the bullies. According to a recent amendment to SB 3004, school officials will no longer be allowed to use suspension or expulsion as a form of punishment until physical harm takes place, and; then, the bully can only receive three days out and cannot suffer academically because of his or her bullying. I’m starting to think this should be my number one reason.

Socialization is often a strong arguments by idiots against home schooling your child. However, with all of the work schools are cramming into a school day, socialization is severely frowned upon in schools. It is so bad that many schools do not let the students fraternize or talk during lunch. The school claims the kids won’t eat if they talk, but, hey, isn’t that their decision? A couple of missed meals and then struggling through the day may be just what a kid needs to learn how to mix eating and socialization. And what socialization skills do schools really teach beyond kindergarten? Students cannot talk in class. In fact, every time my middle school aged daughter got in trouble at school it was for talking and/or socializing. There, are certain socialization lessons that need to be taught that didn’t exist twenty years ago. Like teaching students how to hold a conversation without having a cell phone glued to their fingertips. Oh wait, I forgot cell phones are banned in most schools.

Curriculum in America’s schools is being overhauled at alarming rates and in a way I believe will hurt far more than it will help. Many schools across the nation, for whatever reason, are buying into Common Core. Yes, common core will help schools meet or exceed their numbers on standardized tests, maybe. But more importantly it is taking creativity away from good teachers and creating little drones who do not, cannot, and will not think or do for themselves. I was recently in a seventh grade classroom in which the students actually expected me to read the story to them so they could answer the study guide questions. Humina what? I’m a former English teacher who loves the classics. However, we do not students of this advanced technological age who can read or understand Shakespeare, Dickens and all the other old authors still being taught in school. Yes, there are valuable lessons in their works. Yes, teachers should use examples of these works when teaching concepts or writing. But to force a kid to read Romeo and Juliet just because the two main characters are about the same age is ridiculous. There is great stuff out there that can teach the same lessons and be more relatable to today’s youth.

Money is another giant issue when it comes to home schooling your children, and I wish this reason was really as simple as just saving some money. Let’s face, education has become all about money. More money is being pumped in to feed kids. More money is being spent on discipline issues. More money is being stopped, suspended, or cut altogether. Money is the only reason the school cares if your kid is absent or not. The students know they’ll get their homework and get time to complete it they are absent, and how much would they really miss by being absent for a day or two? Why does the school need to make sure your kid is there and why are there attendance rules? The school needs to fill its maximum number of students daily to receive the maximum number of funds daily, which many schools don’t get in a timely fashion to begin with. Now, distance yourself from all that drama and you just may be able to some amazing things with your finances once you home school. No more registration fees. No more fund raising expenditures. No more athletic fees. No more lunch money. No after school or before school daycare. No more summer daycare.

Common Core is teaching students how to think alike so they can pass a useless test. And, that’s if they are being taught to think at all. I’ve been to the ACT test prep sessions and I’ve taught them. Our main goal was to teach them tricks for adding one or two points to their test. Tricks became the focus. For instance, we taught them which answer to choose based on statistics. Like the majority of the time the right choice is the third option. Students are discouraged from adding their opinions or sharing their beliefs because it’s not relevant to the lesson at hand, which was designed by the ACT people, and taught by your schools with no room for independent creativity and thought.

The decision to home school is totally up to you, but I seriously hope your do the work necessary to make sure your child will get a quality education from you. But above all, if your child continues through the journey of the public school system, make sure you teach them how to think, solve problems, make education decisions and to become successful, independent non-burdens on society.

Homeschooling Children with Autism: 5 Reasons Why It Works

As a homeschooling parent of a child with autism, I am often asked, “How do you do it?” It takes dedication, planning, and research, of course, but I find that it is not all that difficult when I remember why I do it.

There are 5 primary reasons why homeschooling is the best option for my child:

1. One-to-one instruction provides for optimal learning.

It is a generally-accepted educational principle that the lower the teacher-to-student ratio, the more effective the teaching can be. Most parents realize that the more students a teacher has, the less attention and direct instruction each student will receive from the teacher. One-to-one instruction is always preferred for private lessons or tutoring because the lessons can be customized to the student’s ability in order to maximize their progress in the shortest amount of time.

Homeschooling or private tutoring offers a child with autism the opportunity to make the most of their learning potential. The child receives more direct instruction time, immediate feedback, and teaching that is tailored to their learning style and strengths. Due to the individualized instruction he or she receives, the child with autism is able to experience success on a daily basis which helps improve their self-esteem. Feelings of success are something that many children with autism do not experience in a typical school setting.

2. The environment can be adapted to the child’s sensory needs.

In a home setting, it is much easier to control the learning environment. Unlike a classroom situation where other students can be a big distraction from learning, homeschooling parents can structure an environment that is best suited to their child’s needs. Whether it is a quiet room, special lighting, background music, or breaks for sensory issues, the home can be an ideal educational setting.

3. Homeschooling offers flexible scheduling.

With fewer distractions and more direct instruction, home-schooled students require less of their time to be spent on schoolwork. There is no time wasted on the taking of attendance, class announcements, student reprimands, repetitive teaching on a subject the student has already mastered, etc.

The school day can also be planned around the child’s best time for learning. Some children with autism are “night-owls” by nature and have a difficult time going to bed early and getting up early for school. We can adjust our hours of instruction to correspond with the times that the child is naturally most alert and able to focus. We can also schedule shorter learning sessions throughout the day with plenty of breaks as needed. Shorter sessions also promote greater intensity and concentration on academic tasks resulting in the child retaining more of the material being taught.

Most parents quickly realize that another benefit of homeschooling is the fact that you can plan field trips during the week when places are less crowded. This is a big advantage for children with autism who may not do well with large groups of people.

4. The child has a better opportunity for positive socialization.

All socialization is not beneficial for our children. In schools, you must take the bad with the good. In a home setting, parents have more say in determining when their children are ready for specific social situations. For more on the topic of schools and socialization, see my article entitled, “Social Skills and Autism – Where’s the Best Place for Socialization?”

5. The child’s interests can be incorporated into their schoolwork.

Anything that your child is interested in can form the basis for their studies. In homeschooling circles, this is referred to as unit studies. You take any topic of interest and design a complete educational program around that topic. This approach works well for reluctant learners who say that school is boring.

For my family, homeschooling is a great time-saver that allows us to focus our attention on constructive social opportunities, educational field trips, and practical daily living skills. We don’t have to worry about which teacher our child is going to have every year nor do we have to spend most of the year trying to help the teacher “get to know” our child and their needs. We don’t have to fight the school district for services or for the correct implementation of services that were promised. We don’t have to waste our time going back and forth to school or to school-related meetings. Simply put, homeschooling offers my son with autism a method of instruction that works efficiently and effectively to enable him to achieve his highest potential.