Each family makes the decision to homeschool for their own reasons. Primarily, homeschooling is selected because the parents/primary caregivers believe that they are the ones best equipped to educate their children. While many families do opt to homeschool in order to place a greater emphasis on religion, many more do so for a variety of other reasons.
Some choose to educate at home because they do not want their children taking standardized tests. Others seek to avoid restrictions pertaining to immunizations. Some opt for homeschooling due to a lack or loss of confidence in the public schooling system. Many make the choice because, for one reason or another, they feel their child(ren) do best outside of a school setting. This may be owing to having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, attentional challenges, learning styles that are less likely to be accommodated in a traditional classroom, child maturity levels, or, in some cases, because of a disappointment in or fear of a negative culture in a local school for which the child is zoned.
Homeschooling families are as diverse as any other population. There are those who have a substantial income, and those who are just scraping by. There are those who believe in intensive, focused, structured learning as well as those who will allow their children complete freedom of choice in their own activities--and everything in between these extremes. Some families who choose to homeschool will do so on a very flexible basis, allowing their children to opt in one year and out the next and back in again later on. Some will have a mixture of children in public school and homeschooled.
In the end, home education is about the children. How do we best cultivate the next generation? Each of us must decide for ourselves. Homeschooling is on a rising trend, and given the rate of technological innovation, it’s easy to see how this trend can continue for a long time to come.
Home education offers a flexibility of lifestyle. Students can be taught anywhere, at any time--even on vacation. And vacation can happen whenever it’s convenient for the parents, without concern for the typical school year.
Homeschooling also allows a greater opportunity for student-led learning. Kids who get to choose what projects they pursue can often develop a greater level of learning in a subject area. For example, many homeschoolers become involved in robotics or other maker crafts, designing new technologies before even reaching their teen years.
Kids who are taught outside of the traditional classroom generally develop better skills at self-educating. They can learn from reading a text or spend a longer time focused on a subject of interest as there are no bells ringing to make them change rooms or perhaps no classmates around to distract them from that which they want to study. Speech and conversation skills are typically greater in homeschoolers than in children who are traditionally schooled, as they are not so confined to a particular group (such as people born within a year of age of themselves) for conversation.
You might also ask yourself the question, “Why publicly educate?” Parents generally do much of the work of raising their children for the first 4 or 5 years, often quite well. And then they put their kids in the hands of strangers, in large groups, and they worry that they cannot teach their own children--but they have done so all along!
Is homeschooling extremely easy? No, absolutely not. Education is a lifelong process. Many parents find themselves learning right along with their kids. Is the challenge of homeschooling worth it? Each family must decide for themselves. And the Friends of Alachua County Homeschoolers will be here, willing to help you answer your questions and find new ways to help support our local community. We want your answer to the question of “Why homeschool?” to be, “Because it’s fun for our whole family--and because I can!”