Even before I met my now-husband, I became socially plugged into the network of homeschooling families in my state and began planning on homeschooling my future children.
From my perspective, there are very serious practical, academic, ideological, political, financial, religious and even medical benefits that families can reap from homeschooling, the main ones of which I plan to enumerate in this short piece.
Flexibility of Schedule
A homeschool schedule can be tailored entirely to fit the other needs and desires of the family. In this way, a family's educational needs can be compatible with other vocational, social and/or emotional needs. Individual subjects can be accelerated or decelerated, depending upon the student and his or her particular needs. Homeschooling can be done bit-by-bit year-round, or the typical summer break can be observed. Families can stick rigidly to a schedule as an important exercise in discipline, or they can vary their schedules day by day if they prefer or if other circumstances necessitate it. Families can schedule vacations at times that work best with the parent (or parents') work schedule(s), seasons, weather forecast, etc.
A homeschool curriculum can be completed not only anytime, but anywhere. If a family needs to go visit in-laws or grandparents, or if a family would like to attend a family reunion, homeschool lessons can be brought along and completed. In this way, family trips do not disrupt schooling, and vice versa.
It is no secret that a tremendous amount of time is wasted in our modern school system—time spent:
- commuting to and from school,
- walking from classroom to classroom,
- sitting in Advisory and/or free period(s),
- listening (or not) to announcements,
- having fire drills, and
- engaging in frivolous (and even expensive) activities, such as skits, dodgeball tournaments, door decorating—you name it.
A homeschooling family can complete the day's academics in several hours and replace all of the aforementioned time-wasting events with, for example:
- extra socializing,
- extra reading or other academic types of pursuits,
- cultivation of desirable skill sets such as knitting, sewing or woodworking,
- gardening or farming,
- chores (like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, mopping—the list neve rends), or
- care for younger siblings.
Most homeschooled students have the time to pursue an internship, whether paid or unpaid, with, for example, a local tradesman (like an electrician or plumber)—even for the sole purpose of acquiring useful, helpful "home ec" skills.
Homeschool families have not only more time for good socialization with other families, but an ideal amount of freedom in picking which children with which they socialize their children. It is no secret that peer group is one of the most powerful influences on especially adolescents, and it is something that we as parents must really attempt to "get right." Good families can be sought out not just through work, community groups and churches, for example, but through the large homeschool network of academic and extracurricular co-ops. These homeschool communities are typically extremely welcoming, always eager to grow.
Quality of Curriculum
Homeschool families have freedom.
Homeschool families have 100% freedom in deciding what their children learn. Moreover, they have the freedom to use extremely high-quality, academically-rigorous curricula and teach their children amazing material that is not offered in the vast majority of public, private and Catholic schools. "Classical education", "grammar, rhetoric, logic and dialectic", "the great books", "Socratic method discussion" and "the seven liberal arts—quadrivium and trivium" are all phrases with which many homeschooling families are familiar. Classical Liberal Arts Academy, for example, is arguably the most purely traditional, "unedited" classical curriculum on the homeschool market, not altering itself for modern students in any way. CLAA seeks to replicate the content and structure of the educational system of the Western world that was in place from ancient and medieval to Renaissance and Baroque times and onward. However, there are abundant options from which homeschool families can choose.
Homeschool curricula are generally not only more high-quality, but almost always much less expensive than local Catholic schools. For example, Xavier High School for boys in Middletown, CT (largely considered one of the best college preparatory high schools around) tuition costs $15,600 for Catholics registered in the Diocese of Norwich, CT, $15,900 for Catholics registered outside the Norwich diocese, and and $16,100 for unregistered Catholics and non-Catholics. Of course, like other similar institutions, Xavier has a financial aid program in place, but institutions such as Xavier are often unable to provide families with tuition amounts that said families can truly afford.
On the other hand, for example, the aforementioned CLAA (Classical Liberal Arts Academy), whose "tried, tested and true" materials are all public domain and therefore free, currently costs $10/month per student.
Therefore, as opposed to paying $15,600-$16,100 a year per student at Xavier (although the school does slightly lower tuition costs for families who send more than one child to the school), CLAA families pay no more than $120 a year per student. These numbers play out similarly for other private schools and homeschool curricula, respectively, across the board.
In some parts of the United States more than others, of course, many families are concerned with medical (such as vaccine) mandates. None of these concerns are present in the homeschool community, where families retain their right to medical freedom in this regard.
The reasons for families to homeschool are abundant. It is my hope that more and more families will take these considerations into account over time, and examination of recent trends and statistics in this regard seems to confirm that indeed, they are!
Sarah Rodeo Dzialo. "7 Reasons for Families to Consider Homeschooling." Sarah Rodeo Dzialo's Substack (May 27, 2022).
The AuthorCopyright © 2002 Sarah Rodeo Dzialo
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