Homeschool. Just hearing the word brings various images to mind as well as strong feelings for or against it. In reality, homeschooling is a very broad term used to describe many different types of education. Homeschooling just means that the parent has chosen to take a path in educating their child that is not formal public, private or religious school. Every homeschooling parent is different and every homeschooled student is different. No two students’ school days are exactly the same. Because laws on homeschooling can be confusing and controversial, my first recommendation to anyone who chooses this path is to join the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, HSLDA.
With the right child, the right teacher/parent and an educational plan that fits them both, homeschooling is a fantastic way to educate children today. It requires immense commitment and dedication on the part of the student and the parent/teacher. Done correctly, it provides an individualized education and meets each learner’s specific needs. Concepts can be learned more completely and in less time in a one-on-one environment. This provides more flexible time for students to pursue their interests and leads to less of a pressure cooker environment. (The documentary, The Race to Nowhere, demonstrates the pressure on today’s youth.) Homeschooling also allows a lot of time for socializing with various types of people with various interests.
I spent two years homeschooling one of my sons and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. I had the perfect combination of a ‘teacher/learner to the core(me)’ and a ‘happy, well-adjusted and eager student(my son).’ We enjoyed tons of quality time together and are extremely close as a result. He learned so much and his intellect and advanced maturity shine through to this day. Homeschooling for me, the mom and teacher, was extremely demanding. It was a full-time job. A perfect job because who can ask for anything better than working for the good of your child? We enjoyed reading on the beach, discussing nature, running on the boardwalk while listening to iTunes University downloads…learning together. Whenever something came up that interested him, we could go off on a tangent and explore it further. It was a wonderful gift of time together and a time that I will always cherish.
Sandy Aprahamian, Assistant Director, Informed Educational Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org