Homeschooling Your Children: The Basic Facts!

Wikipedia states that “Home education, also called homeschooling or home school, is an educational alternative in which children are educated at home by their parents, in contrast to the compulsory attendance which takes place in an institution with a campus such as a public school or private school.”

Around the world Homeschooling has been increasing quite substantially over the last 4 years. In 2003, in the United States, approximately 1.1 million children were Home Schooled, up 29% from 850,000 in 1999. Recent figures show that Homeschooling in other Western Countries are also continuing to grow. For example, an estimated 50,000 children are considered “home-educated” in the United Kingdom; Australia – 26,500; and in Canada (as at 2001) it was estimated that 80,000 children were educated at home with the numbers continuing to increase.

Most home education advocates have individual motivations to home-educate. Academic and social results of home education are varied and are the source of vibrant debate. Some feel that they can more effectively tailor a student’s academic program to suit an individual strengths and weaknesses, especially children who are gifted or have learning disabilities. Others are religious parents who see non-religious education as contrary to their moral or religious systems. Still others feel that the negative social pressures of schools, such as bullying, drugs, school violence, and other school-related problems, are impacting negatively to a child’s development. Many parents simply like the idea of teaching their own children rather than letting someone else do so.

A common concern voiced about home-educated children is they lack the social interaction with students and society that a school environment provides. Many home-education families address these concerns by joining numerous organizations, including home-education cooperatives, independent study programs and specialized enrichment groups for physical education, art, music, and debate. Most are also active in community groups. Home-educated children generally socialize with other children the same way that school children do: outside of school, via personal visits and through sports teams, clubs, and religious groups.

The academic effectiveness of homeschooling is largely a settled issue. “Numerous studies have confirmed the academic integrity of home education programs, demonstrating that on average, home-educated students outperform their publicly-run school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects.” The performance gaps between minorities and gender that plague publicly-run schools are virtually non-existent amongst home-educated students.

Notable home-educated individuals

o Thomas Edison, United States, scientist and inventor

o Alexander Graham Bell, Scotland, Inventor (Telephone, Hydrofoil)

o Dakota Fanning, United States, actress

o Hilary Duff, United States, Actress/Singer

o Charles Evans Hughes, United States, Governor of New York, United States Secretary of State, and Chief Justice of the United States

o Frankie Muniz, United States, Actor

o Rosa Parks, United States, civil rights activist

o Susan La Flesche Picotte, United States, first American Indian woman physician

o Woodrow Wilson, United States, the only United States President to hold a Ph.D.

o George Washington, United States, First United States President

o Abraham Lincoln, United States, President during American Civil War

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything learnt in school” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Copyright © 2006 Matt Weight