There is a stigma surrounding homeschooling. Parents are under tremendous pressure to do the “right” thing, and anything viewed as unconventional can lead to criticism.
Anita Cleare writes for Positive Parenting Project about “risk-averse parenting,” or the tendency to avoid any parenting choice construed as risky, like letting kids freely roam the neighborhood.
Perhaps you’ve felt fear of judgement when considering homeschooling your child. Maybe relatives, friends, neighbors, or your own spouse have peppered you with What abouts: “What about socialization?” “What about college?” “What about standards?”
When I studied education at Harvard, I never would have thought I’d end up such a strong homeschooling advocate! I had preconceived notions about homeschooling being a way for parents to shield their children from the world. I hadn’t met the flourishing community of innovative, creative homeschooling families driving the new homeschooling revolution. When done well, homeschooling can deliver results traditional schooling rarely, if ever, does.
In this post, I’ll share the points about homeschooling that changed my mind. Maybe they’ll convince you (or your mother-in-law), too.
In any unconventional lifestyle choice, the more other people are doing it, the easier it is to take the leap. So, let’s begin with the fact: homeschooling has never been more popular.
Latest estimates say 5% of kids are homeschooled today— a rise of 30% since before the pandemic. Homeschooling is more common than having red hair!
Homeschooling rates are rising fastest among:
Every family’s reasons are different. But these reasons have most convinced me to homeschool my kids:
Traditional classrooms need to meet the needs of 20-40 students at once. The average student spends a lot of time waiting. Waiting for the class to settle down so the teacher can talk. Waiting for everyone to turn in the worksheet your child finished 30 minutes ago. Or, it’s the reverse problem—the class moving on before your child has grasped a key concept. Homeschooling allows you to move at exactly the pace your child needs.
The school system is built for scale, not engagement. But decades of learning science research prove when curiosity is engaged, more learning is retained. Maybe your child is obsessed with ancient Egypt, and would love to learn geometry by studying the pyramids. Maybe they’re passionate about music, and would love learning history through the lens of music history. In homeschooling, your child’s curiosity sets the direction.
When school is boring, learning is boring. It’s essential for kids to love learning, since lifelong learners who can teach themselves anything will be most successful in a world changing faster than ever.
Did you know 1:1 tutoring may be the secret to creating future geniuses? Bloom’s 2-Sigma Problem is one of the most robust findings in education research. It shows the average student tutored one-to-one performs two standard deviations better than students educated traditionally.
Erik Hoel caused a recent stir with his series on “aristocratic tutoring” called Why We Stopped Making Einsteins. He makes a case for returning to homeschooling as it was done decades ago, focusing on 1:1 instruction and deep dives into topics of intellectual interest.
Everyone learns more when they apply their learning to a real scenario. But hands-on and experiential learning is rare in many traditional classrooms. Homeschooling families can more easily provide materials for hands-on projects, take field trips, or even pursue internships, apprenticeships, or job shadows in their local community.
Traditional school can be an exhausting grind for the whole family. From early bell schedules causing chronic sleep deprivation in high school kids, to mountains of homework causing burnout in young children who should be experiencing the benefits of play and exercise, it’s easy to understand why families are tempted by homeschooling’s schedule flexibility.
We all want to raise kids into successful adults. What skills are most important for success in adult life? Now, does the traditional education system does a good job teaching these skills? As a homeschooling parent, you can plan the curriculum to incorporate topics schools don’t typically spend much time on: from financial literacy to AI technology to public speaking to running a business.
“Our ‘why’ now is that we feel as though our kids are now being raised by us in our family culture vs a peer culture.” -Jenna W., Prisma parent
Your kids will never be as young as they are today, and you’ll never have more opportunity for family time. Although homeschooling can sometimes cause strain in parent-child relationships (and it’s important to make sure your child has many fulfilling relationships), learning together enriches family life. Taking ownership of your child’s education is a beautiful act of love and dedication!
Of course, it’s a sad reality of parenting that you can’t 100% guarantee your child’s safety. It’s futile to attempt to shield your child from every possible danger and discomfort. However, many families feel home education offers safety benefits compared to the typical school environment, from avoiding rare dangers, like school shootings, to more typical risks like negative peer pressure.
Convinced yet? Explore some of our most popular guides to homeschooling: