Reasons to Homeschool

When done well, homeschooling can deliver results traditional schooling rarely, if ever, does.

Emily Veno
• 
January 8, 2024

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.      

Homeschooling Is the Wave of the Future

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!

The Washington Post’s 2023 article series on the rise of homeschooling identified the same trends in new homeschoolers we’ve noticed since we founded Prisma in 2020.

Homeschooling rates are rising fastest among:

  1. Families whose children have special needs such as ADHD, autism, or dyslexia. During the pandemic, many parents decided public school wasn’t meeting their child’s needs as well as they could at home, using individual attention and personalized curriculum, free from distractions.
  2. Families with gifted children. Gifted learners do best when they can follow their interests and move at their own pace. Even specialized gifted programs and private schools can’t do this like homeschooling. Homeschooling is especially popular for twice-exceptional children (who have a learning challenge and giftedness).
  3. Families with health concerns. At Prisma, we’ve met countless families whose children have chronic health conditions, physical disabilities, or mental health challenges making showing up for school every day at 8 AM a struggle.
  4. Families dealing with social concerns or bullying. Just because a school happens to be in your neighborhood, doesn’t mean it’s the best social environment for your child. One parent, whose daughter is both gifted and formerly bullied, remarked: “Prisma saved my daughter from constant bullying and hindering of her academic and creative abilities.”  
  5. Remote workers and digital nomads. The pandemic caused an explosion in homeschooling while working from home and worldschooling (a form of homeschooling where families travel the world). “Post-COVID, we wanted to be more mobile and continue to live a flexible lifestyle where we spend more time together,” puts one family. “Traditional schooling was the biggest barrier.”
  6. Innovators & entrepreneurs. Homeschooling has long been popular in Silicon Valley. But the pandemic giving parents a window into how irrelevant traditional school curriculum is; plus a boom of innovative homeschooling companies, have made it even more of a craze with this crowd. “The school system was built 100 years ago to produce factory workers,” says one Prisma family. “We want something different for our kids.”

Top 8 Reasons to Homeschool

Every family’s reasons are different. But these reasons have most convinced me to homeschool my kids:

1. Personalize the pace  

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.


2. Make learning interesting

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.


3. Provide 1:1 attention

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.


4. Learn through doing

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.


5. Reduce schedule stress

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.


6. Teach real-world life skills

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.


7. Build family relationships

“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!


8. Ensure safety

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.


What's Prisma?

  • Prisma is an accredited, project-based, online program for kids in grades 4-12.
  • We exist to ignite a lifelong love of learning and prepare kids to thrive in the future.
  • Our middle school, high school, and parent-coach programs provide personalized curriculum, 1:1 support from educators, and cohorts where kids build community.

Common Criticisms of Homeschooling and Why I Don’t Buy Them

  1. “Parents aren’t qualified to teach.” First of all, homeschooling doesn’t mean you need to design the curriculum. Most parents use homeschool curriculum designed by education experts. Second, the proven scientific benefits of 1:1 teaching are so extreme, it more than makes up for any detrimental effect from lack of teaching degree. In an era where two-thirds of American students can’t read fluently (yes, really), forgive me for not putting my faith in the system.
  2. “What about socialization?” There are many ways to socialize, and school is only one. Homeschoolers socialize through extracurriculars, co-ops, camps, classes, and online programs. Parents should consider more than the quantity of social interaction, but the quality: is the socialization in public education quality? Homeschoolers are more comfortable socializing with peers of different grade levels, interacting with adults, and being themselves rather than conforming to fit in.
  3. “Homeschoolers can’t get into college.” Although the college application process takes a bit more savvy for homeschooled students, homeschoolers attend college at a rate higher than traditionally schooled peers. And they don’t have a harder time getting in, either: in one data set, UNC Chapel Hill admitted 47% of homeschoolers, while their standard admission rate is closer to 17%!
  4. “Homeschooling parents want to shield their child from the world.” Although this might be true of some homeschool families, especially in the past, modern homeschooling is focused on real-life experience, hands-on learning, and building future-ready skills like creativity, critical thinking, and entrepreneurship. Why shut your child in a classroom when they can learn through experiencing the world around them?

How to Get Started Homeschooling

Convinced yet? Explore some of our most popular guides to homeschooling:

8 Most Popular Online Homeschool Programs

Guide to Homeschooling Styles

Homeschool Curriculum Guides: Math, Science, and Writing

Homeschool Socialization Guide

Worldschooling Guide

Join our community of families all over the world doing school differently.

Want to learn more about how Prisma can empower your child to thrive?

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