When I was a kid, homeschooling wasn't even a word that existed in our vernacular, and consequently, I didn't know a single kid who was homeschooled. As a person who had attended public schools his entire life, homeschooling just didn't exist in my universe.
When our daughter was born, teaching her at home was not even on our radar. However, now that we have homeschooled our kids for the past six years, I can't help but look back in wonder over how far we've come, and how much it has worked for us.
What I find particularly interesting is the reaction we get when we tell people that we homeschool, with the most common response being, "I could never do that." I understand where they are coming from, but the reality is, anyone could homeschool.
I am not trying to promote homeschooling as the perfect choice for education, because I am well aware of the fact that it is not for everyone. However, I do think there are certain situations where a child might benefit from homeschooling, and in many instances, they might even thrive.
1. Problems With Socialization
Schools are dynamic social arenas where kids span the entire spectrum of personalities. Most kids fall into the middle, but for students who are on the periphery, school can be a difficult and even painful time, the scars from which will stay with them for their entire lives.
2. Poor Academic Performance
There are a host of reasons why kids don't do well in school, but whatever the reason, poor academic performance can hurt a child's self-esteem. It is important to note that this is not necessarily rooted in their intelligence, but more so in the methods by which they are learning.
3. Behavioral Problems
Some students just have a difficult time focusing in the rigid and structured environment of school, and it is worth noting that they can span the intelligence spectrum. Children who are considered gifted are just as capable of misbehaving in the classroom as any other student.
4. Learning Issues
Children who have trouble with reading or with motor skills need individual attention. Though schools are equipped to address this, it is not always fun for the student, especially when they stand out among their peers in the competitive academic environment of school.
5. Bored at School
Students learn at different rates, and their interests and capabilities are as diverse as the students themselves. With this in mind, it is not possible to design a curriculum that fits the need of every child, which can in turn lead to behavior and performance problems.
School is a cauldron of social interactions, but the simple reality is, most kids (and adults), want to fit in. Students with an independent spirit could become the target of peer scrutiny. Conversely, those that try to conform may deny their true calling and grow up to regret it (I know I did).
7. Your Beliefs
Parents have a whole myriad of reasons to homeschool, but wherever your beliefs fall, homeschooling allows you to instill these values in your children. At school, peer influence rules. Beliefs can encompass more than just religion, and can include how you wish for your kids to view the world, nature, other people, and themselves.
The decision to homeschool is not an easy one (which is an understatement, to say the least), but keep in mind that it's not as difficult as many people make it out to be. Most parents know the material all the way up to high school — and if they don't, they can easily learn it. Plus, homeschooling really involves you in what your child is learning, and the simple reality is, nobody has your kid's best interest in mind more than you.