The event, which took place at The Carson Bible Church, was well attended. Parents and students from all around the community and even outside the community attended the event. There was a wide range in attendance, from those just considering the idea for the first time to long-time veteran homeschoolers who have already graduated several children.
This article aims to delve into the advantages of homeschooling, shedding light on why parents should consider choosing this educational path for their children.
1. Tailored Education:
One of the primary benefits of homeschooling is the ability to provide a customized education that suits each child's unique learning style, pace, and interests. Unlike traditional schools, homeschooling allows parents to choose from or create their own curriculums and teaching methods personalized to their child's needs and passions. For instance, a child who is bored in school because they aren't challenged enough now has the option to learn above their "grade level." Or the opposite situation, a child who is unable to keep up with the pace of the system and is just getting swept along without learning or understanding. Homeschooling's individualized approach enables children to understand concepts better, leading to a deeper understanding of subjects with much less stress on studying for a test, so the love for learning can be kept alive.
Debbie Schlegel, a certified teacher in Washington and Oregon, attended the info meeting in Carson. She teaches homeschool science classes at Horizon Christian School's Friday homeschool program. She also teaches more intimate Marine Biology classes in White Salmon and Carson. She expressed the importance of hands-on learning and focusing less on testing to capture the joy of real science by being a scientist.
"Yes, we test, but the tests we give are not what I evaluate my students with. I evaluate the students by what they do in front of me. So if they can't remember the name of something scientifically, I don't care. I care that they know how to do science and be able to speak for themselves and not be told what to think. We turn our brains on. And we ask lots of questions. That's what scientists are supposed to do. If they're told not to ask a question and memorize something, they're not being scientists; I teach kids how to be scientists." Schlegel said.
2. Flexibility and Freedom:
Homeschooling offers unparalleled flexibility in terms of scheduling. Families can create routines that accommodate their child's specific needs, extracurricular activities, and family dynamics. Without rigid timetables, it allows children to have more productive learning, as they can delve into subjects when they are most receptive. Additionally, the freedom to explore various educational resources beyond textbooks, such as intimate field trips to the local observatory, cooking lessons with a parent, or even just a visit to the park or a walk in the woods. There are innumerable ways to learn outside of a classroom structure.
Hannah Joy, a homeschooled mother of six, said, "How many of you have had your child come home and just say, I hate reading. I hate math. I hate being here. Homeschooling is the opportunity to let your child fall in love with learning. Education is different from learning. If you give your child the ability to love to learn, they can educate themselves, and that won't stop at graduation. If they learn to love learning and what learning really is for them, they won't stop after graduation."
3. One-on-One attention:
Teachers are incredible. But let's face it, in a classroom full of thirty kids, one person can't provide for all the individual needs that children require. In a homeschooling environment, children receive one-on-one attention from their parents or dedicated tutors, facilitating a deeper level of engagement. With personalized instruction, parents can identify and address each child's strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This creates a nurturing learning environment that boosts a child's confidence, self-esteem, and a love for learning. Children can also actively participate in discussions, ask questions freely, and receive immediate feedback, gaining a more interactive and fulfilling learning experience.
4. The Elephant in the Room, Emotional and Social Development:
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling does not isolate children from social interactions with others. In fact, it provides ample opportunities for children to engage with peers, mentors, and community members in many different ways outside a classroom's confines. Homeschooling families often organize regular meet-ups, co-op classes, and extracurricular activities to get their kids out around people who do what they do. Additionally, homeschoolers can interact with individuals of different age groups, allowing for more diverse socialization experiences. This also allows kids to socialize with those outside their age group, hugely benefiting the development of the young mind.
“If it is true that “It takes a village to raise a child” surely that village is not all the same age.” said Benjamin Boyes, homeschool father of four.
With fewer distractions and negative influences, homeschooling provides an environment for emotional growth. It creates strong family bonds, empathy, and a network of support.
5. Enhanced Focus on Values and Ethics:
Homeschooling empowers parents to instill and reinforce their family's values, ethics, and belief systems throughout their child's educational journey. Parents can integrate moral education into their curriculum, teaching children empathy, respect, and critical thinking skills. Work ethic can be learned through required chores, giving teenagers adult-like responsibilities, and even teaching money management by having them work with you on the household budget. This approach to the teaching environment helps children build a solid moral compass, enabling them to navigate life's challenges with integrity, compassion, and common sense.
6. Safe and Secure Learning Environment:
When concerns about safety and well-being are growing rampant, homeschooling offers a sense of security. Shielded from bullying, peer pressure, and negative influences, children can focus on their studies and personal growth. Homeschooling allows parents to create a safe environment free from the risk of violence, substance abuse, or other safety concerns prevalent in many traditional schools.
If you are struggling with issues developing within the school system or have concerns about the future of your children's education and well-being, an army of parents feels the same way. If switching to homeschooling feels like a daunting task, you are not alone. The homeschool community is everywhere, and there are tons of resources to be found. There are so many opportunities in a community that help give your child the best education possible; the Knuckle-busters program in North Bonneville teaches kids about mechanics, have your children volunteer in the local nursing home, or perhaps you have a neighbor who used to be a science teacher and wants to share their knowledge. Many people, especially older people, desire to share their life experiences with youth but haven't had enough opportunities to do so.
Photo Credit: Loraine Creon