Home­schooling and the Family

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, almost 1.1 million children underwent home­schooling in 2005 alone. That's a lot of children. Once upon a time, home­schooling used to be a radical statement - something like a declaration of independence. It was the conservative Christians who advocated home­schooling in the '80s and legalized it in every State. But the typical home­schooler of the day is not religiously motivated.

Recent surveys indicate that parents are actually quite fed up of the public school systems where much of the learning is superficial and compulsory. They are also concerned about negative school environment ranging from drugs and abuse to negative peer pressure. As a result, we have a surprising mix of people who form the home­schooling world of today. They cut across all religious and regional borders. Their main aim is providing meaningful and productive learning through a method that strengthens the bond between the various members of the family.

All these families have one thing in common - a long enduring commitment to the sanctity of childhood. The children in these families are accorded a primary position. Many believe, and rightly so, that home­schooling allows parents to bring up children in a more natural and nurturing environment. Public schools can make one nervous, diffident and downright mean. Children who get schooled at home are protected from these damaging negative influences till they reach an age where they can handle it.

Home­schooling draws the whole family into the almost religious task of schooling. Everyone is put to work.

The parents together form a bond with the children. Any experience can be turned into an educational experience. Both the parents are aware of exactly what is going into their child's head. Parents also have greater control on the kind of religious and moral values that the child imbibes. Even watching a movie together can become a learning experience. Trips to the libraries and other places become educational as well as recreational.

One of the greatest benefits of home­schooling is the strengthening of family bonds. Because the children have a flexible schedule to match their parents work or special interests, families have more time together, which essentially turn into tighter bonding and stronger relationships. The stronger the family bonds, the more they learn to respect each other and the people outside their immediate family circle.

A home­schooling family is primarily dependent on the income of one earning member. That means that often spending has to be curtailed and proper planning of expenditure is a must. This helps to bring the family members together and everybody gets involved in the process of saving money.

Having a parent at home to supervise, to nurture and care for the children brings with it a lot of love and caring. Even your husband chips in and there just is no room for boredom. Yes, problems do crop up, and there are a lot of misgivings in your mind. But when you know that your kids can always count on you, and your kids know it too, then home­schooling becomes a richly rewarding experience.

If you are interested in reading more on this topic, please read: Structuring the School Year.