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What Is Home Schooling?

By Deborah Ng
Updated May 16, 2024
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Home schooling is a choice made by some parents to provide elementary, middle or high school education to their children in their own home. Many parents, frustrated by corrupt school boards, lack of religious instruction, underpaid teachers or unsafe conditions, have opted to teach their kids at home. Most parents cite family togetherness, more control over curriculum, and having a say over what their children learn as reasons to home school. Many of the families who home school also do so for religious reasons.

There are many advantages to home schooling. For instance, parents teach their children one-on-one, rather than twenty- or thirty-to-one in a crowded classroom. With more personal attention, children often understand the material more quickly instead of lagging behind because they don't understand. Parents also like being able to enjoy more time together as a family, instead of a few hurried hours in the evening.

Children are safe in a home school situation. They don't have to worry about playground bullies or guns and knives in the rest rooms. They're also less likely to be influenced by peer pressure and partake in drugs and alcohol. In addition, parents get to choose their childrens' curriculum and work at each child's own pace. Students also have a better chance of learning the material rather than skating by with mediocre grades. There's no such thing as "social promotion" in a home school.

There are disadvantages as well. For instance, home schooling is often lonely because children aren't socializing with other children their own age. They don't get to commiserate with their peers about things like parents and homework, and they do not get to participate in school sponsored extra curricular activities. Parents are also isolated socially as days are spent teaching children, rather than communicating with other adults in a work environment or neighborhood groups. In addition, students may not get the benefits of many of the services and programs available to those within the school system.

If you're interested in learning more about home schooling, it's imperative you learn your state's home schooling laws. You can contact your state's Homeschooling Association to learn more details. If you will be home schooling, and your child previously went to a public school, be sure to pay a visit to the school's office and withdraw your child. Otherwise, he'll still be marked as absent. Too many absences can result in being paid visits by truant officers or social workers. Call ahead of time to find out what information will be needed. In many cases, a note will have to be written to the principal or school board informing them of your intentions. You'll need to check with your state's guidelines. If your child is not enrolled in the school system already, you're ready to teach.

Furthermore, finding resources to prepare practical lessons for homeschool classes is essential if you consider homeschooling an option. In some situations, parents know enough about basic school topics to help their children get by, but in the cases of more complex math or science classes, it may be harder to teach a child at-home lessons on the fly. For that reason, many homeschool teachers turn to online study resources to help their children–whether to give the child an extra boost or to train themselves before they begin teaching.

Only you can make the decision whether or not homeschooling is right for you and your family. Take the time to do the research and weigh the pros and cons. After that, congratulate yourself for taking whatever steps were necessary to ensure your child is getting a proper education and for making an informed choice.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon996600 — On Sep 17, 2016

I'm an Iranian girl. I found your website in our English book. Nice to meet you. We don't have home schooling here and I don't agree with it. I think It's too bad because we can't see our friends every day and it's very, very bad.

By anon210655 — On Aug 31, 2011

I grew up in a day and time when home schooling was not a common alternative for public or private schools. Some of my friends went to smaller Catholic schools, and a select few attended "experimental" private schools with a more casual approach to education. The rest of us, however, had to attend public schools from grades K-12.

My graduating class had 512 members, and the entire 9-12 class population was around 2,000 or so. That's a lot of friends, enemies, bullies, drug users, jocks, brainiacs, band members, shop kids and drop-outs for one teenager to encounter.

Had I known it was possible to learn everything I needed to learn from elementary, middle and high school at home, I would have jumped at the chance to enroll in home schooling. Socialization skills are important, no doubt, but in my own experience, the biggest lessons I learned from other students were to keep my head down, hand over the lunch money, don't make waves and avoid the oddballs at lunch or recess.

I think the major problem with home schooling at that time was finding parents or tutors who had the time and expertise to perform like trained educators. It would have been a challenge to stay inside and study math or science while a perfectly good backyard was only a few yards away. Modern home schooling seems to be much more organized, with support groups for teachers and ways for students to work together on projects or to work on socialization skills.

I don't believe home schooling is suitable for every type of child. Some children would probably benefit from the discipline and structure of public schools, while others would be better off not having to deal with the bullying and social ostracism often present in large groups of children.

By anon97197 — On Jul 18, 2010

I am a parent as well as a tutor for both my child and our homeschooling community in Indonesia. Socialization is the most frequent question asked by parents who's going to homeschool their children. I absolutely agree with the first comment. Socialization is not only with peers on the same age. Socialization is more to broaden your knowledge about every person of various ages. We can learn from a baby under 5 as well as from grandma above 60.

By anon83535 — On May 11, 2010

Speaking as a formerly homeschooled student who is about to graduate from college (in four days--yikes!), I have to comment. That statement about socialization just isn't true (unless you live in a very rural area).

I live in the suburbs of Rochester, NY, and there is a large homeschooling community there. I had tons of homeschooled friends growing up, as well as a bunch of non-homeschooled friends who lived in my neighborhood.

Whenever anyone asked my mom "But what about socialization?" (and that has been asked hundreds of times) she always replied, "It's a problem. There's too darn much of it."

My parents homeschooled me and my siblings for philosophical rather than religious reasons -- they believed that we would learn better if we were the ones to lead our education. I think they were right. We studied what we wanted to study, read whatever books we wanted, played outside constantly, and took classes outside of our home when we wanted to. I had to do some math work every day, but other than that we didn't do "classes" at home. It's a radical way of approaching education that could even seem neglectful to some, but it's anything but that.

I am so grateful to my parents for the freedom they gave me to enjoy learning in my own way.

I'm graduating magna cum laude with a double degree in a few days and attending grad school in the fall, so homeschooling didn't mess me up too much, in terms of my education.

By anon11309 — On Apr 13, 2008

Great article thank you and its a great insight for those who want to understand more about homeschooling.

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