What Is Homeschool?

At its core, the concept behind homeschooling is really quite simple: Parents accept total responsibility for the education of their children rather than transferring the bulk of this responsibility to an institution (usually a public or private school).

In practical terms, this means that the home becomes the center of a child's education, rather than a school. Parents, who have a deep interest in their children based on love, become the primary educators for their children. Homeschool parents carefully guide their children through their mental, emotional, and physical development. The parents choose an educational path for their children based on each child's personality and gifts. (This is in contrast to an institutional school in which a child's educational path is managed by many different people, none of whom have an overall view of the child's education or even much of a personal interest in the child's well being.) In a homeschool, each child's education is designed specially for that child rather than forcing the child to follow the same path as every other student in an institutional school.

Homeschooling is about academic excellence. Because a child's education is designed just for her, the child's potential can be fully realized. Each child can learn at his own pace. Areas in which a child excels can be maximized and accelerated. Areas in which a child struggles can be focused on until the child really conquers that subject. True learning becomes the primary focus of education.

Homeschooling isn't a practice of isolating children at home, as those who are ignorant of homeschooling sometimes think. Rather, parents include outside classes, tutors, field trips, service work, sports, and other means to add a large variety of learning opportunities and experiences to a child's education. The reality is that homeschoolers enjoy experiences and activities that are simply not possible for children in a public or private school because of the many limitations that are integral to those institutions. These experiences enhance the academic elements of the homeschool to maximize the child's intellectual development.

Homeschooling is about forming close and loving bonds between parents and children and between siblings. This means that parents become the primary influence over their children's development, rather than a group of peers who have the same or less maturity level than the child. Homeschooling is about forming close relationships with people of many ages, rather than only with people in the same grade.

Parents who homeschool recognize that there should be more to a child's education than just intellectual development. As important, or perhaps more so, is the development of a child's moral character and personality. Rather than having this development occur in an unplanned and largely unsupervised setting that is part of an institutional school, parents become the loving and leading influence to help their child become the best person he can be.

Homeschool includes developing a close network of other homeschooling families with whom you can form close and meaningful relationships that last over time. Homeschoolers get together regularly and often to participate in group activities or just to hang out.

Homeschool is also a way for families to have more freedom and flexibility in how they live. It's about families setting their own schedules and plans rather than dancing to an institutional school's tune.

Finally, homeschooling is about helping children learn how to think and act independently and, therefore, not be driven by group-think and the herd mentality that is such a large part of institutional schools.

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://quepublishing.com/title/0789732777 to order your own copy.

Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789732777 to order your own copy.


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