Homeschool Learning Methods

Homeschool learning methods can be similar or quite different from the curricula offered by public schools in your local area.

Home school education is a fast-growing trend that is impacting the way we view education. Stemming from a grass roots movement of concerned parents who wanted to spare their children the disappointments and dangers of public school, the home school ideology has expanded to include parents who want to teach their own kids, families who prefer to instill values not offered or endorsed in public education, and religious groups that seek to offer a faith-based education built on spiritual teachings.

If you have ever wondered what home school teaching is like and how it works, here is a general overview. Keep in mind that each child, program, and curriculum will vary, so no two outcomes are exactly alike.

1. Home school learning emphasizes a child's role in the educational process. Whereas public school focuses on the teacher's responsibility for sharing knowledge, home schooled children are expected to take a proactive approach to learning. They typically are issued workbooks that must be completed in a reasonable timeframe established by the curriculum and their parents. Ground rules are laid out early in the program and enforced routinely so that students know what to do and how.

2. Home schooling can be adapted to a child's learning abilities. Many programs, like the one offered by the School of Tomorrow, allows children to work at an individual pace to complete workbook pages toward daily, weekly, and quarterly goals. Some students may move more quickly through their work than others of the same age or background. Children learn the material as quickly as convenient without feeling rushed or bored.

3. Home schooled students can get tutoring help from community educators or their parents. Additional assistance provides one-to-one mentoring and support that can help students master basic and advanced learning goals. In most curricula, parents need little or no special training to guide their children through complex subject matter. If parents are unable to help, the student can consult with professional tutors.

4. Home schooling includes a hands-on learning component. Field trips, collaborative classes, and creativity are encouraged as part of the home school experience. Rather than glean all information and facts from textbooks or workbooks, students complete projects, meet other home schooled students, and occasionally take field trips to local museums or exhibits.

5. Home school curricula typically offer a wide array of topics for study. Even those not introduced in a traditional classroom, like astronomy or photography, are sometimes available through extended workbook study in many educational programs. State-wide competitions or regional science fairs and spelling bees help to keep students in the educational loop while linking them to other students from a similar learning environment.

Children who are home schooled tend to do as well as, and in some cases better than, those who attend public school. College success is an indicator of home schooling success, since a high percentage of home schooled students attend college and graduate with degrees. If you are thinking about home schooling or would like more information, conduct a brief online search and visit the Web pages of organizations devoted to this educational medium.

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