Homeschooling: Home School Program Information

Home schooling is an alternative to traditional public or private schools. Once home schooling was for children who were recovering, disabled or in the hospital, it is now practiced across the country.

Home schooling requies a great deal of comittment by the parent as well as the child or children. What makes a mother willing to give up so much of her time to teach at home?

One mother I interviewed chose home schooling when she realized the educational philosophy of her local school did not come up to her standards. As an interested parent she brought her concerns to the school. Though they listed to her politely no changes were made. She felt she lost control over her children's education. As a home school teacher she sets her own goals for her children and tailors their classes to her children's needs.

Every state, even every town and city has their own regulations for homeschools. Some do not allow them, others are very restrictive, while still others are liberal. For instance, in my town, a mother who wishes to homeschool must have credentials. That is, she should have a college degree, even if not in education. And she is required to join the Homeschool Association which has regular monthly meetings, and educational workshops. The local school system provides a curriculum but parents are not obligated to follow it. The reason for the curriculum is to make sure the homeschoolers keep up with their public school counter-parts.

Other areas are more flexible and homeschool teachers can be mothers with a high school degree. The woman I interviewed said she read a lot of books on homeschooling before she decided to take her children out of public school. She belongs to a church group which has a home school support group and a web site. Mothers who teach at home need to know what is expected of their children, particularly if they are going to traditional high school after years of elementary homeschooling.

Help is available through national organizations and web sites. Mothers can also attend homeschool conventions and conferences. This is very important to keep up on the latest educational materials, to share knowledge and experiences with others, and know what is required of their children.

It is important to match the curriculum to the needs of the child while not neglecting the basics. Many homeschool moms have taken their children out of public school for religious reasons. They include instruction in their particular religious beliefs along with the academics.

The argument that homeschoolers lack social skills doesn't prove true. Home schooled children have many opportunities for socialization through after-school programs such as athletics, Scouts, 4-H, dance, art,music, and church programs. There is so much to do for a homeschooler especially if the parent belongs to a homeschool organization. These groups organize events such as skating, bowling, spelling and math bee's. Some mothers form a type of co-op. They may work out of one home. The mother who is best in math may take over teaching that subject, while a mother proficient in another area will teach that. The co-op moms work on the curriculum together.

The biggest reasons to homeschool children are for safety away from large campuses, and to teach moral and religious beliefs. My neighbor homeschools her three children because the children at the local public school used rough language. Even though it is a school in a middle-class neighborhood, there were fights. She feared for her children's safetly.

Some public school systems are excellent and even though morality isn't taught, parents can suppliment their child's education at home or church. However, many public schools are run down, have overcrowded classrooms, unqualified teachers, and disruptive students. School systems also exert control over the students which the parents might resent. A recent incident in my local school system illustrates this problem. A particular book which contained sexual overtones and violent content was on the required reading list for the middle school. Parents asked the school board to consider an alternative book. This request was denied. Situations like this are the cause of the proliferation of homeschooling across the states.

For parents who don't want to send their children to parochial school, and can't afford private school, homeschooling is a viable alternative.

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