While the homeschooling movement in America still isn’t a common option, it’s becoming a much more viable mainstream avenue for parents, with awareness increasing through popular homeschooled media figures such as Tim Tebow. Tebow, a standout at the University of Florida and in the National Football League, was instrumental in making it easier for homeschooled children to participate in local athletics and sports programs. Challenges traditionally faced by homeschooled children when trying to get accepted into college or a job are also lessening as it becomes a much more popular option.
Homeschooling in America was originally seen as a Christian exercise by parents who didn’t want their children to receive a secular education. However ,the advantages go far beyond that, and in reality homeschooling allows parents to give their children a customized curriculum that doesn’t have to be faith-based. This freedom to emphasize skills and values that the parent feels are most appropriate, as well as the flexibility of an individualized learning schedule and the ability to have a child participate in far more extracurricular day trips and excursions than could be had at a public school, is appealing to an ever-wider circle of concerned parents eager to give their children the best possible start.
Phil Gianotti, writing at NJ.com, is one such parent who has made the homeschooling switch for his family.
Choosing homeschooling is both a very brave and a very crazy choice. It has allowed me to spend more time with my children, it has helped strengthen their faith and it has allowed my wife and I to have a more direct involvement with their education. Social interactions at school are being replaced with social interactions outside of school. Our children are involved in an art co-op where they attend “school” on Tuesdays for chorus and violin classes, and where they can register for any sort of art class they want next year – music, drama, dance, art, computer graphics, etc. Our children are still involved in Girl and Cub Scouts, karate, our daughter is starting gymnastics and Pioneer Club and our son is playing football this season
Gianotti writes that for those who don’t live in blue ribbon districts, public school should give a parent pause. At public schools the children will be faced with bullying, access to drugs, gangs, cheating, and peer pressure to partake in a variety of unhealthy exercises. Academic standards are also dubious at many public schools.
The main argument people trot out against homeschooling is that it deprives the child of proper social interaction, risking that a child develop as socially stunted and unprepared for the real world challenges of college and career. However, Gianotti says that in New Jersey, homeschoolers have access to proms, science fairs, and a broad range of social activities. There are a variety of homeschool co-ops that allow kids to mix with other homeschooled children while taking the classes that the parent and child desire.