As children prepare to go back to school, some around the country are staying right at home.
“A lot of times times homeschooling mimics school years but we add a twist to it. We find that learning comes at all times of the day and at all times of the year “,said Michelle Shearin.
The number of homeschooled children around the country is on the rise. While some states do not keep accurate records, national statistics show the number is going up, averaging about 16 children homeschooled for every 1,000 in public schools.
The Indiana Association of Home Educators receives new requests each year on how to find a group or get started.
“People are regularly calling and emailing about where to find groups or how to get started. There are several large, large groups. It’s certainly not decreasing,” board member Lisa Heady told the Daily Journal.
And the resources available to this group is increasingly expanding. Organizations are following leaders like K12, Inc., a nationally accredited online school, and Indiana Connections Academy, also online but state-run.
The majority of the families undertaking homeschooling are Generation X’ers from age 41-50. In a recent survey from Spectrem Group’s Millionaire Corner, of the 56% who responded in support of homeschooling who also make less than $100,000 annually, 53% were Generation X’ers. Only 39% were of a younger age.
Three reasons are often cited by families who homeschool their children: being more involved, dissatisfaction with public schools, and helping them achieve more academically. A 2009 study helped to prove this last reason when they found that children who are homeschooled score 86% higher than public school children.
Also cited as reasons for homeschooling are parental control, the flexibility for children to work at their own pace, and religious reasons.
“He wasn’t understanding things, and he wasn’t being pushed but he never said anything,” one mother said. “Then he started coming home with jokes and attitudes and behaviors that he had learned at recess that weren’t according to our values that I didn’t appreciate.”
Interestingly, those with a net worth of $5 million or more were increasingly against homeschooling, with 59% saying they did not support the idea. According to this group, the method provides little social interaction, and parental biases can be passed on too easily.
Many educators claim that to truly teach children is something that cannot be accomplished in the home. While parents do know the needs of their children best, teachers are trained in the different ways children learn, which is a skill that exceeds simply presenting information.
“Those who feel that they are able to do this job without any training, I think don’t have a big picture or a complete understanding of the complexity of teaching,” Utah Education Association President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh said. “There is definitely a science to teaching and there is an art to teaching, and you really can’t have one without the other and be a good teacher.”
Teachers will also caution that parents may be too soft on their own children, while teachers can be objective, which may help in the discovery of learning disabilities or aptitudes.