Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 6/6.4.1

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"Wisdom begins in wonder" –Socrates[1]

Learning Targets[edit | edit source]

  • Define what homeschooling is
  • Understand the government's role
  • Understand why parents choose to homeschool
  • Determine if homeschooling is right for you

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The education of young individuals in society is a common concern. Parents may worry if their children are receiving the appropriate knowledge to advance. Should they attend private school? Can we afford private school? Is the local public school up to par? Will they be safe in public school? Will their moral compass be reconfigured? The questions never seem to end.

Some parents have found a solution to such questions: homeschool. But there are others who have suspicions on the validity of such a choice leading to a multitude of new questions. What exactly is homeschooling? What are our government's laws concerning homeschooling? Is homeschooling right for everyone?

This article provides answers to these questions along with an inside look at homeschooled individuals.

What is homeschooling?[edit | edit source]

The Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines homeschooling as: 'to teach (one's children) at home.[2] Yet, this is only a very general description of homeschooling. To be homeschooled does not necessarily mean to be taught in the home, but rather in a particular culture. Homeschooling is a way for parents or guardians to educate their children in the environment they believe is best for the child. The parents or guardians have the chance to further instill in their child the certain philosophies, customs, and traditions they believe to be true and helpful.

Also as the teacher, the parents or guardians can use more relatable, individualized methods of teaching using the same information as mainstream school systems. Therefore, homeschooling is a way to best educate one's children using personalized curriculum taught in a healthy environment.[3]

However, there is a catch. Just as public and private schools have standards and regulations enforced by the government, there are government laws concerning homeschooling.

The government's role[edit | edit source]

Each state in the United States of America has their own unique regulations regarding homeschooling. After parents register with the local school system, Virginia state law provides four different criteria, one of which must be met. The four options given by Virginia Code 22.1-254.1[4] are as follows:

  • The parent has a high school diploma or an equivalence of such
  • In respect to the Board of Education, the parent meets the qualifications for a teacher
  • The parent presents the chosen curriculum that sufficiently meets the school system standards
  • The parent proves that they are capable of successfully educating their child

Furthermore, the parents must annually notify the school division superintendent no later than August 15th that they wish to continue homeschooling. Along with this notification, regardless of the chosen option as laid down by the Virginia Code, the parent must also inform the superintendent of the curriculum they chose.[4]

Choosing to home educate is not a decision taken lightly. So the two questions remaining are why homeschool and is it right for everyone?

Why homeschool?[edit | edit source]

A parent might choose to homeschool their children for a number of reasons. Parents will homeschool their children to better foster cultural beliefs, practices, philosophies, etc. Also, homeschooling allows students to move through curriculum at their own pace. The student will be able to dedicate more time on the subjects of difficulty while flowing through other subjects that come more naturally.[5]

Additionally, parents are allowed to use new, innovative teaching methods. Many take advantage of the numerous public libraries and museums. Field trips and many more hands on experience might better suit the learning style of their children. This technique of teaching can be more individualized.[5] As one homeschool family states, "We scrapped dry textbooks and workbooks and found more interesting ways for our children to learn."[3]

Finally, there are several homeschooling organizations in the state of Virginia. These organizations allow for academic and extracurricular interaction between other homeschoolers, as while as many students in the school system. Through these organizations, opportunities involving music and sports are still available to homeschoolers.[5]

Is homeschooling for everyone?[edit | edit source]

Although there are many great benefits of homeschooling, it is not always as exciting as it may seem. As Michael and Mary Leppert point out in their book, The Homeschooling Book of Lists, there are reasons for parents not to homeschool.

They suggest that those who live in rural areas, too far to participate in organizations, extracurricular or social activities should not attempt homeschooling. Communication skills can only be taught to a certain degree within the home. Another basis for not homeschooling is if the parent has a learning disability or a hard time with patience. If the parent has a true learning disability that is not easily overcome or becomes irritated easily, then more harm can be done than good. Lastly, if the local school systems are credible and would teach the child better than the parent, homeschooling is not completely necessary.[6]

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Homeschooling, just like public and private schools, has its advantages and disadvantages. Parents have the choice to teach their children in an environment conducive to their specific values; yet, our government makes sure the home education system is not abused. Each state produces and enforces its own rules and regulations pertaining to homeschooling. Although homeschooling can be beneficial in that it is more personalized, there are also mainstream schools that provide sufficient education.

As a homeschooled child, I enjoyed my experience. I lived in a suburban area and participated in homeschool organizations, sports, and music. My mother has her bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in math. She not only taught me, but my three sisters and three brothers. Five of us have either graduated from college or are currently enrolled in college, while the other two are still being homeschooled through high school. Personally, I have had a wonderful experience with being homeschooled and would never want to change it.

Quiz[edit | edit source]

  1. According to G. J. Millmand, what is the definition of homeschooling:
    1. Educating a child ONLY at home
    2. Letting a child teach themself
    3. Using personalized curriculum to teach one's child in a healthy environment
    4. A and B

  2. Which is required by the Virginia Board of Education in order to homeschool your child:
    1. The child is older than 7
    2. The child knows the ABC's
    3. The parent must annually register with the school division superintendent before August 15
    4. The parent must know how to drive

  3. Which is NOT a reason why a parent would homeschool their child:
    1. The parent thinks education is overrated
    2. To educate their child in a more individualized way
    3. To instill in their child culture values while educating them
    4. To educate their child in a healthy environment

  4. If you are thinking about homeschooling but you have a short temper and your child does not listen to you, what should you do:
    1. Enroll your child into a mainstream school
    2. Fight it out
    3. Let your child do whatever he/she likes, it's their education
    4. None of the above

  5. If you wanted to begin homeschooling what is th first step you would take:
    1. Buy books
    2. Cut off all connections with other schools
    3. Look up local art galleries and museums
    4. Register with the state

Answers[edit | edit source]

Click link at right to expand. →

  1. C
  2. C
  3. A
  4. A
  5. D

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Socrates. "Socrates – Wisdom begins in wonder.". Brainy Quotes. Brainy Media. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  2. "homeschooling". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  3. a b Millman, G. J. (2008-03-23). Home Is Where the School Is. LexisNexis Academic. p. B01. 
  4. a b "Home Instruction in Virginia: Information for Parents 2008-2009" (PDF). The Virginia Department of Education. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  5. a b c Willingham, T. (September/October 2008). "Libraries and Homeschoolers: Our Shared Common Ground". Knowledge Quest 37 (1): 58-63. 
  6. Lepert & Lepert (2008). The Homeschooling Book of Lists. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint. p. 6. 
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