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What should you consider as you decide if homeschooling is right for your child?
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If you are considering homeschooling or are researching your
child's education, you probably know that children, even in the same family,
have different educational needs. For some, that means child-led education,
while others thrive in a formal school environment. Various types of education
can be provided at home, or in a communal private or public school. What should
you consider as you decide if homeschooling is right for your child?
Does your child thrive in a very structured environment,
where activities are scheduled in advance and there are few alterations to his
schedule? Do you also enjoy staying "on task," or do you follow your
whims, learning as you go? While it is possible to have success with different
personality types, it is something to consider heavily. If you are miserable
letting your curious child learn what she loves at her own pace, but she cries
when you incorporate a stricter schedule to save your sanity, it might not be
an optimal learning environment for either of you. Be realistic about your
limits, your child's limits, and how a potential educational environment works
with each of your needs.
Is it your child's dream to play in the marching band? Does
she have an absolute passion for debate or chess? While it is possible to
participate in sports activities or study the arts outside a school, it is
unlikely that your homeschool co-op will have a marching band. In some areas,
finding a youth orchestra or baseball team not associated with school is
difficult. Many places allow homeschooled children to participate in school
activities, so they can have those additional learning experiences.
Afraid your ultra-bright kid will outlearn you if you
homeschool, and you'll hold them back? There are so many educational websites
and online college courses today that there is nothing to hold them back—not
even you. Your child can still do an internship with a college professor while
still technically in high school, or grow up to earn a Master's of Science in
Civil Engineering. Many states offer free or reduced tuition for
high-school students taking college courses, homeschoolers included. Does your
child have special challenges, like learning disabilities or physical
handicaps? While some schools offer wonderful services for special-needs
children, others fall short making you the very best person to care for and
educate your child.
There are amazing teachers everywhere; at home with their
own kids, in public schools, and in private institutions. Homeschooled children
have higher average test scores and higher college graduation rates. Public
schools may offer necessary services, or simply provide a stellar education
where you live. Maybe you have access to a charter or private school where your
child just seems to fit and grow. There is no absolute "best"
choice—only the best choice for your child and your family.
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