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Benefits of Homeschooling

by Jeanne Faulconer

The many benefits of homeschooling mean more kids and teens than ever are learning at home. Families want the advantages of homeschooling, with the flexibility, academic benefits, efficiency, and opportunities homeschooling can offer. They seek an education and even a lifestyle that’s not based on minimum standards and a one-size-fits-all approach.

Benefits of Homeschooling

Homeschooling Benefits Include:

  • Academic flexibility. Homeschooling can work whether a child is ahead, behind, strong-willed, creative, challenging, quiet, gifted, or active.
  • Parent choice of pace and approach. You’re in charge of the schedule, grade level, learning approach, curriculum, and in most places, even graduation requirements.
  • Meeting current needs now. You can prioritize a child’s mental, emotional, behavioral, and physical health.
  • Warm family environment.  Family is the best foundation for social development as well as values and faith development.
  • Community involvement. There’s generous time for service, community activities, volunteering, and entrepreneurship.
  • Efficient learning. A low student-teacher ratio, without wasted time and busy work.
  • Meaningful learning. Avoid teaching to the test, testing mania in general, and arbitrary minimal standards.
  • Time for the stuff many schools cut. You can make time for play, the outdoors, projects, the arts, and real experiments.
  • Getting into college. A great transcript with less stress and burnout.
  • Accommodating to special situations. Homeschooling works well for military families, families who travel, and families contending with illness and challenging work schedules.
  • Legal acceptance. Homeschooling is a way of meeting compulsory attendance laws in every state in the U.S. and in many countries.

Homeschooling Benefits: More Than Just Academics

There are obvious academic benefits of homeschooling, but potential homeschoolers may not have thought of the many other areas in which families can reap homeschooling benefits, including:

  • benefits in mental health
  • benefits in social development
  • benefits in physical health
  • benefits in special circumstances
  • and even homeschooling benefits for parents!

We’ll take a look at the academic benefits of homeschooling plus each of these additional benefits in more detail below.

Benefits of Homeschooling: Academic

Benefits of Homeschooling: Mental Health

  • Focus on mental health. If a child is struggling with anxiety, social anxiety, depression, or challenges to brain health, a benefit of homeschooling is the opportunity to focus on mental and emotional well-being. Parents can make therapy, coping skills, and medical care the priority, which will then enable the academic growth they hope to see in their child.
  • Get out of a bad situation. Sometimes mental health issues may be connected to negative school situations, and an advantage of homeschooling is getting a child out of that bad school situation. This could mean safety from bullies, a reduction in school-induced stress, a new lens on school refusal, and greater self-acceptance and connection to self. A benefit of homeschooling is that you can choose to homeschool short-term to create a better situation for your child.
  • Encourage autonomy and independence. Studies show that a huge factor in effective learning is a strong sense of autonomy, and a benefit of homeschooling is cultivating children’s autonomy. Homeschooled kids can help make choices about how and what they want to learn. They can learn around their interests and curiosity and not just for a grade or to please a teacher. In fact, parents can choose to avoid or reduce the emphasis on behavior modification that is so prevalent in schools, helping children to develop intrinsic motivation, a common benefit of homeschooling.
  • Immerse children in caring families. One of the classic mental health benefits of homeschooling is just being at home, surrounded by people who care.

Benefits of Homeschooling: Social Development

  • Enjoy close family relationships. Growing up in a close family helps build healthy social connections. Parents, grandparents, and other relatives are role models, can impart values, can work through conflicts positively, and can coach behavior.
  • Foster less peer dependence. Less early exposure to drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, and bullying.
  • Help deal with difference and stereotypes. More acceptance of the nerd factor, families can accept strong girls and sensitive boys, less stigma for kids with learning differences, can avoid attending schools where racial division or prejudice is entrenched.
  • Emphasize community involvement. Time for volunteering, voting with mom and dad, and participating in community activities with peers and people of all ages and backgrounds. Homeschooling lets you homeschool the heart and hands as well as the head.
  • Build a sense of safety. Parents can take their own steps to keep their children physically safe, and children can feel secure.

Benefits of Homeschooling: Physical Health

  • Prioritize moving more. Your child can move more, play outside, spend extra time on things like dance and sports, connect with nature, move while learning academics, and gain confidence with time for skills practice.
  • Prioritize sleep. Allow your child and yourself to get more sleep and wake up more naturally. Plan sleep schedules around activities. Adjust to teens’ changing body clocks when they stay up later and sleep later.
  • Manage illness. Help a child recover from illness with reasonable expectations, no busy work, and less stress from being told he’s “getting behind.” It’s ok for healing, recovery, and coping to be most important!

Benefits of Homeschooling: Special Life Circumstances

Homeschooling can work to ease the way for families who are:

  • In the military. Instead of changing schools frequently due to relocations, you can keep homeschooling no matter how many times you move.
  • Experiencing illness of parent, sibling, or grandparent. Sometimes it’s more important to emphasize spending time together than doing lessons. Sometimes families work better when school and medical schedules don’t conflict. Sometimes homeschooling needs to happen in Mom or Dad’s bed.
  • Allowing grief to progress naturally. When the most painful circumstances arise, homeschooling can allow a family the time and space to grieve and heal together, in their own unique way.
  • Living a unique lifestyle. Some people are roadschooling or boatschooling with the kids; some families have one parent living away or traveling, and kids can join them sometimes. Some parents work shifts or attend college or grad school and are able to spend more time with their children by homeschooling on a schedule that works for them.

Benefits of Homeschooling: for Parents

There are even benefits of homeschooling for parents.

  • Continuing education. You can continue learning alongside your child. Learn a foreign language, brush up on algebra, rediscover maps of the world, learn to code, visit museums, and enjoy field trips.
  • Sharing your hobbies and interests. You can share your own passions with your kids more than if they were attending school full-time. Hike the Appalachian Trail, study the constellations, share your knowledge of home construction or investing, play music together, work together on political or social causes.
  • Saving money. Some aspects of homeschooling can be less expensive than school: fewer expensive school clothes, off-season vacation and travel rates, no public school fees or private school tuition. Some parents spend a lot of money on homeschooling; others homeschool on a budget.
  • Freedom from a school schedule. Homeschooling means you’re not tied to the timing of the school bus or school schedule. Plan your homeschooling schedule so it works for your family. You can homeschool at night, on any kind of weekly schedule, or any kind of yearly schedule.
  • Personal growth. Because it’s an immersive experience with your children and it’s taking total responsibility for their education, homeschooling can change you. Parents can grow in philosophical, spiritual, or social-emotional ways. Some people find homeschooling can be a source of personal empowerment, a shared journey where you and others recognize the value, labor, and challenge of nurturing children and helping them learn.

Of course, despite all the benefits of homeschooling, there is no homeschool guarantee. Kids are kids, and some kids who go to school have challenges, just as some kids who homeschool have challenges. There are thousands upon thousands of homeschoolers around the world, and their homeschooling experiences and outcomes vary, just as happens with children who are enrolled in schools.

It’s also possible to homeschool poorly, though perceptions of what good homeschooling looks like may be uninformed or inaccurate. One of the advantages of homeschooling that people forget about is that you can quit homeschooling if it doesn’t work for your family.

While homeschooling is not for every family, people from all walks of life in many different circumstances have found ways to incorporate the benefits of homeschooling into their lives.

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