Are you considering homeschooling and wondering if it works? This is a fair and important question. So, let’s tackle some of the questions that come up first.
Do homeschoolers succeed academically?
Studies have shown that homeschooled children tend to have higher standardized test scores, persevere through college longer, and have higher GPA’s in college.
Do homeschoolers do well socially?
For a long time, the most commonly expressed concern was worry that homeschooled children would be disadvantaged socially. Wow! Has this ever changed!
Once again, studies have reassured those considering homeschooling that homeschoolers are doing well on “all measures of social, emotional and psychological
development.” In fact, many families now live in communities where the hardest part is deciding which activity to say “no” to!
With the rise in homeschooling popularity, there are literally countless ways creative homeschooling families can achieve socialization opportunities through volunteering, co-ops, sports, youth groups, working in the community . . . you get the idea!
Does homeschooling work for all kinds of people?
Yes, it can!
In the public schools, family income and parents’ education level are strong predictors of children’s academic achievement. Homeschooling helps level those barriers. (And it amplifies another traditional strong predictor—parental involvement in their children’s education!)
Recent reports by the National Center for Educational Statistics indicate that the fastest growing segment of homeschooling families is now the Hispanic community. Significant numbers of families are now homeschooling across all ethnic groups—white, black, Asian, Hispanic, and other ethnic minorities.
Homeschooling is growing internationally as well. Mike Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director of International Relations says, “The fastest-growing homeschooling movements outside the United States are in Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, and several other African countries, Russia, and China.”
Does homeschooling work if . . .
My child has special needs or medical issues?
Yes, and often parents discover that the homeschool setting allows their children to thrive. There are many resources available—from diagnostic testing and specialized curriculum, to supportive or therapeutic services and more. HSLDA’s Special Needs Consultants are available to assist members with questions and support.
My child has a unique talent or passion they need more time to pursue?
Homeschooling also allows children with rare talents—athletes, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs, and more—to develop their gifts and pursue their passions. Simone Biles, Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams and Coco Gauff, and the pop-rock band the Jonas Brothers (sorry!) were all homeschooled—just to name a few! (Want more? Just google “famous homeschoolers.”)
My husband and I are both working full-time?
Many parents have discovered options like alternating work schedules or one parent working from home that allow them to homeschool. It does take creativity, commitment, and even saying, “no” to some opportunities. But without the restriction of a traditional school day schedule, families are able to carve out time together and even flex their homeschool schedule along with variable work schedules.
I’m a single parent?
First of all, you’re not alone! Second, it will probably take some outside-the-box thinking and support—you may find members of your extended family, friends, the local homeschooling community, and/or your faith community are glad to help. There are many warm and welcoming support groups and social media groups, some of which are specifically for homeschooling single parents. Homeschooling parents often help each other out with rides to and from sports activities, enrichment classes. Some single homeschooling parents trade off childcare or homeschooling supervision to give parents time for work or running errands.
We move frequently, even overseas?
Families who move frequently have found that homeschooling provides their children with a solid foundation and educational stability. And HSLDA is here for you! You can easily check out the homeschooling laws for your next move within the states or US Territories. If you are moving outside the US, you can check the helpful information provided here.
I’m not a certified teacher?
Actually, research has found little difference between the academic achievement of homeschooled students whose parents were certified teachers and those whose parents were not. They both scored on average much higher than their counterparts in public school. And no state law requires homeschool teachers to be certified!
I don’t think I can afford it?
Even if your homeschooling budget is limited, with a little creativity and research, you can still provide your child an engaging education customized to their learning style and needs. For a quick overview of the cost of homeschooling, where to find curriculum, and how to access free or inexpensive curriculum, check out this article and this one. You may also be interested in applying for an HSLDA Compassion Curriculum Grant.
I only want to homeschool for a year or two . . . or just until high school . . . or just for my child’s senior year?
Yes! Growing support for home education has made it easier to homeschool the entirety of a child’s academic career. Many families choose homeschooling for long haul—and many homeschool for only portions of their child’s education. Homeschooling allows you to accommodate the needs of each child—and this is a freedom we are grateful for!
So, does homeschooling work? The short answer is, “Yes, it can wildly succeed and be one of the best decisions your family will ever make.”
And . . . yet, we can’t overlook the importance of significant parent involvement and the support needed for homeschooling to thrive.
If you’re coming from a traditional school environment where you entrusted others to educate your child, then this is a seismic shift in thinking, scheduling, responsibility and community. Over time, it can become a lifestyle you love and value, but it does take time, realistic expectations, and support.
Fortunately, there are more resources than ever before to support homeschooling, including HSLDA where our motto is, “Making homeschooling possible.” We can be a portal to the resources, information, and support you need.
So, if you want to join millions of others and find what you need to make homeschooling work for your family, this is a great place to start!