Are you thinking about taking charge of your child’s education, but still wondering what in the world “homeschooling” really is? Have you heard of “home education” but find yourself a bit unsure of what that educational choice really looks like?

More than 2 million American children are being homeschooled today, and this number is expected to double over the next 20 years.

You can imagine that an educational approach that offers families “tremendous freedom to create curriculum, redesign typical learning pathways, and build innovative partnership” would take on a variety of different faces depending upon the family and the needs of each child.

However, while this amazing freedom to customize a child’s education means each experience is unique, there are some characteristics that are common to every homeschool.

So, what are some of these common characteristics?

Education is parent directed.

This does not mean that the parent teaches every subject, (although it might!) but that the parent is ultimately responsible to oversee the education of their child.

Education is customized to meet the child’s and the family’s needs.

Parents have the freedom to create an experience that encompasses the academic, social, and family values and schedules that fits their goals and needs.

Education can take on a broader meaning beyond “academics.”

Families can enjoy the freedom of expanding their definition of education to include shared life experiences beyond academics and book learning.

Education is primarily home based.

This doesn’t mean all learning is done at home (hence terms like unschooling, eclectic homeschooling—and even “roadschooling,” “boatschooling,” and “worldschooling”).

It does mean that homeschooling has a significant component of home involved in contrast to the choice to outsource learning primarily to others and in other environments.

Educational choices are up to the parent but must still comply with state homeschooling laws.

This is really important.

Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, not every official is friendly to homeschooling, aware of its benefits, or familiar with the law regarding homeschooling.

So be sure to understand and follow your state’s homeschool laws as you consider this option.

Members of HSLDA can also feel free to call our attorneys at any time.

So what could homeschooling look like for your family?

You get to decide! And no matter what educational path you choose, we celebrate and support that freedom you have to determine the option that best meets your child’s needs.

Do you have more questions about homeschooling? You might find your questions and the answers in Part 3!