- Child Health. This is perhaps the most common reason I see parents begin to homeschool. An inability to meet special needs (ADHD, dyslexia, autism, anxiety, depression, giftedness, etc.), immune system issues, and many others all compel parents to homeschool their children.
- Superior Curriculum. When schools don’t test subject areas, they are often not taught. The vast majority of US elementary students receive no science education, and distressingly little social studies education. In contrast, homeschoolers often center their curriculum on history and science.
- Flexible Schedule. When your child has a major illness, or is a working professional, or even because your family moves a lot, homeschooling can be a great help. This is also true if you find yourself squeezed getting homework done between the after school meltdown and bedtime.
- More Extracurricular Activities. For those people still stuck on the unsocialized homeschoolers narrative, this may seem counter-intuitive. However, the truth is that homeschooled children tend to participate in more extracurricular activities. They have more time, spending about 23 hours per week on academics vs. the 33 hours a public school student spends in school.
- Less Test Prep. Less than half of US states require homeschool parents to assess their children annually, and of the ones that do, a portfolio review is often an acceptable alternative. Therefore, homeschooled children don’t have to spend vast quantities of the school year on test prep.
- No Active Shooter Drills. This may seem a minor thing, but our children’s mental health is not good, and it’s getting worse. Scarring them with active shooter drills doesn’t help. Most homeschool parents aren’t going to run active shooter drills in their home.
- No Busywork. Perhaps this is my pet peeve, but a high percentage of student work is not on grade level, is merely time-consuming, and the assignment quality is poor. I don’t have to assign this at home.
- No Abuse by Teachers and Students. About 1 in 10 students will suffer sexual abuse at school. Yes, it happens, and no, it’s not just teachers. In sole control of a large group of unruly students, not all teachers can maintain their cool. Bullying (by teachers and by students) occurs. Homeschoolers are not immune, but homeschool parents can avoid school-based abuse.
- No School-based Racism and Sexism. Even the best schools can have racism, whether blatant or more subtle. Sexism is an entrenched issue in public schools. Some parents who are black, indigenous, and/or of color choose to homeschool as a result. Homeschool parents do not systematically discriminate against their daughters.
- Poor Teacher Preparation. Poor teacher training is the major issue behind the achievement gap in math and reading. In fact, less than half of aspiring elementary school teachers manage to pass their licensing exam, and so people want to lower standards instead of paying teachers more to attract better teachers. Teachers are told to work towards empty “skills” instead of knowledge. In contrast, homeschoolers often outsource classes, use co-ops, homeschool huddles, and hire small-group tutors with specific goals in mind, and their test results show it.
Bonus: Homeschooling is a highly effective method of education.
“One-on-one and one-on-small group tutoring had the largest impacts (effect sizes of about +0.32). Robert Slavin