Over two million children in the U.S. are currently being educated at home. Parents choose to homeschool their children for various reasons. They often do so because they are dissatisfied with traditional schools and the lack of values they teach. Home education, or homeschooling, can have benefits, but parents need to provide enough stimulation, socialization and diversification for their children. Fortunately, there are ways in which they can provide what they need.
Homeschoolers usually organize their days in ways that work best for the family. They will often make less of a distinction between ‘school’ and ‘home.’ The benefit is that when children are really engaged in a specific activity, they can continue with it and don’t have to move on to another subject. They have the flexibility to explore topics at a depth not offered in traditional classes. However, parents need to make sure that life at home doesn’t become boring or stifling because children do not have enough diverse activities to do.
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Use project-based learning
Student-driven projects offer more engagement and can counteract any feelings of disconnection that may come when learning from home. Collaborative projects give children of all learning styles and abilities the ability to work together towards a common goal. Students who struggle and those who want to go above and beyond can all have the opportunity to express themselves. Projects can really help to diversify how they learn.
The quick increase in the number of homeschoolers means there are many resources available. It helps parents personalize how they educate their children. They can focus on teaching their children in a way that matches their learning styles, interests and abilities. Learning in a less standardized way can help them to discover their unique potential. For example, you can get them outside by visiting parks, zoos, botanical gardens etc. With a little creativity and exploration in the day, your children may discover and develop new interests. It could give them a lifelong passion.
Make use of parent Networks
One of the questions parents need to ask is how to introduce social interaction in home education. Parents will often work extra hard to bring socialization into the mix. They make use of parent networks through which they can arrange social events, such as field trips, sports or play dates. Out of 15 studies looking at the socialization of children educated at home, 13 out of the 15 showed clear positive outcomes when compared with children educated in traditional schools.
Do extra-curricular activities
Parents can encourage children to take part in extra-curricular activities. It could be dance, cooking, martial arts, music etc. This can introduce exercise, socialization and more into their lives. Some public schools even allow children being educated at home to participate in extracurricular activities.
Sporty children can get involved in local sports teams. There, they can learn teamwork, leadership skills, and communication. Volunteering at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen is another way parents can help their children. This will help them become more socially aware and learn to interact in meaningful ways.
Teach about Diversity
Some of those who criticize homeschooling say it is dangerous. It is because children aren’t exposed to diverse ideas independent of their parents. It is up to parents to ensure that this doesn’t happen. They can teach their children to respect people from diverse backgrounds. Learning more about different cultures can help them teach their children to build tolerance and awareness. They can help their children to approach the world with curiosity and wonder instead of mistrust and fear.
Homeschooling has a number of benefits. But parents need to make sure they expose their children to a diversity of ideas and give them opportunities to socialize. They need to enable their children to feel connected to a wider community. Otherwise, they could feel cut off and at a disadvantage compared to their peers in traditional schools. Children must learn how to be thoughtful and respectful members of society because they are homeschooled and not in spite of it.
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