This week KING and NBC news are teaming up to bring you Education Nation, an in-depth look at education topics across America. Parent to Parent takes a bit closer at the growing trend towards homeschooling. Julie Ogata from ParentMap has more.
What is happening with homeschooling in America?
The trend is up - homeschooling is becoming an attractive option for many local families. Gone are the days when only ultra-conservative, religious families or very liberal families homeschooled their children. According to the Oregon based National Home Education Research Institute, there was a seven percent jump in homeschooled children in the last three years. It s estimated more than two million students are homeschooled across America.
Why is there more interest in homeschooling?
- Some of the main reasons are dissatisfaction with the public school system; class sizes are getting bigger with more and more budget cuts.
- You can give more personalized learning to your child. This is especially helpful if they have a learning challenge.
- You can also take them on outings to learn things instead of reading them in books with traditional learning.
- Children can avoid a bad environment such a bullying or gangs.
Technology has also played a big part. Technology has really made it easy for parents to come up with lesson plans. There is a growing industry of homeschooling curriculum, from DVDs to online courses. In fact, Washington State has its own free online school called Columbia Virutal Academy. It s available to all Washington families for homeschooling and the classes meet all state standards.
ParentMap talked with one Seattle family that homeschools and the dad says with the DVD program he uses, he spends just 5-minutes prepping for the next day s lesson.
Also, technology has brought a lot of social networks and support to homeschooling.
Families can connect, make plans to meet up for certain lessons or activities...and make sure their children are very social and making friends. That s often one of the main concerns with homeschooling.
What tips so you have for someone thinking about homeschooling?
I would ask myself these questions:
Am I willing to make the commitment? This is a daily undertaking and you will be with your child 24/7.
Can you manage the financial strain? Not just the cost of the curriculum you choose, but trips to museums, plays, the aquarium, the zoo. Also one parent probably won t be able to work.
Are you willing to plan lots of play dates for your children? The advantage is you can control the influences on your child.
Is everyone on board with homeschooling? Is your spouse or partner? Is your child willing to be homeschooled? Everyone working together will help with the success of homeschooling.
For more information, go to the ParentMap website.