The term “homeschooling” refers to choosing to educate one’s children at home, rather than in a public or private school. Usually one or both parents act as “teacher,” though not in the same way as a classroom teacher. Yes, it is entirely legal in all fifty states. In fact, it would be illegal or even unconstitutional to deny parents the right to choose where, how, and what their children are taught.
Home schooling provides a personal, individualized educational experience for the child. Children learn faster, and more, when they receive the one-on-one interaction of a parent or tutor. Parents care more about the individual success of each child because it is THEIR child – no one loves your child more than you do.
Anyone who homeschools will tell you that the experience builds a closer relationship among all the members of the family. There are very few problems with teenagers and parents getting along, and each child learns to contribute to the family as a whole. They are learning to interact with people of all ages, as the real world operates, rather than being forced into an unnatural grouping where everyone is the same age.
There are as many different ways to homeschool as there are families who homeschool. Each family will develop their own system, routine, rhythm – whatever works best for them. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything before starting. Most families will research many different theories, curricula, etc., and then try out whatever appeals to them. If something doesn’t quite work for them, they try something else. There are no hard and fast rules.
This highlights one of the main advantages to homeschooling – namely, that the methods used are chosen to best fit the child’s needs and learning style. When a particular topic is too easy, you can just move on. When a child needs to spend more time learning a skill, you can take whatever time is needed. In a traditional classroom, the teacher needs to keep everyone doing the same thing at the same time, which either bores those who have mastered the skill, or leaves behind those who need extra attention. This child-centered, individual-paced feature of homeschooling is a major attraction for many.
There are no special skills or training required for homeschooling. You are teachers simply because you are parents. Requirements for homeschoolers vary from state to state, but I don’t know of a state that requires any certification or special degrees for homeschooling parents. Besides, most education courses of study apply to traditional classrooms and managing 20 or 30 students at a time. They really don’t focus on one-on-one teaching. There are plenty of resources available to help parents who don’t have any experience at homeschooling. For example, the curriculum we have been using (now in our sixth year) provides me with a daily lesson plan which spells out everything to do to learn the topic. They also have counselors available to answer any questions we may have. It would be very difficult to fail with so much help and support.
Of course, a packaged curriculum is not for everyone. But even those who create their own plan of study will be able to find books, websites, support groups, and more to assist them. No one needs to “re-invent the wheel” when starting out with homeschooling.
Wherever you may be in this journey, I wish you the best. In the end, you need to discover the path that works best for YOU – so don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.