Education Options Grow,
More Parents Opt For Homeschooling
Parents face more choices than ever when determining how best
to educate their children.
ago, parents had few educational options. Then, in 1906, Virgil
Hillyer, a Harvard University-trained scholar and head master
of Calvert School, a private school in Maryland, gave parents
a new choice: a formal k-12 elementary school curriculum they could
use to teach their children at home. Soon, people all over the
United States, especially in remote areas, as well as those
living abroad, flocked to use lessons based on classroom instruction
at Calvert School.
century later, homeschooling continues to flourish, even as
newer educational options have emerged. A recent Calvert School
study found more than 1.8 million school-age children in the
United States are educated in their homes, an increase of 38
percent since 2002.
makes homeschooling so appealing is its affordability coupled
with how it helps children reach their full potential,
said Jean C. Halle, president of Calvert School's distance-learning
operations. Since parents are not professional teachers, Calvert
provides them with daily, step-by-step lesson plans, textbooks,
workbooks and supplies as well as academic support.
appeals to people from various education levels. Calvert School's
study found about 19 percent of homeschooling
parents did not graduate from high school; 45 percent took some
college courses; and the other 36 percent graduated from college.
level of homeschooling families also varies. Sixty-three percent
of homeschoolers earn less than $60,000 in household income
annually. Another 21 percent earn between $60,000 and $90,000
annually, and about 16 percent of homeschooling families earn
more than $90,000 a year. The majority (85 percent) of homeschooling
families spend less than $900 a year on homeschooling, Calvert
School research found.
School suggests parents ask the following six questions to determine
if home schooling is right for their family.
one-on-one instruction help your child?
instruction, when delivered in a complete program offering placement
assistance and academic support, helps many children to excel
academically. Homeschooling provides an alternative when the
traditional academic setting is not ideal. Homeschooling also
supports the unique educational needs of children who are academically
advanced or in need of remediation, those experiencing physical
or behavioral challenges, or children whose extra-curricular activities
or family situation make attending daily classroom instruction
takes between 2 1/2 to 5 hours a day. Successful homeschooling
families structure their days around their lessons. By creating
a school room within the home, families often quickly
establish an atmosphere for learning. In addition to finding
that educational opportunities abound -- practicing math at
the store, discussing science concepts while walking in the
woods -- these families enjoy the freedom to pursue other interests,
including travel, performance, athletics.
qualified to teach?
teachers come from all walks of life and education levels. A
curriculum prepared specifically for homeschoolers with detailed
lesson plans, incorporating activities, assignments, and discussion
questions, helps make sure you teach the right lessons in the
do you teach?
age-appropriate textbooks, workbooks, and other materials can
be time-consuming and complicated. Although some families gather
their own lessons, many families opt for a complete curriculum
to ensure there are no gaps in their child's education.
Relying on educational professionals to find the best educational
materials and guide your instruction maximizes your teaching
time -- and gives you the peace of mind that comes when your
grade is right?
the right grade is critical. Completing a pre-enrollment assessment and working closely with a curriculum provider's educational
experts for suggestions accelerated or remedial work, when necessary,
helps guarantee your child's success in homeschooling.
is legal throughout the United States, although state regulations
differ. Most states require families to keep records, and some
curriculum providers offer accredited programs that meet state
standards for homeschooling. Contact the state or local board
of education for more information or visit the Home School Legal Defense Association or call them at (540) 338-5600.
will it cost?
costs are significantly less than a private school education.
Most programs cost less than $1,000 a year per child. In exchange
for your labor, homeschooling offers families the reward of
valuable time together -- which can be priceless.
More about homeschooling around the Web:
Getting Started in Homeschooling - Check out an extensive library of how-to articles including tips on assessment, getting started, pros and cons, and related help with continuing a homeschooling course for grade school or high school.