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In very simple terms homeschooling refers to parents opting to teach their children at home rather than sending them to a school and this can happen at the elementary, middle or high school level. Parents opt to teach children at home for a variety of reasons. Some parents believe that the options available in public, private or parochial schools do not meet their requirements or their expectations and this prompts them to take up the task of educating their children.
One of the primary motivations is ensuring a more appealing curriculum. Parents may feel that the school curriculum does not cover the issues that they consider important or the school district may not be prioritizing the areas of education that they would like to emphasize. If a parent feels that their child or children are ahead of the curve and need to be challenged and stimulated with a more customized curriculum they may opt to homeschool. Similarly, a parent who believes that their child can excel with a little additional focused help and attention may find that homeschooling offers more opportunities for that than a larger sized classroom setting.
Another strong motivation is religious education. Parents who believe that they would like a certain religious world view to underlie their children's learning process may find that schools and outside teachers are not guided by such motivations.
Social issues such as concerns about the kind of peer group in a given school may prompt some parents to try homeschooling. In some cases this may mean that a given family feels ill-at-ease with some of the other families in the school system while in other cases there may be safety concerns. Parents may be concerned about peer pressure from fellow students that can influence their children into making poor life choices or they may be worried that their children can be caught in the cross-fire between two rival groups.
There are also cost concerns in some cases that may motivate parents to initiate homeschooling their children. If a family feels that they would like to guide their children in a specific ideological or religious direction, a private school may offer the option but will come at a cost. In such cases, the parents may find that homeschooling is a cost effective way of raising children in an environment that the family condones entirely.
Some parents place a high premium on the extended family time and believe that this is very important. Homeschooling allows a family to spend more time together through the day.
While parents may choose homeschooling for any one of these reasons, the overall structure is not dissimilar. They create a curriculum, often based on formal teacher resources, and set out to teach their children solid study skills. Homeschooling is not about letting children skate by without academic challenges. It is about setting up rubrics that allow a parent to measure their children's progress in the context of their life-priorities. Homeschooling takes commitment and dedication and can in turn offer much satisfaction and joy.