In recent years, a significant educational paradigm shift has emerged that challenges the traditional notions of schooling. This movement, often referred to as the ‘Homeschooling Awakening’, represents a growing trend where families are opting for alternative approaches to education, choosing to educate their children at home. This shift has become so popular that a documentary discussing the topic has been produced (more on this later).
The switch from traditional schooling to homeschooling is not only reshaping the way education is delivered but also raising important questions about education overall.
In this article, we’ll discuss this shift as well as provide information on how to start homeschooling.
The Motivations Behind the Movement
Parents choosing homeschooling often cite a variety of motivations. These range from concerns about the quality of traditional schooling, including overcrowded classrooms and standardised testing, to a desire for a more holistic, personalised education.
Some parents appreciate the ability to foster a deeper parent-child connection through shared learning experiences, while others are drawn to the flexibility that homeschooling offers in terms of scheduling and travel.
Another motivating factor is the control that parents have over the values that their children are being taught. In traditional schools, children are exposed to the values and beliefs of teachers, peers, and the school as a whole. When educating children from home, parents can decide which values their children should hold.
A Lack of Coordination in Education
Traditional schools often grapple with a notable lack of coordination, resulting in a fragmented learning experience for students. This lack of cohesion can be observed in various aspects of the educational system. Curricula are often compartmentalised into distinct subjects without sufficient integration, leading to a disconnect between what students learn in different classes.
This can hinder their ability to see the bigger picture and understand how different subjects relate to each other and to real-world applications.
The lack of coordination can also extend to extracurricular activities, with scheduling conflicts and overlapping commitments hindering students' ability to fully engage in a well-rounded educational experience.
Additionally, administrative coordination within traditional schools can also be a significant challenge. From managing resources like textbooks and teaching materials to organising school events and parent-teacher conferences, the absence of streamlined systems can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.
Homeschooling overcomes the lack of coordination seen in traditional schools by allowing for a personalised and integrated approach to education. Parents have the flexibility to expose their children to the concept of all subjects and knowledge supporting one another. Therefore, fostering a holistic understanding of subjects, while also tailoring learning experiences to their child's interests and strengths, resulting in a more cohesive and interconnected learning journey.
There is also greater flexibility in the coordination of education and extracurricular activities. Here, parents have the opportunity to personalise their child’s schedule so that they may live a balanced life that includes enough time spent on education and other enjoyable activities.
The Benefits of Homeschooling
There are a multitude of benefits that homeschooling offers children and families as a whole. Some of the most noticeable advantages include:
- Tailored learning: one of the most significant advantages of homeschooling is the ability to customise education to fit a child's unique learning style, pace, and interests. This individualised approach can lead to deeper comprehension and a lifelong love for learning.
- Flexibility: homeschooling allows families to create a flexible schedule that accommodates a child's natural rhythms, allowing for more efficient learning. This flexibility also enables families to explore educational opportunities outside of textbooks, such as hands-on experiences and field trips.
- Holistic development: homeschooling goes beyond academic learning, emphasising character development, life skills, and real-world applications. This comprehensive approach aims to create well-rounded individuals prepared for the challenges of adulthood. For example, because homeschooling results in more free time, children will be able to help in the home and learn vital skills such as cooking.
- Stronger family bonds: homeschooling often strengthens family relationships as parents become intimately involved in their children's education. This creates a collaborative learning environment where values and traditions are easily integrated into everyday lessons.
- Safe learning environment: homeschooling can provide a physically and emotionally safe space for children to learn without the distractions or potential negative influences found in traditional school settings. This includes contrary beliefs and values, bullying, peer pressure, and more.
How to Start Homeschooling
While it might seem daunting to start homeschooling, there are only a few things that are needed to kick-start this fulfilling educational journey.
- Research homeschooling laws: before diving into homeschooling, it’s important for parents to research the legal requirements and regulations for homeschooling within their country of residence. Each country has its own rules, such as notification procedures, curriculum standards, and assessment requirements.
- Choose a curriculum: there are a number of curricula to choose from. Typically there will be the national curriculum of a country as well as international curricula available. For example, the International British Curriculum is available and accepted in most countries across the globe.
- Select a provider: there are a variety of options when it comes to providers. Some providers offer traditional homeschooling options, where parents purchase the books and teach their children themselves. However, there are also online schooling options where children have access to online learning classes, live virtual classes, progression trackers, teachers who will be able to answer questions, and more. Each of these options has its own advantages, depending on the level of support required and what the family deems best for them.
- Plan a schedule: once a curriculum and provider have been selected, parents can create a flexible daily or weekly schedule that includes dedicated time for various subjects, breaks, and activities. Homeschooling allows for customisation, so it’s possible for families to adjust the schedule based on each child's optimal learning times, and a family's routine. This can easily be done by utilising a homeschooling planner.
- Gather resources: it’s important to collect the necessary educational materials, books, supplies, and resources needed for the chosen curriculum. This could include textbooks, workbooks, art supplies, online learning platforms, and more.
- Establish learning spaces: parents can designate spaces within the home for learning. These spaces should be conducive to focused learning and should have the necessary materials readily available. This could take the form of an entire room or even just a desk in a quiet part of the home.
- Seek guidance: it’s important for parents to realise that they are not alone on their homeschooling journey. It’s possible to seek advice from experienced homeschoolers, educational professionals, or support networks. Their insights can provide valuable guidance and help navigate challenges.
The Homeschool Awakening Documentary
In 2022, a documentary titled ‘The Homeschool Awakening’ was released. This documentary was created and spearheaded by actor Kirk Cameron. He himself homeschools his children and wanted to shine a light on why the movement away from traditional schools is gaining so much traction.
This documentary outlines the reasons why families choose to homeschool their children, what the benefits of homeschooling are, and provides some useful tips on how to homeschool children effectively.
You can find out more about the documentary and where to watch it here.