Studies show that homeschooling can be more effective in developing a child’s intelligence, compared with traditional schooling, says the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association). Children who are homeschooled are found to outperform their peers on standardized tests, and their ACT and SAT scores are higher than those of public school students. It would seem that a homeschooling education delivers benefits that traditional schooling does not.
But not every parent is capable of homeschooling her child. Homeschooling can be intense, and requires a lot of effort and time. A homeschooling parent not only does all the teaching, she also has to research the most appropriate curriculum and develop lessons plan for her child. She is also responsible for managing the learning environment, as well as taking the child for educational out-of home trips and activities. For a parent who has a day job, homeschooling is not an option.
This does not mean you can’t give your child the benefits of homeschooling even if he attends a traditional school. By analyzing why homeschooling works and why it is effective, you can come up with ways to make your child’s traditional schooling approximate that of homeschooling.
The main feature of homeschooling is that it is one-on-one tutoring. Studies suggest that in regular school, the smaller the teacher-to-student ratio, the better the student learns. Homeschooling is, in effect, a one-to-one ratio of teaching.
With one-on-one tutoring, the students are helped individually, and the teacher strives to make the student master a basic skill or concept before going to a more advanced one. It ensures that genuine learning is taking place.
You, as a parent of a kid attending traditional school, can get this benefit by being fully involved in your kid’s education. Be in constant communication with the teacher. Have open communication so the teacher informs you not only about the learning strengths of your child, but more importantly, your child’s weaknesses. You can then work on those by devoting time, effort, and resources to help your child strengthen the areas in which he may be falling behind. You can use workbooks, computer games, educational videos, and puzzles to increase your child’s skills in that area.
Another great feature of homeschooling is that it caters to a child’s specific educational needs. Homeschooling allows parents to customize their children’s education to maximize learning, strengthen weaknesses, and allow focus on special areas of interest or giftedness. This makes kids highly motivated to learn, and encourages a love for learning. You can mirror this by giving your child opportunities to be exposed to things that interest him and stimulate his learning. This motivates him to learn, while still having fun. Examples include providing books on these subjects, enrolling him in camps, going to museums, heading to concerts, or going on nature field trips.
As there is no peer pressure, a homeschooled child is encouraged to think more independently. They are also unlikely to follow the ideas of a group without first making up their own minds. College students who were homeschooled express that they feel more mature than their dorm-mates, because they know how to think for themselves and aren’t influenced as readily by peer pressure.
With your traditionally school child, encourage him to work independently and face challenges without your help. Let him express himself without fear of being censured.
Being involved with your child’s education this way does take effort, but you are able to take advantage of the best of the worlds of homeschooling and traditional schooling.