Home schooling one’s child is a time consuming undertaking. There are lessons to teach, experiments to conduct, papers to grade, and field trips to attend. The potential is there to spend 24 hours a day with one’s child due to the fact that neither the child nor the parent leaves the home to go to school or work. Socialization and involvement in extra curricular activities such as sports may be limited. In addition, there are higher costs involved. Public schools may provide textbooks and some materials but parents may also choose to purchase a home school curriculum at their own expense.
Home schooling does provide parents with maximum flexibility. The parent can control what is taught, the schedule that is followed, and the beliefs and values that are incorporated into the lessons. One type of commercially available home school curriculum can also be customized to match the child’s ability level and learning style. The home tuition for such a program can range from $399 – $420.
A home school curriculum can follow an accredited or a nonaccredited plan. An accredited plan means that the program has been inspected by an outside independent agency and it has been determined that the program meets acceptable standards for schools. Accreditation makes credits easier to transfer between institutions of learning and becomes important when applying for colleges. Nonaccredited plans have not been determined to meet certain standards, but do allow the parent to have maximum flexibility in what is taught.
There are core content areas that a home school curriculum will cover. These content areas include language arts (which includes reading and writing), math, science, and social studies. A purchased home school curriculum could also include handwriting for the younger students and electives such as foreign languages and fine arts. A home school curriculum can be faith based or secular. A faith based home school curriculum will be based on Christian values and will likely include some type of bible study.
Home schooling can take many different forms. Some believe that a home school curriculum does not have to be taught from a textbook or workbooks. One could utilize books from a public library, hands on learning, or life experiences to teach necessary skills. A home school curriculum could be taught via correspondence, utilizing on-line tutorials, or a combination of both. Some programs begin with print materials in the younger grades and transition to more on-line, interactive lessons as the child progresses through the grades. Public schools are also beginning to offer at home learning via virtual charter schools. The virtual schools are operated by a school district in partnership with certified teachers. Parents are provided with textbooks, lesson plans, and necessary materials for instruction at home. This model still allows flexibility in scheduling and the strong parent involvement of traditional home schooling while having the expertise and accountability of a public school education.
Home schooling has changed over the years due to the availability of the Internet. Parents considering home schooling have many more options than in the past. There are home school curriculums available commercially that can be customized to meet specific learning needs. Home tuition for these can range from under $400 to over $1000 depending on the program. When considering a home school education for children, be sure to explore all the options available, weigh the pros and cons, and determine the best course of action to meet the needs of the child.