Culture June 5, 2019 100 Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids By Kerry McDonald 10 ½ min This is my 100th article at FEE.org, so here are 100 reasons to homeschool your kids! Homeschoolers perform well academically. Your kids may be happier. Issues like ADHD might disappear or become less problematic. It doesn’t matter if they fidget. YOU may be happier! All that time spent on your kids’ homework can now be used more productively for family learning and living. You can still work and homeschool. And even grow a successful business while homeschooling your kids. Your kids can also build successful businesses, as many grown unschoolers become entrepreneurs. You can be a single parent and homeschool your kids. Your kids can be little for longer. Early school enrollment has been linked by Harvard researchers with troubling rates of ADHD diagnosis. A year can make a big difference in early childhood development. Some of us are just late bloomers. We don’t all need to be on “America’s early-blooming conveyor belt.” Then again, homeschooling can help those kids who might be early bloomers and graduate from college at 16. Whether early, late, or somewhere in the middle, homeschooling allows all children to move at their own pace. You can choose from a panoply of curriculum options based on your children’s needs and your family’s educational philosophy. Or you can focus on unschooling, a self-directed education approach tied to a child’s interests. Homeschooling gives your kids plenty of time to play! In a culture where childhood free play is disappearing, preserving play is crucial to a child’s health and well-being. They can have more recess and less homework. You can take advantage of weekly homeschool park days, field trips, classes, and other gatherings offered through a homeschooling group near you. Homeschooling co-ops are growing, so you can find support and resources. Homeschooling learning centers are sprouting worldwide, prioritizing self-directed education and allowing more flexibility to more families who want to homeschool. Parks, beaches, libraries, and museums are often less crowded during school hours, and many offer programming specifically for homeschoolers. You’re not alone. Nearly two million US children are homeschooled, and the homeschooling population is increasingly reflective of America’s diversity. In fact, the number of black homeschoolers doubled between 2007 and 2011. One-quarter of today’s homeschoolers are Hispanic-Americans who want to preserve bilingualism and family culture. Some families of color are choosing homeschooling to escape what they see as poor academic outcomes in schools, a curriculum that ignores their cultural heritage, institutional racism, and disciplinary approaches that disproportionately target children of color. More military families are choosing homeschooling to provide stability and consistency through frequent relocations and deployments. While the majority of homeschoolers are Christians, many Muslim families are choosing to homeschool, as are atheists. Homeschooling has wide bipartisan appeal. More urban parents are choosing to homeschool, prioritizing family and individualized learning. Religious freedom may be important to many homeschooling families, but it is not the primary reason they choose to homeschool. “Concern about the school environment, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure” is the top motivator according to federal data. Fear of school shootings and widespread bullying are other concerns that are prompting more families to consider the homeschooling option. Some parents choose homeschooling because they are frustrated by Common Core curriculum frameworks and frequent testing in public schools. Adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicide decline during the summer, but Vanderbilt University researchers found that suicidal tendencies spike at back-to-school time. (This is a pattern opposite to that of adults, who experience more suicidal thoughts and acts in the summertime.) Homeschooling your kids may reduce these school-induced mental health issues. It will also prevent schools from surreptitiously collecting and tracking data on your child’s mental health. Your kids’ summertime can be fully self-directed, as can the rest of their year. That’s because kids thrive under self-directed education. Some kids are asking to be homeschooled. And they may even thank you for it. Today’s teens aren’t working in part-time or summer jobs like they used to. Homeschooling can offer time for valuable teen work experience. It can also provide the opportunity to cultivate teen entrepreneurial skills. Your kids don’t have to wait for adulthood to pursue their passions. By forming authentic connections with community members, homeschoolers can take advantage of teen apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have a great track record on helping homeschoolers build important career skills and get great jobs. Self-directed learning centers for teen homeschoolers can provide a launchpad for community college classes and jobs while offering peer connection and adult mentoring. With homeschooling, you can inspire your kids to love reading. Maybe that’s because they will actually read books, something one-quarter of Americans reported not doing in 2014. Your kids might even choose to voluntarily read financial statements or do worksheets. You can preserve their natural childhood creativity. Schools kill creativity, as Sir Ken Robinson proclaims in his TED Talk, the most-watched one ever. Homeschooling might even help your kids use their creativity in remarkable ways, as other well-known homeschoolers have done. With homeschooling, learning happens all the time, all year round. There are no arbitrary starts and stops. You can take vacations at any time of the year without needing permission from the principal. Or you can go world-schooling, spending extended periods of time traveling the world together as a family or letting your teens travel the world without you. Your kids can have healthier lunches than they would at school. And you can actually enjoy lunch with them rather than being banned from the school cafeteria. Your kids don’t have to walk through metal detectors, past armed police officers, and into locked classrooms in order to learn. You can avoid bathroom wars and let your kids go to the bathroom wherever and whenever they want—without raising their hand to ask for permission. Research shows that teen homeschoolers get more sleep than their schooled peers. Technological innovations make self-education through homeschooling not only possible but also preferable. Free, online learning programs like Khan Academy, Duolingo, Scratch, Prodigy Math, and MIT OpenCourseWare complement learning in an array of topics, while others, like Lynda.com and Mango, may be available for free through your local public library. Schooling was for the Industrial Age, but unschooling is for the future. With robots doing more of our work, we need to rely more on our distinctly human qualities, like curiosity and ingenuity, to thrive in the Innovation Era. Homeschooling could be the “smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century,” according to Business Insider. Teen homeschoolers can enroll in an online high school program to earn a high school diploma if they choose. But young people don’t need a high school diploma in order to go to college. Many teen homeschoolers take community college classes and transfer into four-year universities with significant credits and cost-savings. Research suggests that community college transfers also do better than their non-transfer peers. Homeschooling may be the new path to Harvard. Many colleges openly recruit and welcome homeschoolers because they tend to be “innovative thinkers.” But college doesn’t need to be the only pathway to a meaningful adult life and livelihood. Many lucrative jobs don’t require a college degree, and companies like Google and Apple have dropped their degree requirements. In fact, more homeschooling families from the tech community in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are choosing to homeschool their kids. Hybrid homeschooling models are popping up everywhere, allowing more families access to this educational option. Some of these hybrid homeschool programs are public charter schools that are free to attend and actually give families access to funds for homeschooling. Other education choice mechanisms, like Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and tax-credit scholarship programs, are expanding to include homeschoolers, offering financial assistance to those families who need and want it. Some states allow homeschoolers to fully participate in their local school sports teams and extracurricular activities. Homeschooling may be particularly helpful for children with disabilities, like dyslexia, as the personalized learning model allows for more flexibility and customization. Homeschooling is growing in popularity worldwide, especially in India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and even in China, where it’s illegal. Homeschooling grants children remarkable freedom and autonomy, particularly self-directed approaches like unschooling, but it’s definitely not the Lord of the Flies. Homeschooling allows for much more authentic, purposeful learning tied to interests and everyday interactions in the community rather than contrived assignments at school. Throughout the American colonial and revolutionary eras, homeschooling was the norm, educating leaders like George Washington and Abigail Adams. In fact, many famous people were homeschooled. And many famous people homeschool their own kids. Your homeschooled kids will probably be able to name at least one right protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, something 37 percent of adults who participated in a recent University of Pennsylvania survey couldn’t do. Homeschooling can be preferable to school because it’s a totally different learning environment. As homeschooling pioneer John Holt wrote in Teach Your Own: “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children's growth in the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn't a school at all.” Immersed in their larger community and engaged in genuine, multi-generational activities, homeschoolers tend to be better socialized than their schooled peers. Newer studies suggest the same. Homeschoolers interact daily with an assortment of people in their community in pursuit of common interests, not in an age-segregated classroom with a handful of teachers. Research suggests that homeschoolers are more politically tolerant than others. They can dig deeper into emerging passions, becoming highly proficient. They also have the freedom to quit. They can spend abundant time outside and in nature. Homeschooling can create strong sibling relationships and tight family bonds. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 US states and has been since 1993, but regulations vary widely by state. In spite of ongoing efforts to regulate homeschoolers, US homeschooling is becoming less regulated. That’s because homeschooling parents are powerful defenders of education freedom. Parents can focus family learning around their own values, not someone else’s. Homeschooling is one way to get around regressive compulsory schooling laws and put parents back in charge of their child’s education. It can free children from coercive, test-driven schooling. It is one education option among many to consider as more parents opt-out of mass schooling. Homeschooling is the ultimate school choice. It is inspiring education entrepreneurship to disrupt the schooling status quo. And it’s encouraging frustrated educators to leave the classroom and launch their own alternatives to school. Homeschooling is all about having the liberty to learn. -- This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article. [Image Credit: PXHere] Kerry McDonald Kerry McDonald is a Senior Contributor for Intellectual Takeout. She has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and a Master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University. Follow her on Twitter.