There is a lot of material written about the benefits of homeschooling a child; I, however, can talk from my own experience only. The best thing in homeschooling is – at least from the point of view of my son, Nick – that he can sleep longer. Gone are the days when I was rushing him out of bed at 6:30 am. We were stressed, irritated and tired. Every. Single. Day. (Well, he must get up by 4 am for his online class once a week now, but this is another story.) There was the rushing to the bus station, and when we were too late, it was up to me, to get my child to school on time. Parents in similar situation can relate: You become even more frustrated when you are hardly moving forward in the morning traffic jam, and you are certain you are going to be late to work.
When you are homeschooling, the late start in the morning is just one of the perks. Another terrific thing is, you can actually set up your own lesson plans and curriculum, and as long as they comply with, in my case – Australian – curriculum regulations, you decide yourself what and when your child is learning. I find making your own decision about your child’s learning extremely important. You, the parent, know your child best and know his interests, weak points and and his hights. For example, my middle son finished high school. I mean a brick and mortar school. He has that rare ability to learn quick – a thing that always amazes me. And yet, he did not excel in school. For the most part he was bored and felt unchallenged. In hindsight he was one who could have benefited from homeschooling.
The opponents of homeschooling argue that the children miss on mingling with other children. However, those people apparently miss the point that there is also an ugly side to socializing. Many kids are bullied and ostracized by their peers in their regular school environment. That happened to my bright boy I have just mentioned above. When parents teach at home, they may choose friends for their kids. I know wonderful moms whose children are home-schooled for this solemn reason.
I don’t know about the size of the classes in the US. Here in Australia, the number of students in a class exceeds 20/25 pupils. With so many students it is impossible to give that special attention to each child in a classroom. The home teachers, on the other hand, can move from child to child and give that crucial support when some learning difficulties should arise. For example, when I had my son and his friend over for a science lessons, I could explain in detail the concepts to the boy who did not understand the lesson in progress, while the other boy would occupy himself with writing or reading.
Individual attention is another salient benefit of homeschooling. For instance, if Nick needs more time to learn Maths, then he can reduce the time for his English lessons. There are no fixed hours of learning per subject. This means that a child has the advantage of assigning more number of hours to the subject that seems tough WITHOUT any additional pressure. The amount of time needed to learn each subject will depend on the abilities and interests of the child.
Another weighty benefit of homeschooling is lack of unnecessary competition. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy competition is needed and advantageous to general development of a child. However, a shy Math genius does not need to prove himself to a sport champion and vice versa. Without that sort of rivalry learning becomes fun and what is done with fun is remembered and absorbed better.
The majority of home educating parents I know made their decision to homeschool their children based on their own religious and moral stand in the world. They want to be able to pass their own values onto their offspring. As soon as an outside teaching institution is involved in educating a child, the values of the parents get diminished, because the child spends five full days with people who might have world view very different than world view hold sacredly in the home of the child; and because the child spends such long hours at school, he is easily influenced by the teachers and other pupils.
It is true, homeschooling is not for everybody. At some point of my life as a mother, I thought too I could not do it. However, the day I pulled my son out of school, was the best day of my life. The bond between Nick and me deepened, our mutual respect and love of each other grew, and we spend more time together than I ever have with my two older sons. For me that is probably the greatest benefit of homeschooling my child.