My, How Times Have Changed!
Although many American parents whose students attend traditional public schools have at some points in recent decades been leery of the unknowns of homeschooling, this education method has made a big comeback. The 1970s saw almost the extinction of homeschooling (also known as home education or home-based education), but now, more than 3.7 million school-age children are homeschooled!
According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), about 2.5 million students were homeschooled in spring 2019, but that number grew to the 3.7 million mark in 2020-2021 for those in grades K-12.
These and the benefits we’re about to discuss are some of the reasons why I want to introduce you to an online resource that I’ve discovered that should be bookmarked by every homeschool parent!
Home Education Definition, Benefits
Generally, “homeschooling” is defined as learning outside of the public or private school setting. It’s “an age-old traditional educational practice that a decade ago appeared to be cutting-edge and ‘alternative’ but is now bordering on ‘mainstream’ in the United States,” NHERI reports. Home-based education has been growing in nations around the globe, and it just might be the fastest-growing form of education in the US, according to NHERI.
Most families conduct home-based education by going out and about each day and learning via the many resources available in most communities, not just giving lessons at home.
There are many benefits to homeschooling. To name just a few:
The curriculum and learning environment can be customized for each child.
Teaching approaches other than those seen in institutional schools can be used.
Guided and reasoned social interactions with peers and adults can be planned.
The environment can be safer for children who otherwise might face violence, drugs, racism, or other negative effects in public schools.
Children’s learning pace can be steady, unlike in institutions closed due to health situations such as COVID-19.
Particular values, beliefs, and worldview can be the focus.
In addition, as pointed out by NHERI, homeschooled students mean savings for American taxpayers. While an average of $15,240 is spent per pupil each year in public schools, according to the National Education Association, the millions of homeschool students result in a savings of more than $68 billion for taxpayers, NHERI reports.
Homeschool families spend an average of $600 per student annually for their education, according to NHERI, while taxpayers spend nothing on most home-educated youth.
Expenses Associated With Homeschooling
Certainly, home education is not free. Generally speaking, there are five areas of costs for families who homeschool:
1. LOST INCOME
Typically, one parent must stay home to teach the children in the household. This means that most couples will have to transition to a one-income family model. As with considering both parents working full-time and paying for daycare versus one staying home to avoid the cost of daycare, this is a discussion that those considering home education must have.
Finding the right curriculum is no easy task, but there are a multitude of resources available to aid those investing in home education. It’s certainly time-consuming but vital that each parent find the right curriculum for their child/children.
3. SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT
Although homeschooling can save families on back-to-school necessities such as a particular wardrobe for children or pitching in for classroom supplies, school fundraisers, or class snacks, there are many costs to consider for home education. These include classroom decorations and things like globes, microscopes, and a whole lot more.
4. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
To avoid feeling isolated and to improve socialization, many homeschooled children participate in community sports, music lessons, dance, Girl or Boy Scouts, 4-H club opportunities, and much more. Different towns offer different options, but they all do involve a cost, too.
5. FIELD TRIPS
A fun and key part of homeschooling involves field trips, and they do cost money. Often, families will take children to the zoo, the planetarium, or on other trips to supplement in-classroom learning. Sometimes, the cost adds up in a hurry.
Luckily, there are many free or low-cost resources for home education enthusiasts. They include a free editable tracing practice pack, for example. Some of the helpful websites for homeschool educators include:
Today.com even offers a huge list of free resources for homeschooling
The best website I’ve found now is the one I most highly recommend: HomeschoolGiveaways.com.
A Vital Resource For homeschooling
I want to share with you an exciting online resource for homeschooling parents. The site is called Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies. Owner Carrie Fernandez states, “We love to share the best homeschooling resources, curriculum reviews, freebies, giveaways, and more with the homeschooling community.”
Carrie has been homeschooling for over 16 years. She and her husband have two girls. Carrie’s website offers a lot of quality free stuff.
Among these true gems, ALL FREE, you’ll find:
A shapes tracing worksheet for preschoolers
Binder printables for preschooler activities
Printable phonics sound cards and charts
Numbers printables for early learners
Counting numbers worksheets and activities
Printable opposites puzzles for preschoolers
More than 200 printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners
Counting bears worksheets and printable activities
Do A Dot printables and worksheets
Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies offers everything from the abovementioned resources to choices for learning on topics ranging from Bible stories to Mother Nature and wild animals, and so much more. This is a huge and amazing site for home education!
Sign up on the site and get access to a treasure trove of books in the Subscriber Library. Also at Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies, you’ll find reviews on curriculum options, for example, so you can get guidance you’ll appreciate from other parents on the homeschool journey.
This site really is a truly a gold mine for homeschooling! Start there if you are just thinking about home education, or boost your knowledge if you’re a homeschooling veteran. You’re not in this adventure alone, and it doesn’t have to break the bank, either!
Consider The Options
There are many benefits to home education, and it’s no wonder that homeschooling is growing in popularity all across the nation, and the world. With sites like Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies, you can control costs, get advice, and deepen your understanding of best practices in home education.
And remember you’re not alone! There’s a whole community of home educaors and homeschool students out there. It’s all definitely worth discovering!
About The Author
Denise Shields is a preschool teacher from Virginia. When she had to close her preschool in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, Denise brought her preschool program online to offer a virtual experience to young children. She has worked with preschool children for 26 years, with 13 years as a preschool teacher. She is the owner and founder of both Creative Kids Preschool in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the free virtual preschool program called Creative Kids Virtual Preschool, which has helped thousands of families educate their young preschoolers during the COVID-19 pandemic.