If you’re thinking of homeschooling (or, just curious about the whole homeschool thing), one of the questions that you may ask is, “Why do people homeschool anyway?”
There are so many homeschool stereotypes and myths about homeschooling that sometimes it’s difficult to wade through all the homeschooling pros and cons.
Homeschool parents have many, many different reasons for homeschooling.
And there are, of course, major benefits of homeschooling.
Conversely, you may also have society telling you that there are many reasons not to homeschool.
However, I assure you, the benefits of homeschooling far outweigh the reasons not to homeschool!
Just like anything in life, there are pros and cons–and, homeschooling is no different. There are disadvantages of homeschooling along with (many!) homeschooling advantages.
But, for this homeschooling article, we’re going to focus on that one homeschooling question:
Why Do People Homeschool?
Let’s get a quick overview of why do people homeschool before we get into the detail of each.
Here are some major reasons why parents homeschool their children.
Why Do People Homeschool?
19 Reasons to Homeschool Your Child
- Tailor learning to a child’s interest (which is more than just choosing the right homeschool curriculum!).
- Better control over how your child learns.
- Concern about the direction of the current school systems.
- Ability to incorporate religious studies.
- Fosters a life-long love of learning in children.
- Focuses on life skills.
- Helps protect your children from societal pressure and peer pressure.
- Better control over social interactions.
- Provide a focus on morals and character.
- Ability to address special needs.
- Fits better into the family’s schedule.
- Protects child from bullying.
- Helps kids with autonomy.
- Allows practice of time management.
- Sleeping in/shorter days.
- Can incorporate travel.
- Strengthens family unit.
- Learning is more consistent.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these top reasons for homeschooling…
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Why Do People Homeschool Reason #1 : Tailor learning to a child’s interest.
The ability to tailor learning for my child is one of the biggest reasons that I wanted to homeschool.
My kid has a deep interest (and love) in both music and art–two things that are (sadly) being removed from many schools due to budget constraints.
I knew when I decided to homeschool that I could add as much art and music as my child desires!
When you decide to homeschool, you can tailor learning to a child’s interests–no matter what those interests may be!
The ability to tailor learning to a child’s interest is a huge benefit of homeschooling!
(And, it has very little to do with finding that “perfect” homeschool curriculum!)
For example, if your child is interested in sea turtles and is always talking about them, reading about them, watching shows about them, drawing them, and writing about them, you can actually tailor your learning around that specific topic.
This is known as a Unit Study approach and is a really fun way to tailor homeschool learning for your kids.
(And, you can even have different unit studies for each one of your children’s interests!)
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #2 : Better control over how your child learns.
In public (and private) schools, learning is preset for the entire class.
That means if your child hates doing worksheets (and doesn’t learn that way at all), too bad! She is still stuck doing worksheets the same as the rest of the class.
With homeschooling, you can shape studies based on how your child learns best.
For example, if your child hates reading, it doesn’t make much sense to choose a curriculum or create study units that are text heavy where your kid is stuck reading hundreds of pages a week.
Instead, with homeschooling you have the flexibility to tailor studies to how your child best learns. Maybe instead of reading from a textbook, he watches documentaries or videos online about a topic. Then, you have a discussion about those topics!)
(Do NOT fall into the trap of thinking your homeschooling needs to look like traditional school!)
HOMESCHOOL TIP: One of the most important things that you can do as a homeschooling parent is understand how your child best learns. That way, you can provide the resources that helps them become successful!
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #3 : Concern about the direction of the current school systems.
During recent home education surveys, many homeschooling parents cited “concerns over the school system” as one of the top reasons for homeschooling.
While it’s hard to know exactly what this means, from discussions within our own group I know that parents are concerned with school safety, school bullying, teacher issues, drugs, and many other issues that students face in the current school systems that become less of an issue when a child is home educated.
Additionally, some parents (like me) find state standardized testing and hours of homework each night as useless time fillers that do little to further a child’s education.
So, some parents homeschool because they don’t like the current state of schools or education.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #4 : Ability to incorporate religious studies.
Once upon a time, people homeschooled mainly for religious reasons so that they could provide a Christian education for their children.
As the homeschooling movement has grown over the recent years, there are now parents who homeschool for a large variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) religious studies.
Today, there are homeschooling families from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and belief systems.
There’s such a wide range that everyone will be able to find their tribe and you will be able to meet people from a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #5 : Fosters a life-long love of learning in children.
This is one of my favorite reasons for homeschooling: For most homeschoolers, learning is not a “chore” to be ticked off during certain hours of “school time.”
Instead, homeschooling means learning any time, or at all times, and doesn’t have to fit into a perfect little 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. box while sitting at a desk reading from a textbook.
Approaching “school” as “learning” will help your children develop a love of learning, interest, exploration, and adventure that will carry them through life.
I often catch my daughter–on her own–watching documentaries or searching out podcasts on a topic that we were discussing earlier.
There’s no crying or gnashing of teeth over learning because I allow her to lead in her interests and this creates that natural interest in learning. (If you aren’t familiar with unschooling, you should definitely check it out!)
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #6 : Homeschooling focuses on life skills.
Homeschooling isn’t just about completing a curriculum and checking items off of a lesson outline.
You will find that most homeschooling parents incorporate life skills into their daily learning as part of homeschooling.
Yep, that means that I include doing dishes, learning how to cook, taking care of pets, cleaning the house, and volunteering as part of our homeschooling.
Learning isn’t just about academics.
It’s also about raising up a child that can be a successful, contributing member of society. And, one way I can do this is to insure that she knows how to take care of herself and help others in need.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #7 : Helps protect your children from societal pressure and peer pressure.
This is an argument I’ve heard whenever anyone is listing concerns about homeschooling:
“If you keep your child sheltered, they will never learn how to deal with adversity.”
But, let’s think about this for a moment: Is it really necessary for a child to be bullied to know how to deal with adversity in life?
Or, does my kid need to be exposed to peer pressure in order to learn how to deal with it?
And, not only that, isn’t it my job as a parent to protect my child (the same way as a non-homeschooling parent)?
Also, homeschooling kids being “sheltered” is just one of those homeschool stereotypes that gets batted around as a homeschooling con.
And, why is “shelter” a bad thing? The definition of shelter is to “protect or shield from something harmful…” This doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me. In fact, I like that I provide a safe environment for my child to test out, learn who she is, and build her confidence without society or her peers telling her who she is (or isn’t) supposed to be.
Mark this in the homeschooling pros checkbox for me.
ALSO CHECK OUT : Homeschooling Pros and Cons
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #8 : Better control over social interactions.
When you homeschool, you have more control over when your children are in social situations and with whom they interact.
Before we move on in this topic, let’s address one of those common myths about homeschooling:
“Homeschool kids don’t get socialization.”
People think that homeschooled kids are isolated, at-home, and never get out.
For most homeschool families this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most homeschooled kids are very busy, spend a great deal of time outside of the home at a variety of classes and activities, and have plenty of friends and social interaction.
The difference between homeschooled kids and traditionally schooled kids is that homeschool parents can control those social interactions. If my kid is in a meet-up group where I think the kids are a bad influence, then I can change meet-up groups or monitor the interactions closely and have discussions with my daughter about behavior that concerns me.
In a traditional school, parents are sometimes unaware of the social issues kids are dealing with and therefore can’t address them.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #9 : Provide a focus on morals and character.
Talk to many homeschooling parents and they will probably say that they spend some amount of time on morals, values, and character in homeschooling.
Remember, for most families, homeschooling is about raising a well-rounded child and not just an academic child.
If you’re looking for some direction and help with these topics, check out these books on character building:
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #10 : Ability to address special needs.
Some families choose to homeschool because their child has special needs that they want to be able to focus on in a more controlled environment.
Maybe your child has specific or advanced academic needs where they need a slower or faster pace than is offered in a traditional classroom setting?
Or, maybe your child has special medical needs that would take him out of school a great deal or that only allows him to concentrate on learning for short periods of time?
If a child has special needs (for whatever reason), many families find that homeschooling is a great fit for those needs.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #11 : Flexibility.
Believe it or not, homeschooling offers a great deal of flexibility.
Because you control when and how your children homeschool, you also control the schedule.
You can take time off when you want, vacation at less busy times, work around parent work schedules, deal with family emergencies and so much more.
Flexibility is a HUGE pro of homeschooling.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #12 : Fits better into the family’s schedule.
This reason goes hand-in-hand with reason #11 (flexibility).
When you homeschool, you fit learning into your schedule (and not the other way around). If you find that your kids are night owls (like my kid), you can adjust your schedule so that you do the majority of your homeschooling in the afternoon or evenings when your kids thrive the most.
I work and homeschool. On some days, work takes priority and homeschooling fits around that. On other days, homeschooling takes priority and work fits around that. And, on some days, being outside or going to the museum takes priority and scheduled homeschool stuff and work takes a back seat.
The ability to switch around schedules also keeps things fresh and we have less of a chance of boredom setting in. (At age 10, I can count on one hand the number of times my daughter has said she was bored!)
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #13 : Protects child from bullying.
We touched on this a little in Reason #7, but it’s worth its own section because–let’s face it–bullying is really scary now.
A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, “19% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey.”
Every single day there is a sad and scary news story about bullying–a kid getting hurt because she was bullied.
A kid running away or quitting school because he was bullied.
A young girl committing suicide because she was bullied.
Can I protect my child from all the bad things in the world?
Can I provide an environment where my child can feel safe and become more confident with who she is so that she can better protect herself from outside influences?
And, homeschooling helps me do that.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #14 : Helps kids with autonomy.
Many people (incorrectly) believe that homeschooled kids rely too much on parents and that parents direct every moment of every day.
However, many homeschoolers are given the room and independence in their home to develop personal autonomy, including thinking for themselves, directing some or all of their learning, and determining some of their responsibilities in the household.
Most homeschool families are raising very independent children.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #15 : Allows practice of time management.
Let’s face it, time management is one of the the most important skills you can learn in life.
No matter the careers, interests, or even how your children decide to further their education, they will need to be able to manage time.
One of the ways I practice this skill set with my homeschooler is to give her the list of tasks for the day and let her decide how to fit it all in.
Some days, it’s so smooth I wonder why I don’t have her running my business life.
Other days–as expected–it’s a total disaster and she runs out of time or becomes stressed. Those days provide a great learning opportunity where we can sit down, review what happened, and have a discussion on how she may have managed her time better.
This method works really well with older kids (my daughter is 10), but you can also practice this even if you are homeschooling preschool or kindergarten.
When my daughter was this age, we helped practice time management (which can be a hard concept for younger kids) by using a fun visual timer to help her understand how much time she had to complete a project or chore.
It became a game and she would remind me to turn on the timer if I forgot!
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #16 : Sleeping in/shorter days.
Another of my favorite things about homeschooling is the slower mornings.
As I mentioned before, my kid is a night owl (she has been since birth).
Anyway, on the days when I see neighbor kids rushing out into the dark morning to catch the bus, we are still in our pajamas and easing our way into the morning (see #10 on this homeschooling list).
I allow my kid to sleep as long as she wants (unless we have an outside the home activity), ease into the morning, and then tackle homeschooling when she’s ready. She’s pretty good at staying on track now and managing her own schedule.
HOMESCHOOL TIP: Did you know that kids (and even teens) need more sleep than adults to assist with their “rapid mental and physical development”? Let your kids sleep!
The other part of this reason why people homeschool is that most homeschoolers have shorter “school” days than traditional school kids. That’s because we are only learning with one (or a few kids) and can move quickly through our studies.
Most days, we finish our at-home learning by around noon or 1 p.m., even when my daughter starts a little later. This leaves a lot of time in the afternoon for free learning (her choice) or field trips, park time, meet ups, play dates, or errands.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #17 : Can incorporate travel.
Even if you’re not road schooling, travel can still be a big part of your homeschooling!
I love that we can travel as part of our homeschooling. And, the best part? We can schedule our travel during “off times” which means we’re not traveling during Spring or Summer break with thousands of other families.
We often take one or two smaller trips a year to our family farm in Virginia while other kids are in school. Along the way, we try to plan some museum or tourist learning stops or visit the museums around where the farm is located.
We also plan our summer beach trip after traditional schools are back in session. This leaves the area that we visit less crowded and miles and miles of beach virtually to ourselves.
Whatever your travel plans, don’t underestimate how much learning takes place while traveling. And, it’s not just about museums or sites. Kids will learn geography, culture differences, and even how to handle traveling on planes or by car during long road trips (which will serve them well later in life).
Also, if travel isn’t in your budget, take some staycation day trips around your area to places you’ve never visited!
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #18 : Strengthens family unit.
At least one time every month some stranger who finds out that we homeschool says to me, “Oh! Wow! I could never spend that much time with my kids without going crazy!”
I find this statement . . . odd.
Personally, I enjoy being with my child. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days that she makes me crazy (and, I’m sure, I make her crazy), but in general we enjoy each other.
I fully believe that our bond is stronger because we spend a great deal of time together talking about everything. (And, I mean every. thing.).
She is comfortable enough to ask me the hard questions. And, because we’ve built a strong bond, I’m comfortable answering them.
Homeschooling strengthens the family bond, even between siblings, who learn how to be together and support each other.
Why Do People Homeschool Reason #19 : Learning is more consistent.
Something that I find frightening about the public school system is the way they have to push through information. Mostly, they do this just to stay on state-funded curriculum and testing schedules.
If a student is advanced, that student is forced to slow down and be on the same (proverbial) page as the rest of the class.
If a student is having more trouble with a topic, that student often gets left behind because the class has to push on no matter what.
Homeschooling is not like that . . . AT. ALL.
With homeschooling, you get to speed up or slow down based on how your child learns.
And, you may even be slowing down and speeding up at the same time.
For example, your kid may be advanced in math and skipping ahead of traditional levels for their age or stage. Conversely, they may have trouble with spelling so you might have to slow down in that area. (And, that’s OK!)
Homeschooling is the ultimate tailored education so you get to work with how your child learns (which is way less stressful for them than the traditional way).
That was a lot, right?
We’ve given you 19 common reasons why people homeschool, but (of course) there are many, many other reasons!
Find a group and talk to some homeschoolers! We are a helpful and friendly bunch and love to assist those curious about homeschooling!
(Come on over to our homeschooling group! The homeschool parents there are FABULOUS and HELPFUL!)
If you want to learn more about homeschooling, these homeschool posts will definitely help:
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