Blog entry by Samara Cloete
As parents, some of our fondest memories take us back to our school going days where we sometimes find ourselves reminiscing about the good old times. From walking to school barefoot, to high school proms, to being laughed at by our friends for the beating we just got because we said something smart to the science teacher in class. But now you have kids of your own and wish for them to have the same experiences you had. But unfortunately, going to school is not as it use to be back in the day. Times have most definitely changed, and so have our thoughts on sending our children to school.
Following are the top five reasons you should consider homeschooling as a healthy alternative to sending your child to school and why.
1. Homeschooling provides parents with better options
The reason you are reading this article is most likely that you want your child to have a matric qualification that is recognized not only nationally but internationally as well. Homeschooling provides you as a parent with a lot of promising options and curricula. International Advanced Level(IAL) is an international qualification where the student has the option of distance learning.
2. Social aspect not as promising as we thought - you will have better control over your child’s friendship circles and social groups
One of the main concerns when sending your child to school every day is whether they will interact with other learners. Or maybe you are wondering whether they will even be accepted into any friendship circles. For some kids school can be the best place to socialize and meet friends, but this may not be the case for all kids. And though your child might be one of those social butterflies, you are still concerned about whether he or she is involved with the right friend group, and there is hardly a worse feeling than knowing your child is suffering socially at school and does not feel welcome. Homeschooling creates a safe space for children where they will be able to thrive in a healthy environment and join sports clubs or youth groups to make good friendships. After all, school should be about academics first, and then social life afterward. This way kids are less distracted and want to get their work done in time to enjoy extramural activities afterward.
3. Your child will have more flexible study time and you’ll save on transport costs
You will finally get to say goodbye to early morning rushing to get your kid to school in time, and you will be saving on transport costs. Bargain! Your child can roll out of bed and to the desk in the mornings. Aside from that, if your child is serious about a particular hobby or business that might even have the potential to become a career, they would be able to work around their schedules or timetables to accommodate such a lifestyle. Or maybe your family has been wanting to take a month-long trip to Europe, then you can shift your child's schedule around and they can catch up or work extra before or after the trip. Like I said, homeschooling can be great simply because it is flexible.
4. Your child will have more academic support
Some of you might be thinking that your child might have less academic support with homeschooling than he or she would at school, but let me shed some light on this situation just a little. First of all, you need to keep in mind that in a school setup there are generally around 20-30 students in one classroom, and apart from a somewhat distracting environment, there is hardly any quality academic attention given to any student. You will either have to take time out to assist your kid or find and pay for a suitable tutor. And in most cases, a learner might only really struggle with one or two subjects and fly through the rest. With homeschooling, you can monitor your child more closely, but at the same time allow them to have accountability to complete a certain amount of work on their own, and if they get stuck then you will be there to help them.
5. Your child can finish school earlier (or later)
In 1994, Michael Kerney (who was also homeschooled by his parents) was ten years old when he completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Alabama. Another story closer to home is that of the South African boy, Hjalmar Rall, (also homeschooled by his parents) enrolled to study for his BSc degree at the University of Pretoria at 14 years of age. Rall’s parents saw that he was miserable at school, and decided to give homeschooling a try. He flew through his grades in a matter of months. Now I know that Michael Kerney and Hjalmar Rall are two one-in-a-million, but this just proves that finishing school earlier can be done, whether it be one or two years earlier. In a school setup this would be quite impossible. Most homeschooling distance education providers that enable students to complete their schooling at their own pace. Students will therefore be able to finish their matric before or after they turn 18.
There are a whole lot more benefits to homeschooling your child over and above the top five reasons I mentioned above. There are countless positive testimonies from both parents and children on their homeschooling journeys. Most parents that start to homeschool their children do not even think about sending their kids back to school again. And from my point of view, I turned to homeschooling in grade 8 and completed my matric a year earlier than all my friends who were my age and going to school. If I could go back and choose again between homeschooling and going to school, I would do homeschooling again in a heartbeat, so much so that I want to promote the benefits to other parents or future parents.