Parents who elect to provide for the education of their children outside of a classroom setting and at their own expense are considered homeschooling parents. This differs from traditional classroom education in that the child does not attend a school on a daily basis. This does not mean that parents always do all the teaching, but that they direct or are responsible for their student’s learning.
Homeschooling is also different from cyber-charter schools in that the parents provide the funds for the child’s materials and do not receive teach assistance and oversight at state expense. Charter schools are not homeschooling, and are really public school at home. Families involved in charter schools lose flexibility and freedom to control the education of their children (Pennsylvania does require school districts to make textbooks available to home educating families).
Many families are discovering the joy of working with their children at home. Single parent families, dual wage earner families, and traditional stay-at-home-mother families are all found among homeschoolers.
What are benefits of homeschooling?
Homeschooling provides an incredible number of benefits, many not even identified yet! Among these benefits are:
- Enhanced parent-child relationships and sibling friendships
- Individualized academic programs that allow students to progress academically at their own pace. This benefits the eager learner as well as the student who finds academics more challenging.
- More time for fun activities, such as field trips and family outings
- Time to participate in community activities, such as political campaigns and service opportunities
- More time to enjoy reading and following the student’s own interests
- More time for extra curricular and community involvement
- More time and freedom to develop a love of reading and learning
- More time to develop life skills
- Peer group reliance is diminished
- More time and freedom to share your values with your children
- Much more!
What is required to homeschool?
Homeschooling requires parents who love and enjoy their children. Some resources are necessary, of course, but these are minimal and can often be obtained second-hand or free from the Internet. In Pennsylvania, the school district must lend curricula to the homeschooling family, if requested by the family. The library also provides many excellent resources and is widely used by homeschoolers.
Do many people homeschool?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. There are between 1.5 and 2 million homeschooled children nationwide. In Pennsylvania nearly 24,000 children are homeschooled. Since compulsory attendance does not begin in PA until age 8, that figure does not reflect the large number of children younger than 8 who are learning at home!
Do minor children who are homeschooled have to have work permits?
Homeschooled children must abide by all federal and state child labor laws. For information about Pennsylvania’s Child labor laws, and a link to federal laws, see this link: http://www.education.pa.gov/Pages/Codes%20and%20Regulations/Child-Labor-Law.aspx#tab-1