There are a wide number of compelling reasons to home educate, and the motivating factors are different for every family. However there are a few underlying themes that most homeschooling families cite as the reason for taking their kids out of school, or not putting them into school in the first place.
A better education
The definition of a ‘good education’ is evolving rapidly from the traditional view that children should go into schooling as blank slates and come out full of ‘knowledge’. There is a growing belief that this ‘industrialisation’ of education, where children are treated as a commodity, needs to change towards a more ‘learning’ centred model that makes children better problem solvers and better able to deal with the rapid changes that are taking place in the world.
Most home educators believe that treating learning as fun and an adventure builds a love of learning for the future. Educating children at home also provides a better opportunity to work with the individual learning styles of children and build on their weaknesses in a loving and nurturing environment without the stress of ‘conforming’.
Closer family ties
When education is a family affair, it becomes a much richer and more fulfilling experience for everyone. When the parents take direct responsibility for the learning of the children, not only is the learning appropriate to the family culture and interests, but the parents learn alongside the children. This forms stronger family bonds and a combined sense of working together.
These days many parents claim to enjoy the freedom of dropping the kids at school and having a few hours of ‘peace’, however homeschooling families relish the time together to learn and grow. Many families claim that the stress levels of the family actually decrease significantly when they start homeschooling, because the daily rush of getting to school on time, having the correct uniform, carrying heavy bags, homework, exam preparation and more are totally eliminated. Each family has its own homeschooling routine that fits with their lifestyle, and the result is a much more stress-free life.
It is no coincidence that homeschooling has grown most rapidly in religiously-minded families who want to make Islamic education a priority in their children’s learning. For many Muslims, a few periods of Islamic Studies per week in schools is simply not enough and homeschooling offers the opportunity to put their children through Hifz programmes, undertake intensive Quran study, or simply teach Islam in the way they choose.
There is also a lot to be said for keeping children out of the school environment which involves a great deal of anti-Islamic behaviour like relationships between boys and girls, pressure to conform to the popular fashion and interests and increasingly drugs and alcohol in high school years.
Homeschooling allows parents to raise their children in a religious environment where Islamic character is constantly reinforced and the surrounding influences can be carefully monitored.
Easy on your pocket
In Pakistan, a good quality English medium school can now cost upwards of Rs.10,000 per child per month. Similar is the situation of private or Islamic schools in other countries. For many families this is not only unaffordable, but not even the standard of education they wish for their children. Home education provides the opportunity to save a great deal of money whilst also achieving the learning you desire.
The cost of homeschooling depends on the choices a family makes about how they will educate their children. Some families choose to buy curriculum materials and books, while others use more online learning resources which are often free. Some families take on tutors while others choose to do the teaching themselves.
The great financial advantage of homeschooling is that families can choose how much they spend on education rather than being dictated to by the school system. They can also choose exactly on which resources / materials they want to spend and it is money well spent as you own the resources and can use them for all your children.
Richer social life
In home education, there is more time and opportunity to build a richer and more varied social life with people of similar interests. Since a child’s social environment is a major influence on his learning, being able to choose the friends you associate with is a big advantage for many homeschooling families.
When families are not burdened with strict school schedules and homework / exams stress, they find more time for productive and healthy socialisation at the times of their convenience. Family visits and vacations can be planned without external factors affecting one’s choices, thus making them easier and economical.
There is little doubt that the school environment is not a healthy one. Children are constantly tempted with junk foods available in the canteen, and the fashionable foods brought to school by their peers. On top of that, they spend the majority of their day sitting still and listening rather than moving about and using up excess energy. Stringent timetables and pressures of schooling from a tender age of 2 or 3 years, does not do much good to the physical and mental health of children.
Educating at home means that parents can play a more active role in ensuring that children are eating a balanced diet, and have the chance to be active at regular intervals in the day when concentration is waning. No meal, including breakfast has to be rushed through or skipped. Thus overall, a homeschooling setting is a much healthier alternative for families and for children.