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Dislocating Education

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Home Schooling

It is not unusual for a parent today to remove his or her children from the school system and to set up a home school. Although this practice has been, and still is, met with some suspicion, the home school movement is gaining increasing acceptance, as more parents opt for home schooling.

There are many home school success stories, which remove common objections that a child may not be able to receive the same quality of instruction at home or may not enjoy an active social life. Establishing a home school is certainly challenging, but many parents find that they reap many rewards.

There are many reasons parents decide to home school their children. Many parents decide to educate their children at home so they can provide an education that is consistent with the family’s religious traditions or values. As stories of school violence and drugs become more prevalent, many parents believe that a home school will provide a child with a better environment than a regular school will.

Parents of gifted children, as well as those whose children have “learning differences”, may feel that the school system does not address their child’s way of thinking and reasoning, and believe that a home environment will provide the child with more personal attention that a conventional school setting.

Finally, many of these parents would otherwise send their child to a private school, but feel that the available private schools are either too far away or too expensive. Although reasons for deciding to set up a home school may be different, these parents are unified in the concern they feel for their children and their desire to give them the best, most personalized education possible.

Setting up a home school is not easy or cheap. Many parents decide to team up and to provide “co-op instruction” or at least to share materials. Textbooks can be purchased, but many parents prefer to download information from the internet.

Parents who home school children at different grade levels may feel that they have a juggling act, or may educate all of the children at once and allow them to absorb the material according to their ability to grasp the material. In a home school setting, grade levels are not so rigidly fixed, and many parents feel that they can educate their children together.

The advantage to setting up a home school for one’s children, is that one has the flexibility to schedule the day according to how a particular lesson is going. For instance, a child may raise an interesting question which may lead to some immediate field research.

A parent can take the children in a car to a park for a lesson in geology or to a bank to teach the children about economics. Classes do not need to begin an end, but every errand can be a new educational opportunity. Many parents feel that education for child involves his or her waking hours, and does not begin and end at school. This can foster a child’s curiosity about the world and love of knowledge.

A common criticism of the home school movement is that it may not provide sufficient social stimulation or extra-curricular activities. However, this objection is not based on a necessary result of the home school, since these issues can be easily remedied.

Parents can make contact with other parents who home school their kids and arrange social activities for the children. Since the schedules are more free, it is easier for these children to get together. Many school districts allow children who are home schooled to participate in sports and theatrical activities. Children who learn at home are becoming increasingly accepted into society and into elite universities.

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