Is Homeschooling A Better Option?

Many parents choose homeschooling for their child. It is a personal choice that often revolves around the desire to take a hands-on approach with their child's education. This can be a positive thing for a child and his/her parent. But it can also have some negative side-effects, especially as the child grows older and more independent. At the very beginning, a five-year old can't really make an informed decision about going to school. In fact they would probably choose the homeschooling option just because they don't want to leave the comfort and safety net of the home their parents have created around them. In this case, it is solely the parent's decision. But as that child grows and nears the age of 10 or 11, if you are considering taking the child out of public school for homeschooling or even if you've been homeschooling him/her since the beginning it would be beneficial to talk to your child about whether this program should be started or continued.
Social interaction at a young age can help to build much needed self-confidence in your child. It helps them develop much needed communication skills that otherwise cannot be learned or understood from a book. Giving a child the opportunity to interact with other children their age, as well as adults other than their parents is necessary in teaching them ways in which to handle such situations when you are not around. If you are homeschooling your child from an early age, a way to negate the lack of social situations is to sign them up for a play group. A great way to do this would be through communication with other homeschooling parents in your area. This will give both you and your child something in common with the other people of the group. Plan a field trip to a local park or cultural center. Field trips can either be just for fun or can be integrated into the curriculum to provide a more thorough learning experience. Really what they are best for is to give your child the opportunity to make new friends.
As your child grows older talk to them about their homeschooling future, if he/she shows interest in public or private school it would be a good idea to nurture that. Eventually your child is going to want to make their way in the world. If they show an interest in that before college, public or private school is the best option. As your child grows he/she is going to want that interaction with other youth their age. At least some will, if this is the case then it is something to be supported. Just because you started with homeschooling doesn't mean you have to stick it out throughout your child's educational life.
Of course, your child may wish to continue his/her education at home. Discuss his/her reasons why and base your decision on that. If the reasons for a child wanting continue at home are based on fear and anxiety it would be a good idea to encourage him/her to go out into the world, or at least to school. Encourage slowly though, don't put your foot down and push them into a situation they are afraid of. This can do more harm than it will good. Homeschooling can be a great option, but it is not for everyone. Be sure of what you and your child want before beginning such a venture.

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