When we consign our children to public schools, we feel satisfied that they are receiving 'quality education'. But, are we really getting our money are worth? More importantly, are the children gaining anything from this kind of a learning procedure?
Socialization is hailed as one of the greatest advantage of schools. This is the place where the child picks up the rudiments of social skills that help him survive. But in truth, a regular school-going child can interact only with his peers. He may bully younger children or fear older ones. He does not know how to behave with an adult. This is because in the school environment he interacts only with his peers. A homeschooling environment brings in a more natural social environment.
A regular school going child cannot read literature. He cannot keep silent or think in depth about any one thing. The artificial busyness imposed upon him by the school disallows quiet contemplation. Rowdy and destructive behaviour, as seen among peers, is more noticeable in school-goers.
There is little long-standing knowledge among regular school goers because most things are learnt for the exam. There is no correlation of facts with life. The child may know a lot, but understands very little. This is where the homeschoolers beat the regular school goers. Ultimately, homeschoolers emerge more adept at facing the outside world.
When people talk about teaching their children from home in the absence of any definite or structured curriculum, it is perhaps natural to think that homeschooling is cheap. But this is far from the truth. Although homeschooling does not stick to any particular text, this is perhaps more of a bane than a boon, when it comes to finance.
When you need to make sure that your children receives state-of-the-art education so that they can compete with regular school goers, expenses will naturally mount. The actual cost of educating a child at home is surprisingly high. Up-to-date textbooks, course materials, a library, computing equipment, lighting, specially designed furniture all cost money. In this case, the cost may be slightly lesser when it comes to homeschooling the second child. Add to this any additional tuition cost for tutors who come to teach subjects that cannot be handled by parents, like higher-level math or science. The total cost can be a bit mind boggling.
If you take another important factor into consideration, homeschooling costs may effective triple. The need for having one of the parents tied to the house and fully dedicated to providing education deprives the family of a second earning member. The average homeschooling teacher is usually a lady with a college degree. This means that she can easily bring home a pay of $35,000 or more. It is also interesting to note that most families that have more than 2 children do not opt for homeschooling at all.
But, there are those who have been successful in carrying out homeschooling at low rates. This is dependent on the size of the family, the support group, and the type of materials used and the availability of the material. When successive children can reuse the materials, cost goes down. Much of the course material can be got from vendors of homeschooling materials. A membership in a public library, theatre, concerts, ballets and other cultural events also help in cutting costs. Sometimes, it is even possible to barter expertise. For instance, the mother of an 8-year old gives dancing classes, and her daughter receives drawing classes for free. Support groups allow you to divide the cost of field trips, science projects and fairs.
Whatever the cost, advocates of homeschooling say that the benefits far outweigh these considerations. When you are able to decide what knowledge your child receives and when he or she should be taught and to what extent, it gives you a lot of freedom and a lot of power. Both the children as well as the parents benefit from this mutually enriching experience.