“Even though the U.S. spends more money per student in relation to other countries on education, it does not translate to students performing better.”
A new haircut, book bag, and binder are but a few items to get before going back to school. The excitement is in the air. The smell of all new things creates a buzz. New friends, new topics, and new experiences await children. While some students will attend traditional brick-and-mortar schools, there has been an increase in educational alternatives such as homeschooling, which oﬀer other children a paradigm shift in learning. In essence, children who are homeschooled have new possibilities that await them with greater parental involvement and a close-nit social network over their traditional schooled peers.
There are a variety of reasons parents choose the path of homeschooling over traditional schooling. Some of which are academic performance; social, emotional, and psychological development; and success in the “real world.” No matter the reason, parents as the primary educator create a systemic relationship in a child’s educational journey while being homeschooled.
With the increase of social pressure, school related environmental risks, and a decline in student achievement, parents have become proactive in setting the pace for their child’s future. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), in 2016 out of 34 countries the U.S. ranked:
- 27th in mathematics
- 17th in reading
- 20th in science
Many feel the education system in the U.S. is trailing behind other developed countries. In addition, some feel that teachers are not on the same level of respect as other developed countries. The public perception of teachers must change. Other developed countries have a “bottom up” approach to policy building where most of the decisions are left for individual schools and teachers. Such is the case in Finland. The U.S. consistently performs near the middle.
Even though the U.S. spends more money per student in relation to other countries on education, it does not translate to students performing better. Parents have noticed the trend and have taken a grassroots approach to ensuring their child is successful based on their child’s needs.
Who else knows their child better than a parent? Parents are able to provide an environment conducive to learning. Parents are able to provide moral instruction building a child’s character. Parents are able to provide a nontraditional approach to learning because they understand their child’s learning style. In essence, parents take great pride in being their child’s primary educator. No wonder there has been an increase in children being homeschooled.
While parents are the primary educator for their children, they are aware that it is necessary for assistance. It takes a village has a humble approach to having a balanced life. There are a variety of resources for parents to take advantage of to help their child. Museums, athletic clubs, fine art classes, tutors, and academic institutions like American Academy of Strategic Education have provided parents greater opportunities to help holistically educate their child.
Finding the right program that best meets the child’s needs may seem daunting. However, parents are able to be proactive in asking the right questions when selecting a program that brings out the best in their child. Finding unique programs that are innovative and have an established reputation is a steppingstone. Next, finding a program that is the best fit provides parents opportunities for a child to grow. Knowing what subjects are oﬀered and the flexibility of the program provides options for children and their parents. Parents are encouraged to ask for tours to visit the facilities with their child, meet the director, and learn more about the program. Understanding how a day is structured, what subjects are taught on which days, and what type of coursework (i.e. project-based and/or technology integration) are but a few questions parents can ask about the program. Last, looking towards your local charter school to subsidize the program is a wonderful way to tap into resources.
Programs, like American Academy of Strategic Education, provide individualized learning. If a child learns quickly, he or she may proceed ahead. Having the opportunity for a child to learn at his or her level is one of the greatest advantages of homeschooling. Likewise, if a child does not learn quickly, having the flexibility to slow down and check for understanding without social pressure is a plus.
Unfortunately, this is not always an option in traditional schools. Furthermore, academies like American Academy provide real-world project-based learning and problem solving. The opportunity for students to apply their academic learning through collaborating with their classmates provides greater chances for deeper understanding.
Parents are seeking the long game. They may ask themselves, “What do I need to do to help my child get into a good college?” Research suggests that college students who were previously homeschooled successfully integrate socially and excel at academics. Almost every college or university has policies for homeschool admissions. In the past, homeschooled students have had to take the GED to enter into secondary education. However, this is not the case anymore. Most colleges and universities are homeschool-friendly and, in some cases, favor those who have been homeschooled. Furthermore, when parents partner with a charter school to help meet their child’s needs, the charter school will not only provide approved vendors like American Academy, but a homeschool teacher who is credentialed to collect student work samples and submit to the charter school to show evidence of learning. Students who are in a charter school would graduate from that charter school into secondary education with the assistance of approved vendors. Hence, parents are given the flexibility to meet their child’s needs in numerous ways.
As a final note, being a parent is never easy. There are days that are victorious and those when introspection is a key to growth. Having a deep connection with your child, understanding their specific needs, and being willing to learn alongside them can help parents succeed. The U.S. has a great opportunity to be an educational leader in the world. It does require a paradigm shift in viewing how education and learning takes place. Understanding that there are numerous possibilities and options for children to grow and learn is a starting point. Hence, as children prepare for a new year of learning, understanding that no two students learn the same and providing the best learning environment for children based on their needs – enhances their retention and knowledge.
By Roman B. Fernando, Executive Director
American Academy of Strategic Education – Newport Mesa
Reasons Why Parents Homeschool: https://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/homeschooling-101/reasons-parents-homeschool/