January 20, 2014 | Marcus Varner | Leave a comment Have you considered homeschooling your child? Well, you’re not alone. Homeschooling has been growing in popularity since the turn of the century. There are nearly 2.2 million children homeschooled in the United States today. Although homeschooling, which was once seen as socially detrimental, insufficient, and old-fashioned, is getting a big boost from online education to become a more personalized and effective way to meet children’s needs. Just over 200 years ago, homeschooling was the norm. Before public school became a federal law in 1918, most learning happened in the home. Learning, however, was limited to what the parents could teach. Many children were trained at a certain skill and followed in their parents’ footsteps. A blacksmith would have children who would become blacksmith’s, bakers would teach their children to be bakers, etc. Only those who had the financial means could afford to hire a private tutor and, therefore, were able to learn a different career. Even in this situation, learning was limited to the tutor’s knowledge and any other materials at their disposal. Today, however, homeschooled children are not limited to their parents or tutor’s knowledge. With the help of online education tools, and a little supervision, children can find information on any topic. Children can pick a potential career that best suits their talents and interests and are able to study it in detail right from the comfort of their home computer. Today, access to the internet provides free or inexpensive educational classes, videos, music, and materials on limitless subjects. From elementary subjects all the way up to college courses, websites are providing access to information and presenting them in fun and entertaining ways. Public libraries, television programs, YouTube, and TeacherTube are teaching kids how to read, do math, apply science, learn history, or even how to dance or do art. Websites like Coursera or AcademicEarth.org can even provide them with college level courses. But what about the counterargument that homeschooling can hurt children’s social development? Homeschooled students used to be seen as the socially awkward kids who couldn’t get along with others. This stereotype seems to be changing. According to studies, homeschooled children tend to be more mature and confident. According to a recent homeschooling survey by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., homeschooled children are regularly involved in the community activities. Research based on adults who were homeschooled showed that they: ”Participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population Vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population Go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population Internalize the values and beliefs of their parents at a very high rate.” Maybe these advantages come from a greater ability to focus on the part of students. Without the waste of commuting and transitioning, students are able to get more done in less time. An average junior high student will spend approximately 35 to 40 hours a week involved in school work which would include commuting and transitioning. Studies suggest that homeschooling students are able to do the same amount of learning and more in almost half that time. Is this effective? On a national survey, homeschooling children have consistently scored higher on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams and are scoring 15 to 30 percent higher than public school students on standardized achievement tests. High schoolers are also earning double the amount of college credits and have a higher graduation rate. So, with all these wonderfully positive aspects of homeschooling, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, not every parent has the time or the means to provide this for their children. This is why public schooling is such a great tool for our nation. Many parents these days need both parents working to provide financial means. Also, some may not have the patience, time, or the know-how. Homeschooling is not for everyone. However, if you are considering it and have time and means to oversee your child’s success, you might want to look into your options.