Homeschooling (also referred to as home based learning), is an educational process where parents or tutors teach children at home, instead of having them formally educated in a public or provide school setting. Homeschooling was very common years ago before the implementation of mandatory school attendance legislation. Today, homeschooling is not as common as it was in the past – but it is growing in popularity.
Homeschooling is permitted in most states and jurisdictions if parents are uncomfortable enrolling their children in public schools. Many parents favor homeschooling their children since they have control of the rigor of the curriculum, can be assured their children are in a safe environment during the day, and can provide moral and religious instruction not permitted within the public school system. Many parents living in remote or rural regions, or in foreign countries, opt to homeschool their children.
The primary reasons parents give for homeschooling their children are (1) dissatisfaction with the quality of education provided in local schools and (2) a desire to be more involved in their children's education and development. Homeschooling parents are not only dissatisfied with the quality of education provided by local schools, they are concerned about bullying, school environment and schools' inability to cater to the special needs and individual aptitudes of their children.
Homeschooling is particularly popular among families that live in rural areas isolated from others, those living abroad, and for families whose job or lifestyle requires frequent travel. Student actors, athletes and musicians are also frequently homeschooled by either parents or professional tutors in order to accomodate their regular practice and training routines. While homeschooling was on the decline for many decades, it's experienced a recent upsurge in popularity. For children ages of 5 through 17 living in the United States, homeschooling increased from 1.7% in 2000 to nearly 3% in 2007 (Nces.ed.gov. 01-16-2014).
A growing number of parents are also turning to homeschooling as a form of supplemental education for their children. Supplemental education programs are often offered through correspondence schools or umbrella schools which provide a federally approved curriculum, often available in an online format. However, in states and districts where homeschooling is legal, parents will often adopt a curriculum-free approach to teaching their children which does not rely on approved curriculum or standardarized learning. This form of schooling is sometimes referred to as unschooling. Unschooling emphasizes a less structured learning environment where the interests of students and parents drive the learning style and curriculum.
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