Why this Teacher Chose to Homeschool

August 25th, 2010 by Mandi

I acknowledge that all homeschool parents–all parents, really–are teachers, but few call themselves by that title.  I call myself a teacher because several years ago, I completed all of the requirements for a teaching license in secondary English education.  It may seem odd that someone who was once so involved with classroom learning would come to favor homeschooling.  Look at it in them terms of educational research, and it doesn’t seem like such a jump.  In my education classes, it was repeatedly emphasized that students benefit from the following:

  • Low student to teacher ratio. A review of educational literature presented by the U.S. Department of Education supports the notion that smaller class sizes lead to higher student achievement.  The effects are most pronounced in grades K-3 and, and become more significant as the student to teacher ratio approaches one to one.  In our home school, our smallest ratio will probably be one to four, which allows for lots of individualized attention for each of the children.
  • Individualized instruction. A popular idea in education, Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences simply suggests that different people learn things different ways.  Some kids learn by seeing, some by hearing, some by doing, etc.  With only three or four students to balance, I will have freedom to adapt lessons to each child’s learning style.  We can accelerate or decelerate our timetable without worrying about the other 27 kids in the class.
  • Authentic learning experiences. In a review of literature, Herrington and Oliver (2000) wrote: “When learning and context are separated, knowledge itself is seen by learners as the final product of education rather than a tool to be used dynamically to solve problems.”  Teacher education programs emphasize the importance of providing authentic learning experiences, and many teachers work hard to incorporate such experiences into their classrooms.  However, some real life experiences simply cannot be duplicated authentically within the classroom.  I appreciate that with homeschooling, the kids can learn within authentic environments–both inside the home and out in the community.  We can take a spontaneous field trip whenever we like without worrying about the cost and hassle of reserving a bus.

I do not argue that home education is the right choice for every family.  Some parents cannot or should not homeschool for a variety of reasons.  For my family, I believe that homeschooling is the best way that I can give my children an education that applies research-tested principles of effective teaching.  Also, it sounds like a lot of fun!

3 Responses to Why this Teacher Chose to Homeschool

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