Top 10 Trends in Homeschooling

Top 10 Trends in Homeschooling
Top 10 Trends in Homeschooling
A few decades ago the public perception of homeschooling families was probably one of conservative Christians or isolationists who shunned any form of government intervention in their lives. While it may certainly be true that there are homeschool families who fit these descriptions, it is also true that many other types of families are choosing to homeschool their children. Some families choose homeschooling because of the individualized education they can provide while others enjoy the freedom to teach their own beliefs in a setting they create. To find out more about what homeschooling looks like today and get a glimpse into what the future may hold, take a look at these current trends in homeschooling, that range from colleges shifting to a more welcoming environment for homeschooled students getting into online colleges (as well as traditional colleges) to dads becoming the primary homeschooling parent.
Colleges becoming homeschool-friendly. More and more colleges and universities are becoming homeschool-friendly with everything from making online applications usable by homeschoolers to loosening requirements for accredited transcripts. The HSLDA once kept a list of homeschool-friendly colleges on their website, but has now removed the list as most colleges have improved their admissions policy to include homeschoolers.
New laws. In an effort to ensure all children are receiving an education, many states have enacted new laws requiring a variety of checks that vary by state. While some states require the homeschool parent to have specific credentials such as holding a college degree, many don’t. Many states, however, do require methods of validating the learning gained by homeschooled children. Another important factor to consider when examining these state laws is what may be required by colleges. If your homeschooled students plan to go to college, ensure they are getting the basics required by the college, not just the state laws.
Online resources. With so many online resources and online education opportunities available, homeschool families are finding a whole new world of resources at their fingertips–literally. As computers have also become more affordable, the ability for more families to have access to online resources continues to grow.
Homeschool consultants. Some homeschool parents are beginning to use educational consultants who come out to the family home and work with parents to set up the curriculum. They will check in with the students and can monitor and test the progress. Some of these consultants also offer a central office where families can meet for a combination check-in with the parents and an organized playdate for the students.
Special needs students. Many parents of special needs children are opting for homeschooling, especially those with children on the autism spectrum disorder. Homeschooling provides parents and their children an opportunity for an educational experience that meets the needs of the children rather than trying to force the children to fit into a community that does not typically lend itself to easily accepting the circumstances encountered with special needs. Homeschooling special needs students ensures the children are being cared for by someone who truly has their interest at heart and provides an opportunity for a schedule that fits with the needs of the family.
Homeschooling becoming part of a learning economy. Some educators and researchers envision a trend of moving away from competing educational elements (public school, private school, home school, etc.) and a move toward a more global "learning economy" that works like other aspects of the American economy. In this learning economy, all educators can share resources (many of which are open source or online) and work cooperatively for a more tailored, creative, and beneficial education for all students, no matter the vehicle of their education. If this idea comes to fruition, homeschooling will likely move out of the shadows and into a more mainstream form of education.
Unschooling. Many homeschool families have begun to embrace the idea of unschooling in their home education. Unschooling usually relies on real-life experiences in place of a formal curriculum. While most homeschool families will not completely abandon their formal curricula, many are beginning to learn to find a balance between beneficial unschooling experiences for some subjects and formal curricula for other subjects. Some parents find that they can rely on a formal curriculum for the subject or subjects they don’t understand as well and will be able to tap into their own knowledge and approach to teaching those subjects they know better.
Move from private schools. As a result of tougher economic times, many families have decided to forgo the expensive private education they were providing their children and choose homeschooling instead. Many families chose private schools for a more tailored education that also removed some of the negative aspects sometimes found in public schools. When many of these families hit hard times, they re-evaluated their educational choices. Some families have decided to homeschool all their children while others look at the needs of the individual child and have eliminated private school and turned to homeschooling for only part of their family.
Homeschooling Dads. While moms have traditionally been the parent in charge of homeschooling the children, a trend of dads staying home to see to the family’s education is taking hold. In families that don’t hold to typical gender roles, many women find themselves in the position of breadwinner for the family, and many families see Dad as capable educators. Even in families where Mom is the primary homeschool educator, many dads are participating in new ways, such as teaching a particular subject in the evening that may be his specialty.
Working parents. Another shift in the typical homeschooling demographics lies among the parents working outside the home. Traditionally, the homeschooling parent has not worked outside the home, or did so on a very part-time basis. More and more parents are starting to find a way to both work outside the home and homeschool their children. Flexible schedules, a supportive network, and embracing every teachable moment are often integral elements of making a career outside the home work with homeschooling.

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