Of all the homeschool strengths, the structure of parents training their children is number one. It is our responsibility to train them, not someone else, especially someone we do not know very well. The non-biblical proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is only successful if the village’s morality, worldview, and social health are in good condition.
There are a number of other homeschool strengths such as homeschool efficiency, improved family quality of life, financial efficiency, improved safety, and the joy of seeing them trained the way we believe best.
Homeschool efficiency is one of many homeschool strengths that will make sense to anyone that will take the time to compare. In many campus-based schools, time is used at the beginning of the day for announcements, attendance, lunch count, communication envelope management, and other tasks. This often takes 15 minutes. Another 5 minute transition break is used between subjects, sometimes to go to another classroom. For all subjects, that totals about 30 minutes per day. There is usually one longer recess/break per day, which adds another 10 minutes to the class transition break time. Lunch is as long as 50 minutes for many schools. For homeschoolers, as soon as they are done with a subject, they begin the next one immediately. In a campus-based structure, time is lost at the beginning (settling in) and end (getting ready to dismiss) of each class. Sometimes time is lost when a student might just sit at the end of a class, because he is done with the day’s lesson early. These classroom issues can add up to around 55 minutes total each day. If we count a 15 minute each-way travel time (usually more) for the student, there’s another 30 minutes minimum. Not counting older students that often have a study period of approximately 50 minutes, that comes to 185 minutes per day of non-academic work.
A California school example has school from 8:45am-3:15pm on full days, which comes to 420 minutes including the minimum 15 minute travel times.
So 420 minutes minus the 185 minutes comes to 235 minutes or 3.9 hours of actual education time. With a quick bathroom break, snack, and occasional stretch, a homeschooler can do the same work from 8am-noon.
Campus-based students might have additional homework time to consider, but adding that to homeschooling time would not change the drastic difference. Often homeschoolers do not have “homework”, because they do not have class time limitations. They work on a subject until done. Okay, sure younger students may need more break time, but still it is obvious that homeschooling time is drastically more efficient.
Higher Quality Family Life
One of the most important homeschool strengths that impacts family quality is the child is being trained with the values the family holds. This prevents future conflicts and frustrations.
Normally one parent is required to stay at home to supervise homeschooling. By just having one parent at home, the quality of family life increases greatly. A large amount of money is saved, which helps justify having a single income family. Many things are done around the home during the day that would normally be done after a day of work. Multiple stressors are removed and efficiency in several areas are increased. See the Time and Stress sections on Practical Homeschooling.
Most of us have noticed our society and culture seem to have greater problems today. Although it is due to many factors, one area stands out. Both parents are not at home most of the time. Many believe the statistical loss of a stay at home parent is significantly impacting our culture. Some believe a large percentage of families are sacrificing the family structure to attain non-essentials. Worse yet, what were considered non-essentials not long ago are now considered essentials to young families.
In 1900, 15% of women worked outside of the home. Today, it is 75% and growing. Also due to the increase in daycares and preschools, we can see parents are giving up a substantial amount of caregiver time for their early adolescence children. For busy parents, it also means older children are not supervised as much after school and during school holidays. Both parents working have also impacted the traditional family dinner table. Statistics show teens that frequently have dinner with their families are at a lower risk for substance abuse. Additional Reasons
For many parents, these savings can offset a large part of homeschool program costs.
- it saves transportation costs such as gasoline, maintenance, and vehicle depreciation due to multiple daily school runs
- it saves money from more expensive and sometimes not as healthy school lunches
- it saves on clothing costs
- it saves because there are usually no fundraising requirements
- it saves because the multiple incidental costs a campus-based structure has are not required
For example: It would cost over $1000 in gas and vehicle expenses per year if figuring $3 for each trip to drive a student to and from school each day for a 170 day school year. Saving only $1 per student lunch by having lunch at home would save $170 per year, plus would allow parents to better monitor eating habits.
In regard to family income, a stay at home parent can reduce a number of expenses that would occur if both parents were working. For example, a higher tax bracket, more vehicle expenses and gas for the 2nd vehicle, lunches at work, work clothes, more expensive and less healthy eating at home due to less time, childcare when there is no school such as summer time and holidays, on and on. You might want to do the math on your situation to see actually what difference there is between one staying at home and both working. You might be surprised! Also, there are many home-based incomes available. It might not take much to make up the difference if you have one.
A person only needs to follow the news to be concerned with school safety.
The National Center for Juvenile Justice clearly shows an increase in juvenile court caseloads from where we were in 1960. A CDC.gov 2010 survey stated that almost 1/3 of high school students were in a physical fight in the previous 12 months with 1/3 of the fights on school property. There were 17.5% that claimed to have carried a weapon in the previous 30 days with 5.6% carrying on school property. Approximately 6% claimed to have carried a gun in the previous 30 days. There were 7.7% that reported being threatened by a weapon on school property in the last 12 months. The FBI’s UCR database shows that 41% of all arrests are people 24 years old and under. Statistics for youth across all areas are going the wrong way. Youth crime is increasing and adult crime is decreasing. See Homeschooling – Can it save your child?
An average campus-based student will make over 350 trips per year just to go to and from school. The additional traveling for family members increases the risk of accidents, whether in a vehicle or as a pedestrian.
Then there is mental safety! Both bullying and traditional campus-based structure can impact your child for life! The development of negative self-perception is very common in a school. See the Modern Education section on our home page.
Homeschool Strengths Are Enormous!
When you add up the homeschool strengths, it is easy to see why many parents homeschool. One of the biggest blessings is the joy of seeing them trained the way we as parents believe best.