Somewhere right about the time parents have passed through the rough waters of the terrible twos comes one of the most important and, for some parents, difficult parenting decisions — what to do about education.
Today's classroom options tend to boil down to public, private or homeschooling. While more families have been choosing homeschooling, it still tends to be an educational method that is relegated to the shadows when parents are making their decision.
Why don't parents consider homeschool as readily as, say, private school as an alternative to public? Many parents are operating under some lingering, common misconceptions about homeschooling that tend to weigh on which options they consider viable for their children's education.
For families with two working parents it is just not a feasible option. But for families who do have the ability to homeschool, they often are concerned about how well-rounded their child's education would be since everyone has limitations in terms of talents and knowledge. Many parents worry that they wouldn't be able to perhaps provide the art education or math skills their children need to reach the next level. Another major concern if that children who are homeschooled miss out on the social experiences other students have, such as prom and extra-curricular activities.
A number of resources in St. Louis offer resources that counteract some of these concerns. Groups such as SHARE, The Pillar Foundation, and Dayspring Center for Arts Education, and others offer parents and their home-taught students opportunities for curriculum and activity enhancement, as well as additional social opportunities for students.
While a few of the groups are strongly faith-based, there are many options for parents to choose from so they can find a good fit for their children. The result is a sort of hyrbid between a traditional classroom and the traditional definition of homeschoolling.
Many homeschool advocates and educators will tell you that homeschooled students achieve just as much as their peers who attend traditional and private schools. They say homeschooling can be better for children who may be higher-achieving or have an artistic gift because parents can spend more time developing these skills.
With the increasing numbers — from 1999 until 2009 the number of students who were homeschooled increased a whopping 73 percent — the resources available to parents continue to grow. And while religious reasons were once the largest motivating factor in choosing homeschooling, the reasons families are bucking the traditional classroom also continue to grow and change.
If you would like to learn more about homeschooling in Missouri, check out HomeschoolinginMissouri.com or Eclectic Homeschool Online. If you would like to know more about homeschooling in Illinois the Illinois State Board of Education has a page about homeschooling on their website to get you started, and you can visit HomeschoolinginIllinois.com.
By Melody Meiners, education blogger for SmartParenting