Here’s why increasing numbers of parents are choosing this flexible, affordable alternative.

By Jamie Gaddy
Jamie GaddyAn estimated 2.3 million children are homeschooled in the U.S. right now and the number continues to rise. Many parents consider homeschooling, but they fear that their children will be isolated or worry that they themselves will not be adequate as teachers. Yet they know that the schools available to their children are not giving them a positive experience. If this sounds familiar and you’re considering homeschooling, here are some things you should know.

First, many homeschool parents rely on online programs to do much of the teaching. At Time4Learning, an award-winning online homeschooling curriculum, we’ve served more than 500,000 families and I can tell you that the infrastructure of homeschooling resources has evolved into formats that provide parents a comprehensive set of support services.

Second, there is a big fallacy among people who are unfamiliar with homeschooling that homeschool children miss out on socialization. In almost every town and city, there are a variety of homeschool groups organizing shared academic programs, field trips, social activities and sports programs.

Thirdly, there are still a number of myths about homeschooling even as it grows in popularity. As you discuss the idea of homeschooling with friends and family, be ready to address these common misconceptions.

1. A homeschool should mirror a traditional school environment. A typical school structure designed to help teachers educate 20 students simultaneously, doesn’t usually work well at home. Homeschooler students may only spend between two and four hours a day on their curriculum. Likewise, homeschool students can learn anywhere, any time.
2. Homeschooling is expensive. A common mistake new homeschoolers make is spending thousands of dollars on curricula or materials that may not be a good fit for the family or even necessary. Start slowly by trialing, borrowing or renting different curricula and tools to determine what works best.
3. Virtual schools and homeschooling are the same. While they do share the online component, there are distinct differences. Most virtual or private online schools follow a set curriculum and require strict attendance, mandated deadlines and have a set pace. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, set their own agendas, curriculum, and pace.

Download a free guide to homeschooling written with input from experienced homeschooling parents on what they wish they had known prior to homeschooling.

Jamie Gaddy, is a Homeschool Mom of 6. She is a member of and a South Georgia educator with over 20 years of experience in both elementary education and college level teacher training.