Although the majority of U.S. students are heading back to school, there is a growing number who are instead preparing to study from home. According to Parenting.com, the rate of American children who are homeschooled has increased by 75% since 1999. An estimated 4% of U.S. households are now educating their children outside of a traditional educational environment. This equates to approximately 2.4 million students being homeschooled each year in the U.S., and the number of parents debating between homeschool or public school is likely to grow even further in the coming years.
While there are a number of social factors that may have influenced the rising popularity of homeschooling, it is the evolution of technology that has had the single biggest impact. Not only has this broadened the range of resources available to parents who wish to teach their child independently, but it has also made the process far more affordable. The advent of social media has been especially prominent. Just like social media can help home-based businesses, it is also helping the process of homeschooling by allowing teachers to share their ideas and the learning materials.
Parents can use these innovative ideas for inspiration when homeschooling and create lesson plans without having to spend significant sums of money. Pinterest is a particularly fruitful source of ideas. If you are able to invest some capital into procuring affordable learning materials and specific teacher projects, then you can also access e-commerce outlet Teachers Pay Teachers and tap into a comprehensive range of workable and relevant curriculum ideas.
Culture of Thrift
One of the main reasons parents consider homeschooling their children is cost. Sourcing free or affordable teaching resources online will save you money. It may also be necessary to purchase a number of text books to support your child's learning. These products are renowned for being fairly expensive, and even a few basic pieces of literature can cost a significant sum of cash. However, you can save simply by embracing the thrift culture that is sweeping the U.S. You can purchase used materials that have retained their educational relevance.
According to the Association of Resale Professionals, there has been a 5% increase in new thrift stores being opened nationwide, while 20% of U.S. consumers now admit to purchasing used items as part of a preferred buying philosophy. This is allowing homeschoolers to buy cost-effective text books, as long as they are relatively up to date and contain information that can educate students effectively. For subjects that are evolutionary and likely to change in nature every single year, you may wish to consider renting new text books online from students or fellow homeschool teachers.
Local Homeschool Groups
With homeschooling becoming such a widespread and popular method of teaching, there is more support for parents who want to know how to start homeschooling kids. Just like there are ways around expensive textbooks, there are ways around expensive homeschooling support, too. A large number of U.S. cities now have home school social groups and online forums where members can meet and interact regularly. Parents can share resources, knowledge and experiences with others. This also opens up the possibility of sharing the cost of homeschooling with like minded individuals by collaborating in activities such as science experiments and local field trips.
Another way in which homeschool parents can save money is by accessing professional teacher discounts. Thanks to efforts by the Parents Educating at Home organization, homeschool parents are able to obtain discount cards and promotional offers without boasting a recognized teacher qualification or accreditation. This can significantly reduce the cost of purchasing items such as necessary teaching tools and event tickets.
The Bottom Line
Thanks to developments in technology and resources, teaching children at home is no longer the financially challenging exercise that it once was. With statistics suggesting that homeschooled children scored considerably higher than publicly educated students on standardized achievement tests in 2009, it is also looking like an increasingly wise investment in your child's long-term future.