An article in USA Today reported that home schooling has been on a steady rise for the last five years and that the reasons for home schooling have shifted. There are now 1.5 million children being home schooled, which is up 74% since they first started keeping track of numbers in 1999.
Current statistics indicate that the number of alternative educational/school choices, not including religious based schools or military schools, are somewhere around 12,000. That is the largest number of choices ever, that exist outside the traditional public school system and a number that keeps growing.
So now comes the question, what is the best for my child, ADD/HD or not?
Obviously, the selection of public verses private has many things to consider, including such practical aspects such as cost, location, and does it represent any basic ideology that you would not want your children exposed to?
A desire for religious or moral instruction, formerly number one, is still the second most given reason for parents to chose to home school. The first was for reasons of safety, peer pressure and exposure to drugs. Third was the dissatisfaction with academic instruction and fourth was interest in non-traditional approaches.
So what are your reasons for not wanting your child in public school?
Determining what is your goal, as a parent, is an easy way to eliminate whole groupings of alternative educational choices. Now you might want to avoid automatically eliminating religiously based schools because they are simply not your religion. Find out whether they are more passive about “recruitment” of your child, as many Catholic private schools are, or are very active, even aggressive, in the “recruitment” of your children, as many more fundamentally based religious schools are.
One parent that I worked with chose such a school because of quality of education but did not fully understand the aggressiveness of the school in converting her child to the school’s belief system. At least not until her child started coming home everyday, in tears, begging her to convert because she was going to hell if she didn’t. Upon further questioning her daughter, it was clear that the school had made the child responsible for the task of converting the mother. The child was nine. The mother moved the child the following week.
Next, we want to look at your child. For any of you who have read my books or articles will recognize, I am adamant about understanding the child, from multiple perspectives, not just do they have ADD/HD or not. Because ADD/HD plays out differently based on things such as learning style, processing style and communication style, you want to find the school that either actively teaches in all styles or specializes in the styles that you child learns and travels the world in.
I would also consider things such as your child’s emotional age and if they have already found their passion(s) in life. Personality and gender can also play a role. If your child is brilliant in computer programming and development and could probably be the next Bill Gates, why not enroll them in a school program that specializes in dealing with technically gifted children, as long as all the other bases are covered as well.
I personally always gravitate to schools that interweave critical thinking skill development and help develop the sense of personal responsibility.
Other factors to consider are:
- Does my child need structure or can they be self-structuring?
- Do they function well independently?
- Do they deal with change well?
- Do they seem to do better with either male or female teachers?
- What is their social skill level with their peers, and if it is not good, how does this school deal with those kinds of issues?
- What kind of participation is required of the parent? (Can you or are you willing to meet these requirements?)
Home-schooling, some last pro’s and cons.
There are a great deal of educational support programs for home schooling these days and more coming on line all the time. They vary in participation level needed by the parent. Just like shopping for a school, if you do home schooling, look for an education support program that will best work with your child. Home schooling can allow your child to learn at his or her own pace and can be creatively modified later on.
Does the parent that is overseeing the educating have a flexible teaching style when they do need to take up that role?
Will your child get enough social interactions and are you prepared to do what it takes to make this happen?
Will there be any resentment on the overseeing parent’s part of the time, energy, and effort involved in doing this?
Does the primary overseeing parent currently communicate with the child well and been successful in helping them with learning new things, developing new skill sets, and their homework to date?
How will you ensure that your child is exposed to the diversity that the world has to offer, other opinions and views of the world and develops the skill sets to manage well in the world that they are going to be exposed to when home schooling ends?
I have always been a supporter of home schooling, as a viable option. If you live in a big enough area, you are even likely to find local home schooling groups that do things together. You can also still have your child attend a class here or there that they need in order to fill out their learning.
My concerns have always been in the area of social skills, not creating an unhealthy attachment or dependency on the parents, and that home schooling can be very insular in a way that limits the child in dealing with the ever-growing diversity of the world.
So do this homework I have given you and then you will be ready to do the homework involved in choosing the best educational format for your child, ADD/HD or not.
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Photo by jimmiehomeschoolmom