In recent years, more and more people are choosing to homeschool their children. The decision to keep children at home for their education can have several strong benefits for the family, but one of the biggest questions people wonder about is: are homeschooled students happier? In this article, we’ll delve into what research says when it comes to the happiness of homeschooled students, and look at all the factors that contribute to that equation—from the freedom and one-on-one attention they get, to social anxieties and lack of support.
What Makes Homeschooled Students Unique?
Homeschooled students tend to receive a lot of individualized and personalized attention to their education, because they’re not just part of a large classroom. Parents are able to create a very individualized curriculum to their child’s liking, and can tailor instruction and studies to what the child enjoys and is interested in. Homeschooled students also don’t have the same type of pressure to conform to other students or the environment of a traditional classroom, because they’re free from the social norms of their peers.
This can empower homeschooled students in a variety of ways, and can lead to higher levels of academic performance and greater overall happiness.
The Benefits of Homeschooling
The benefits of homeschooling are far-reaching. Parents are the primary instructors and curriculum planners for their children, can decide when and at what pace material is taught, and can provide a tailored education that reflects the values and goals of the family.
Additionally, homeschooled students often have a more relaxed learning experience than their counterparts in public or private school. Generally, it’s more casual and allows more exploration and individual progress. Homeschooled students also have more flexibility in their schedule, and are free from the rigorous course load and expectations found in most traditional classrooms.
The Challenges of Homeschooling
Of course, homeschooling does have its challenges. For one, parents and other caretakers need to be consistently available to their children and be knowledgeable enough to design and deliver meaningful educational material.
Social and emotional development might be affected, as homeschooled students, while enjoying more freedom and personalized attention, may not interact with as many people as their peers in the public schools. The lack of teamwork, collaboration and cooperation may create the feeling of isolation, or lower their self-esteem, in some cases.
How Do Homeschooled Students Fare in College?
Homeschooled students transitioning to college often find the transition a bit more difficult than their counterparts. It can be difficult for these students to adjust to the non-structured environment of a college as well as having to quickly adjust to a completely different type of lifestyle.
Additionally, many colleges are less willing to accept applications from homeschooled students, because college admittance boards may have difficulty assessing the individual’s potential and academic achievement in relation to other students.
Do Homeschooled Students Experience Socialization Anxiety?
A common fear of parents sending their children to be homeschooled is that their students won’t have the opportunity to learn important social skills. But, some studies suggest that homeschooled students actually fare just as well in terms of social skills as their peers who attend traditional schools. Homeschooled students tend to experience less pressure to conform to specific societal norms and expectations, which can lead to feelings of social anxiety.
That’s not to say that homeschooled students never feel isolated—rather, the lack of social pressure can lead to more confident and secure relationships with family and peers.
What Are the Support Systems Like for Homeschooled Students?
When it comes to staying happy and engaged in education, support systems can be incredibly helpful for students. Homeschooled students typically have more intimate and personal relationships with their instructors, which can make learning more comfortable and enjoyable. Additionally, homeschooled students often have access to more resources.
Instructors have more control over the curriculum, and parents can easily reach out to individuals who can provide additional educational support and resources. These systems help keep students engaged and motivated, and overall, create a far more stimulating and enjoyable learning experience.
Do Cultural Activities Contribute to a Homeschooled Student’s Happiness?
Cultural activities can be extremely meaningful and stimulating experiences for homeschooled students. Some homeschooling parents will make sure their student has regular opportunities to engage in activities that provide exposure to music, art, theatre and other cultural activities.
These activities can stimulate the student’s intellectual interests, provide interesting conversations and connections, and lead to feelings of accomplishment. Additionally, engaging in cultural activities can be a great way to learn social skills and build positive relationships with peers and adults alike.
Are Homeschooled Students Happier?
The answer to this question really depends on the individual experience of each family. There are certainly advantages and drawbacks to homeschooling, and each have an effect on whether or not a student is truly happier.
Ultimately, the strongest predictor of happiness for homeschooled students is a supportive and engaged family and instructor. Additionally, a safe and acceptive environment in which the students are free to explore different interests and activities can be key in creating a more enjoyable and stimulating educational experience—which leads to greater happiness.
Though there is no definitive answer to whether or not homeschooled students are happier, the fact is that many of them do experience more personal freedom and individualized attention. They can explore their interests and gain a more relaxed education experience, without the social pressures and course loads found in traditional schooling. When combined with a supportive home life, homeschooled students can achieve great educational success and enhance their overall happiness and well-being.