Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on July 5, 1999. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Parental Role Increases With Home Schooling
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The value of parental input in education is indisputable, but some parents are taking their involvement to a new level with the growing trend in home schooling.
Jack Rutland of Brookhaven, president of the Mississippi Home Educators Association, said the number of families participating in home schooling has increased significantly in the last decade. The figures on home-schooled students are contained in each local school district, not at the state level, so the exact number enrolled in Mississippi is unknown.
"Mississippi has a very good law allowing parents to pursue home schooling as an educational option for their children. All parents have to do is complete a certificate of enrollment with the local school attendance officer," Rutland said.
"Most people choose home schooling for the positives it offers, and not negatives from the alternatives," he said.
Rutland said some of the incentives for home education include parental control over what the child learns, religious reasons, flexibility in the learning pace, one-on-one teaching advantages and involvement in the child's life.
Dr. Louise Davis, family and child development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said parental involvement in the educational process is always important to a child's success.
"Any child who has parents actively involved in his or her life will tend to cope better with academic and social pressures," Davis said. "Parents are usually much more motivated than others to make sure their children learn the skills needed to succeed in life."
Home schooling can increase the opportunities for quality time between parents and children. As teachers, parents often look for educational family trips to help their children learn.
"Home schooled students still need interaction with others their age, and local home school associations often offer field trips or family gathering opportunities," Davis said. "Parents can direct children to educational clubs like 4-H or encourage their children toward active church involvement with other people their age."
Rutland said families should carefully consider their reasons for home schooling before taking that step.
"Be sure it's what is best for the whole family," Rutland said.
Rutland said many good resources and curriculums are available for parents; some involve parents more than other curriculums.
"To the extent a parent is committed is how far a child can excel," Rutland said. "The biggest selling point of home education is the success of older children who are products of home education."