Judi Meyer said she wishes she began homeschooling her children years before she did, as she values the time and educational opportunities she is able to share with her children.
Homeschooling continues to be a growing trend, both locally and across the country.
What are the pros and cons of homeschooling?
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Judi Meyer said she has only seen positive effects from homeschooling her children. Pictured with Meyer, from left, are her children Elijah, Chaz, Zane and Faith.
Meyer's two eldest - now college-age children - were in first and second grades when she made the decision to move them from the traditional classroom to a home learning environment. The three main reasons behind her choice: an opportunity to strengthen family bonds; learning in a faith-based environment; and the luxury to learn at their own pace.
Meyer said the close ties her family has would have been hard to attain had they been separated during the school day.
She had given birth to twins just before she started homeschooling her two oldest children and said the connection between the siblings would have been hindered had the two oldest not been homeschooled.
Q: What are the pros and cons of homeschooling?
A: Students who are homeschooled often thrive in their environment, and they build strong family ties. Opponents of homeschooling often point to the loss of social skills, but many homeschool parents join networks of other homeschoolers to ensure their children learn appropriate social behavior.
The most important part of every instruction day is the "character training" her children receive in a Christian environment, Meyer said.
Also, if a child is advanced, Meyer believes they can quickly become bored in school; if they learn at a slower pace, they are left behind their peers and lack a strong educational foundation.
She said she wanted her children to work toward mastery in their education, whether quickly or slowly.
Those unfamiliar with homeschooling say pulling a child from the classroom can have negative effects on his or her socialization skills, a critique that Meyer said she and other homeschoolers find "comical."
Meyer and fellow homeschool mother Sharon Paul created the Ohio Valley Christian Home Educators more than 20 years ago. The group connects home educating families in the Ohio Valley and has grown to include more than 90 families.
The group gathers for educational instruction outside of the home such as science labs, as well as gym classes and recreational events including field trips. Because of such gatherings and social outings, Meyer believes her children receive a great deal of socialization with students of many different age groups.
When Meyer read that homeschooled children tend to struggle the most with note taking, she instructed her children to take notes from sermons and CDs. She then had them draft papers using those notes for reference.
Meyer's oldest son is preparing to graduate from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, while her second oldest will soon enter art school. She said both completed their high school education early, and her oldest son has excelled socially and academically in the college environment. She continues to educate her two 14-year-olds, as well as her 12- and 8-year-old.
Paul's children are 24- and 23-years-old and have both graduated college, the youngest earning magna cum laude honors.