If Home-Schooling Is Your Way, Should Social Emotional Learning Be Part of Your Child’s Education?


The increasing trend towards homeschooling, amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, has highlighted the flexibility and potential benefits of personalized educational experiences. As homeschooling becomes more prevalent, integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into homeschool curricula emerges as a critical component for developing well-rounded individuals who excel academically, emotionally, and socially. Globally the focus on mental and emotional wellbeing has grown, with research showing that skills learnt in childhood prepare a person for success later on in life.

Evidence indicates that homeschool students typically score above average on standardized tests and college admission exams, suggesting academic benefits irrespective of parental education levels or state regulations on homeschooling (Ray, 2017). The growth in homeschooling is particularly notable during the pandemic, as parents sought to ensure their children’s safety and meet their educational needs in a more controlled environment (Eggleston & Fields, 2021). This trend is not limited to certain demographic or socio-economic groups but is seen across various communities, indicating a broad appeal and acceptance of homeschooling as a viable educational option (Garth Smith & Campbell, 2023).

Incorporating SEL into homeschooling can significantly enhance students’ abilities to manage emotions, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. These skills are crucial for personal and academic success. Research supports that homeschooled students often perform well in social, emotional, and psychological development, engaging frequently in community and extracurricular activities, which further promote these competencies (Ray, 2017). With a large push from organisational bodies to incorporate wellbeing and SEL into schools, should homeschooling parents also be seeking out solutions for their home learners? By incorporating SEL into home learning students will be better prepared to navigate more complex social settings in the future.

To support the continued success and development of homeschooled students, it is recommended that parents and educators incorporate structured and intentional SEL lessons into the curriculum. This integration can be seamlessly achieved through educational activities that align with individual learning paths, enhancing both academic and personal growth. Focusing on developing human qualities such as emotional competency, regulation skills and resilience is a gift that will allow children to have empathy and the potential to have deep and meaningful connections with others through their life.

Benefits of homeschooling backed by data in many areas of the world is becoming evident. The awareness of the importance in teaching SEL skills to children is becoming more broadly acknowledged by parents and educators. With a greater appreciation for developing tools to create mental and emotional health, it is simply a matter of time before teaching intentional, structured SEL is potentially accepted as standard practice for homeschoolers globally.

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Eggleston, C., & Fields, J. (2021). *Homeschooling on the rise during COVID-19 pandemic*. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/03/homeschooling-on-the-rise-during-covid-19-pandemic.html

Garth Smith, A., & Campbell, J. (2023). *Homeschooling is on the rise, even as the pandemic recedes*. Reason Foundation. Retrieved from https://reason.org/education-newsletter/homeschooling-is-on-the-rise-even-as-the-pandemic-recedes/

National Home Education Research Institute. (n.d.). *Research facts on homeschooling*. Retrieved from https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/

Ray, B. D. (2017). *A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of homeschooling as a school choice*. Journal of School Choice, 11(4), 604-621. DOI: 10.1080/15582159.2017.1395638

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