What is the Right Age to Start Homeschooling a Child?

When Should Homeschooling Start?
Someone asked me this question on a forum once and I assure you I gave them the best answer I could find. Of course my response was obviously biased and extravagantly tainted with my love of early intervention!

I was not ashamed of my answer then and definitely continue to stand by it now.  So, how do you answer this question? There is a realistic, politically correct response that says the right time to start homeschooling a child is when the opportunity arises (financially and otherwise) and when the parent has the time.  Then there is another answer.  I tend to lean toward the other answer.

Back in the 1960’s (not that I was around then Lol! —but I wasn’t!) Captain Kangaroo, a mastermind of children’s television, said that children learn more in the first six years of life than at any other time.  I faithfully trust and believe in this statement. To begin homeschooling during this important period in a child’s development is to maximize that wonderful window of learning opportunity thrown open, big and wide.  It is at this time when profound advances in problem solving, language acquisition and reasoning occur.

Everything is new to the child during these early stages. Their Fascination with the simple is beyond inspirational as their little sponges of a brain soaks in knowledge with all the innocence and honesty of pure inquiry.  This is their time and their best opportunity to learn. In my opinion, to start homeschooling later than this feels like it may unfortunately involve some “unlearning” of academic habits geared toward the tiresome, generic teaching to the masses (institutionalized schooling) that may not be very useful to the child in the grand scheme of things.  Reversing the habit of keeping “busy” while conforming to a face-less “one size-fits-all” education seems useless and unproductive if you ask me.

One Statistic

Research shows that the benefits of early childhood education goes well beyond educational attainment.  For example, it shows that it can boost the child’s earnings later in life.    Long-term analysis suggest that early childhood education can increase earnings in adulthood by 1.3 to 3.5 percent (The Economics of Early Childhood Investments).   Other evidence-supporting statistics exist in areas of social and emotional attainments, health, criminal behavior, and the list goes on. 
You Decide
There is a right time to start homeschooling a child.  Parents may be baffled, authorities may allude to it, but in the end the child’s brain is the most trusting expert to consult.  It’s all so intuitive really! So, while I continue to stand here on my soapbox spewing out advice on homeschooling, the decision remains on the table.  At what age will you start homeschooling your children? You decide...
Trudy Prout is a writer, homeschooling mom, developer of an online middle school science course (Science for Critical Thinkers) and a high school science teacher. She lives in New York City with her 13-year-old son, Sean.  Please visit www.scienceandlearning.org  for more information.