NYC families cite positive family culture as big benefit of learning from home

Parents in New York City are touting the benefits of homeschooling, particularly the more intimate experience with their children that tailors learning to their needs and strengths.

The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture’s “Culture of American Families” report finds that the benefits of a tight family culture also extend beyond academics to shape students’ moral character and perspective on the world.

Fox 5 recently featured Hell’s Kitchen mother, Sara Doldan, who opted to homeschool her 5-year-old daughter, Willow, through K12 International Academy.

“It just really caught my attention because I knew that I could really have more of an influence on her overall future with whatever she decided to do,” Doldan said.

The flexibility allowed her to emphasize Willow’s academic interests and strengths as she completes her coursework with 6-year-old neighbor, Ariana Simmons, who uses the same online school.

Ariana, an aspiring actress, explained why she loves learning from home.

“It allows me to go at my own pace,” she said, “And, as an actress, singer, and writer, it allows me to pursue my dreams.”

Ariana’s mother, Dalli, also cited the close relationship parents build with their children as a big benefit.

“You also get to see where they’re struggling,” she said. “You get to understand both from an academic way, but also from a social and emotional.”

The “Culture of American Families” project interviewed more than 100 parents of school-age children, and the results show a positive family culture can also have big benefits for children in several important ways.

Researchers concluded “that the seedbeds of virtue are found within many overlapping domains that would include school, peer relationships, places of worship, the internet, and popular culture, but the most important of all is the family and its culture.”

“Family culture acts as a filter for the larger culture, and its role in forming character ideas among the young is fundamental and irreducible to other factors,” the CAF researchers wrote. “Whether or not parents are deliberate about it, they create a moral ecology through which children come to understand and internalize the moral life of the larger world.”

Laurie Spigel, founder of Home, told Fox News many of the city’s roughly 4,600 homeschooling families chose the alternative education model because their children come home from public schools bored and disengaged.

Many also want to instill character virtues in their children that are often overlooked in traditional academic settings.

And Spigel asserts that the process of learning at home ultimately sets students up for success, in part because they stand out from the majority who attend traditional schools.

“Colleges actively seek out homeschoolers,” she said. “They know that they’ve had an experience in education that’s more diverse than the standardized package that’s delivered in most public schools. And colleges are looking for diversity.”

She contends that colleges are also looking for students with strong character.

“They’re . . . looking for self-starters, independent learners, and people who know themselves. And because homeschoolers have been given this educational freedom, they’ve had the freedom to learn what they want to learn and how they want to learn it, so they know themselves and what they want to learn much more easily than a kid who hasn’t had those choices,” she said.