By Mikaila Kukurudza

Let’s be honest: The thought of homeschooling your teen may seem daunting (or, say, terrifying), but should you choose to forge ahead, you wouldn’t be alone: In recent years the number of students making the switch from public school to homeschool has increased by eight per cent annually, and of the two million kids taught from home in North America, approximately 85,000 of them are Canadian.

Why the change? Beyond mounting parental concerns around teen bullying, violence and peer pressure, homeschooling has distinct advantages, says Marc Lapointe, author of Standing in the Education Gap: A Commonsense Approach to Helping Your Child Succeed in School and founder of education consulting firm, Acumen Education. Here are his top three:

Custom Academics: Homeschooling allows for a personalized curriculum and timeline for your teen, meaning you can embrace their learning style and interests while still meeting curriculum expectations. Out-of-classroom learning can include field trips, internships and hands-on experiences that are beneficial to their chosen post-secondary field, and teaching from home also provides fewer distractions and less wasted time on travel, breaks between classes and extended socialization with peers. What’s more, it’s also a great option for parents with kids who struggle with learning disabilities, as it helps ensure they receive the education needed at a pace that works for them.

Positive Socialization: One of the most embraced concepts surrounding homeschooling is the belief that positive characteristics – think respect, conflict resolution, acceptance and dedication – are best modelled by adults, and that parents are able to positively influence their children and inspire their teen’s maturity in the teaching process. Coupled with decreased peer pressure, exposure to drugs, underage drinking and general negative influences, and an increased focus on providing “normal” high school experiences such as prom and semi-formal dances (not to mention more time to create stronger family bonds), it’s little wonder that the practice is viewed by many to be beneficial in myriad ways.

Extracurriculars: When you factor in the time homeschooling saves, opportunities for social and extracurricular activities abound. This could be the reason many young, elite athletes and artists opt to forgo traditional education systems, which often interfere with intense training schedules.

Read more of Lapointe’s book, Standing in the Education Gap: A Commonsense Approach to Helping Your Child Succeed in School, here.