With the popularity of homeschooling growing yearly, you may be considering this educational option for yourself. The reasons that people homeschool are as unique as the people making the decisions, but some of the common things that drive families to the decision include:
- A child’s educational needs not being met within their current school
- A desire to instill a specific worldview
- To provide the flexibility for a child to pursue his/her passion
- Concerns over school safety
This can be a difficult decision to make, and it can be helpful to find out the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling. Knowing what to expect as a first-time homeschooler can make a big difference, so, we have developed a homeschooling pros and cons list to aid you in your decision.
Pros of Homeschooling
Flexibility: This is one of the main reasons why parents choose to homeschool. Since parents have a choice of curriculum, there is complete freedom in how to teach and what to teach. If your child has a particular interest, you can spend time developing it. Some parents may have a particular value system they want to incorporate, and others may have a child with special needs who needs a customized approach. One day you could be writing letters with sidewalk chalk, then visiting your local science museum the next. The benefit of homeschooling is that the possibilities are endless!
Free time: Similar to flexibility, parents and children who homeschool have no need to follow the strict routine that traditional schools set. There is now the opportunity to take vacations in the off-season, or even change the months that are spent schooling. Appointments don’t require special notice to a school, and children can learn at a time of day that works best for them.
Effective learning: Without a classroom of 20-30 children, there aren’t a million different distractions. You and your child have the complete ability to move through material quickly or slow down if you need to. The overall quality of education increases when a child learns in a one-to-one environment, especially when learning style is taken into consideration. There’s also far less busywork that holds children back or takes up excess time.
Relationship-building: Homeschooling means being present for practically every milestone your child will experience. There is no missing out on pivotal moments in your student’s childhood because you are spending it together. Beyond that, the bond that develops between a parent and child during the schooling process is one of the strongest.
College readiness and success: A common misconception about homeschooling is that students are unable to get into college. However, Ivy League universities are actually recruiting homeschool students because of their higher success rates in college. During the application process, being homeschooled helps a student stand out.
Independence and maturity: When students are homeschooled, their success is in their hands. Parents can give their children assignments to complete on their own time, requiring responsibility. Homeschoolers are accountable because they are in control of their own education. Additionally, older homeschoolers have the opportunity to start working and earning money while still in school.
Socialization: Another misconception about homeschooling is that there aren’t many opportunities for socialization. With homeschool support groups, state homeschool associations, field trips, and sports programs, there are plenty of opportunities for homeschoolers to interact with peers. Additionally, problems like bullying are less of an issue if you choose to homeschool.
Cons of Homeschooling
Anxiety: When a parent first entertains the idea of homeschooling, their first instinct is to ask, “Can I even do this?” Certainly, taking your child’s education into your own hands can feel overwhelming. And, in the beginning, you’ll wonder if you are doing enough, doing it right, or even doing your child a disservice. This concern is perfectly normal, and actually indicates something really positive: that you want the best possible education for your child!
Adjustment period: For parents who are thinking about transitioning their child from traditional school to homeschool, the process can seem stressful. Figuring out your curriculum choices, schedules, and activities can be a lot when you’re first starting out. Additionally, the longer your child has spent in traditional schooling, the harder it might be to begin homeschooling. It will take some time to move from a rigid classroom mindset to the realization that you have the freedom to create your own customized learning environment.
Lifestyle change: Many families who homeschool have to make difficult financial decisions. It can mean moving from two incomes to one or exploring options for working from home. While this may pose a financial challenge, it can also be a large lifestyle change to get used to.
Cost: This could potentially be a disadvantage of homeschooling, but might also be an advantage. In comparison to a public school, it can cost more to homeschool your child, depending on your curriculum choice. Yet, there are also plenty of free resources, such as unit study supplements or even trips to the library. The cost of a homeschooling experience varies from family to family.
When more and more parents are exploring the wide world of homeschooling, it’s wise to look at the many advantages and disadvantages of this type of education.
Do some soul searching and have a serious discussion with your partner about whether this could be the right choice for your child’s and family’s needs. And don’t forget to find out how your kids feel about the subject! With everyone’s thoughts and feelings on the table, you can determine if homeschooling is best for you and your family.