Studies show that 1.77 million students were homeschooled in 2012, and the number of homeschooled children is increasing each year. Homeschooling is one of the fastest growing trends in education. Before, most homeschooled children came from either politically liberal or very religious families. Today, all kinds of families home school their kids for their own reasons. Some parents have lost faith in the government’s educational system. Others have a lifestyle that requires them to constantly move from one city or country to another, so it is more convenient for the kids to be homeschooled rather than enrolling and transferring them multiple times.
Is homeschooling really better than the traditional educational setup? And will it really be more beneficial for children? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling and decide if it is an option you should go for or not.
List of Advantages of Homeschooling
1. It gives more freedom in planning a curriculum and schedule.
Most states in the United States allow homeschooled kids to learn what they want, when they want, and for as long as they want. This means that kids can spend more hours learning subjects that really interest them, or more time can be devoted on lessons they find most difficult. There is no pressure to keep up with classmates or the tendency to feel insecure if they can’t memorize their multiplication tables as fast as the other kids. Parents can also include subjects that are not typically taught in school but which they want to teach their children, such as a certain religion or their own cultural heritage and language. Additionally, you won’t have to limit learning to books. You can incorporate other forms of instruction, like online courses and hands-on DIY projects.
2. It provides more personalized one-on-one learning opportunities.
One problem with classroom learning in schools is there is just one teacher for quite a large number of students. And with just limited time for each class every day, some kids may not receive the attention or guidance they need to learn as best they can. With homeschooling, you can focus on each child and adapt your teaching methods to each one’s best learning style.
3. It allows you to spend more time with your family.
You can share the common, everyday joys of life together and not miss out on important developmental stages of each person. Parents can also journey with their children as they go through challenging times. Research shows that destructive or rebellious behavior diminishes when teenagers start homeschooling.
4. It lets you protect your children from negative influences they may encounter outside the home.
Sensitive issues can be discussed when you feel they are ready to learn about them. In addition, there is lesser tendency of their involvement in school gangs, violence, bullying, peer pressure, and other potential problems students face in school.
5. It makes family trips and vacations easier to plan.
There won’t be semestral breaks and permanent daily class schedules that you need to strictly follow so you can go on holiday any time of the year, and you can even make these trips educational.
List of Disadvantages of Homeschooling
1. It requires you to be with your kids 24/7.
You will have little respite and less time for yourself or your spouse. However, some families don’t mind being together all the time.
2. It consumes a lot of time, energy, and resources.
If you are not a teacher by profession, you might need to exert more effort in learning about lesson preparation and teaching techniques. Parents will also have to continuously do research and adapt their teaching methods to make sure your kids receive the best standard of education. You need to prepare to be more patient and innovative in assisting a child who is a slow learner or who has special learning needs.
3. It causes financial restraints.
Your spouse or you will have to either opt for a part-time job or not work at all so that one of you can guide the kids with their homeschooling. And considering that you need to buy books, computers, and other educational tools and activities, your list of expenses can get quite long.
4. It limits your child’s opportunities to participate in team sports, competitions, and other extra-curricular activities.
Socializing with kids the same age is one of the biggest challenges for homeschooled children. Parents try to solve this by scheduling play dates, organizing sports teams with other families who have homeschooled students, and other ways. However, their kids will still miss out on a large chunk of experiences that can make their school years more unforgettable, such as prom night, inter-school sports competitions, and school clubs.
5. It raises a lot of questions and sometimes even disapproval from other people.
Even if more families are adopting homeschooling each year, most people still cannot fully understand the concept of not letting your children go to a ‘regular’ school. It can get pretty tiring and frustrating to explain your reasons again and again. And it can even become annoying when others openly express their disapproval and bewilderment. Your kids can also be bullied by other kids because they are ‘weird’. Some people will even question the intelligence or knowledge of your children because they think you can’t learn properly if you don’t learn in a traditional school setup.
If you think that you do not have the resources, patience, and dedication to successfully help your kids learn outside a public or private school environment, then homeschooling is not for you. And if you’re discouraged by the current educational system of your country but can’t homeschool your kids at the moment, remember that education doesn’t have to be limited to schools. You can still find ways to help your kids learn the most effective way possible and ensure they get the education they deserve by providing them with supplemental classes at home or exposing them to the big, wide world of learning that exists outside their classroom.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.