Homeschooling is a hot topic now, more than ever. Parents have many reasons as to why they would like to homeschool their kids.
They might have religious beliefs they feel have an important role in shaping their children’s lives, or they might choose to do it for practical reasons such as the special needs of their child.
These are just two examples of why one might choose to homeschool over traditional learning methods.
No matter your reasoning, we are here to discuss the pros and cons of homeschooling to hopefully make the decision a bit easier on you. Let’s get started.
The Pros of Homeschooling
Let’s begin with the good stuff- this is what parents and students alike report loving about homeschooling.
Reduction of Negative Environment/Influence
Public and non-public schools are places where kids learn all sorts of things, from actual schoolwork to the current buzzwords kids love to say. They also learn about things you’d probably rather NOT have them discussing, such as cuss words, things meant only for adults to know about, and politics, among other things.
With homeschooling, there will be minimal or zero distractions from what matters: the subject material and the children’s mastery of the topics at hand. Parents have an easier time monitoring their children as they learn.
The child is also able to focus much more easily than if there were bullies or teasing in the classroom. The child’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem is not affected by others as parents provide a nurturing and safe environment devoted to learning and satisfying curiosity.
Freedom To Practice and Discuss Religion
It’s no secret that kids retain the values and morals of the people they spend the most time with. After all, children are very impressionable, and parents have a duty to instill positive morals and values so their children can become productive and helpful citizens.
Homeschooling gives parents the chance to teach around a religious practice or belief that they find to be important. They also help keep values preserved but do not harm other children. For example, some religions prohibit the use of vaccines.
Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children get to enjoy religious freedom AND teach their children how they like when they opt for homeschooling. They can discuss their religious beliefs and ideas without fear of imposing on others or backlash from school personnel.
Strengthens Child and Parent Bond
Homeschooling activities are much more than books and paper, pencils and pens. Homeschooling a child means showing them things that you feel are important to learn, and by learning these things together, parents and children strengthen their bond.
For instance, a parent teaching their child to repair a fence or change a tire feels good about imparting their wisdom onto their offspring, the child feels great about learning to complete the task, and the parent gets to see their child grow.
These experiences are precious and denote time spent together learning a valuable skill that will no doubt come in handy one day. This is undoubtedly an excellent way to bond with your child as they grow in spirit and mind.
You Choose the Curriculum
As a parent, you are the one responsible for the curriculum your child will be taking in. You can control the lesson’s pacing, you can control the material they learn, and you can design the lesson to answer the individual needs of your child.
For instance, a lesson about identifying trees and their leaves could be done out of a book if it suits your child, but it could also be done by going outdoors and pointing at, touching, and seeing the leaves.
Another child might retain that knowledge by sketching it or making art out of it. You can make a lesson last as long or as short as you like, depending on your child’s interests, needs, and skillset.
Fostering Individual Talents
One problem that parents complain about when it comes to private and public schools is the rigidity/easiness of their curriculum. Students must pass state or school-mandated exams.
Students must be able to perform reading, mathematics, and language arts at a minimum level that many parents feel is too easy or “dumbed down.”
Parents feel their kids aren’t being challenged enough, or they are being shoved through and graduated with no real knowledge of the world or any of the things they learned while in school.
One advantage of homeschooling is that YOU can identify and grow your child’s talents. For instance, if your child is musical, you can focus on creating a curriculum that is heavy on musical theory, performance, study, and writing.
If your child excels in art, you can help them learn to work with different mediums, introduce them to art styles, and have them learn about the great artists before them. If your child is a math whiz, you can challenge them with difficult but exciting concepts.
Meanwhile, if your child needs a bit of extra help in school, you can work at a pace that suits them and tailor the curriculum in a way that interests them.
Not only can you craft lessons in a manner that suits your individual kid, you can also enjoy the benefits of tutoring one-on-one. Suppose the whole family is learning something as a group, but one of your kids is just having a hard time with it. You can take as much time as you need to talk it over with them.
Show them the concept or skill in a different way that might be easier for them to understand, and generally enjoy the process of learning instead of watching your child become frustrated with the concept and abandon it altogether. How many kids have stated they “hated math” or “hated reading” because they felt like they couldn’t understand it?
Great for Kids with Learning Disabilities
Homeschooling is a great way to help a child with a learning disability feel confident about their education. In public and private schools, many kids with learning disabilities are mainstreamed, which is great.
But these kids are often the brunt of teasing and bullying simply because they have to have an aide, a tool, or go to a special classroom to learn at their best.
As a homeschooling parent, you can help your child out by reading instructions to them, transcribe their words, and encourage them to keep going- essentially doing whatever it takes to keep them learning. These are just a few of the ways kids with learning disabilities benefit.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Some parents pool their resources and create homeschool collectives in their neighborhoods and counties. Parents with different talents- e.g., a dad who might be great at science or works in a science profession or a mom who is a mathematical whiz – come together to teach kids from around the area valuable skills.
This varies from place to place as each organization has their own way of doing things, but by researching a homeschool organization in your area, you can network with other parents and coordinate getting your child into the group if you’d like to go that route. Many times, these groups organize on Facebook, so start there.
Cons of Homeschooling
As great as homeschooling is, it is not without its fair share of “cons.” Here are some of the things parents complain about when it comes to homeschooling.
The Responsibility Is Huge
Being a homeschool parent is not an easy task. You are responsible for preparing your child to become a well-read, well-rounded citizen capable of handling themselves in the “real world.”
As a parent, this is hard enough, but taking on the educational duties most folks leave up to a teacher is a big job. Homeschooling is NOT easy and is NOT a decision you can enter into on a whim. There will be days when you are wondering what it might be like to send your child to the local public or private school or see what online options are available. This is a commitment you will have for over a decade if going for a 12th-grade education!
Plus, the questions you will ask yourself are huge. “Am I teaching them what they NEED?” “Am I doing too little?” “Will these kids know what to do once they leave the nest?”
It can leave many parents in doubt, and while most parents do a great job with homeschooling, many might find the burden too heavy to bear.
You Are to Blame for Shortcomings
Any shortcomings of your child- perceived or real- will be put on you, most likely. We are humans, and we tend to blame others when things go wrong- it’s just who we are.
There will come a day when your child is with friends, and the kids talk about something in history, math, or language arts your child won’t understand. It could even be non-school related, such as a football game or a pop-culture event.
If they don’t know about it, and their friends laugh at them, chances are you are going to hear about it later and perhaps hear the line, “I wish I went to regular school like everyone else,” or something like that.
Ouch! What a thing to hear from your child. You are doing what you feel best for them, but you can’t help but feel bad about that. Even though your child means no harm, it can really hurt a parent to be blamed for an educational shortcoming.
You Don’t Get A Break
One reason parents send their kids to school is to, well, get a break. Kids going to public or private school grants parents much-needed alone time and time with fellow adults, whether the parent goes to work, the gym, or meets with friends for lunch while their kids are away for the day.
Parents have the chance to clean, relax a bit, and think about themselves until the kids get home.
With homeschooling, there are no breaks. The kids are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You have to carefully plan doctor’s visits, grocery trips, and personal time for working out or meditation. Plus, you have to find time to organize and tidy the house. This can be very overwhelming for parents at times.
You Have to Teach Multiple Grades
If you have kids of varying ages- for instance, 12, 10, and 7, the curriculum at each of those grade levels is going to be very different. Each child will have to have their individual needs catered to so their curriculum is interesting and age-appropriate. Even your non-school-age kids will want to get in on the learning.
For example, your 12-year-old will probably be learning basic algebra while your 7-year-old is learning to simply add two-digit figures. Keeping all the curriculum straight and organized can be difficult. At the same time, the 12-year-old is likely capable of working independently, while the 7-year-old and 10 years old require additional supervision to complete their tasks.
One resource we highly recommend to help understand the pros and cons of homeschooling is Michael E. Reese’s Homeschooling For Beginners text.
It’s a very well-written and fairly priced book that teaches parents all they need to know about the good and bad aspects of homeschooling. We encourage you to check it out and give it a good read if you are on the fence about homeschooling your kids.
Now that you have seen the basic pros and cons of homeschooling, what do you think? Are you leaning more toward homeschooling your children, or will you be looking at a public or private school?
Rest assured, there are plenty of options available for your child, whether they will be learning with you, a homeschool collective, or a nearby school.
Keep in mind that you ALWAYS are in charge of your child’s education no matter what their grade level is, and you are their biggest advocate. We wish your child happy learning, whatever you choose!