Why Homeschool Your Child?: Pros and Cons
When I first discovered homeschooling, it seemed that most families taking that path did so for religious reasons - so they could use a religious-based curriculum. Later on, I saw many families convert to homeschooling when traditional schools failed their children, some who had disabilities. Today, though, I see the majority of homeschooling families making the choice as a way to provide the very best education to their child. There are many benefits to homeschooling, but it is not easy and there are some cons to explore as well.
Benefits of Homeschooling
I homeschooled my two children for four years in elementary school, and it truly was a wonderful experience. It was not perfect, and not always smooth for my particular family, but the benefits were unmatched by any other educational choice. The biggest advantage to homeschooling is the personalized one-on-one instruction. You can give your child exactly what he needs and not be hampered by the inflexibility of traditional school systems.
Other benefits include:
- less instruction time needed – working individually with a child means a much shorter school day. The rest of the time can be used for field trips, reading, and developing other life skills. The result is a very well-rounded child.
- flexible schedule – you are not bound by a rigid 7-hour Monday to Friday schedule.
- no alarm clocks! – everyone gets enough sleep
- the world is your classroom – you are not limited to standard text books and the four walls of a classroom.
- meals together - family mealtime has been proven over and over again as beneficial to the child and family. Imagine the positive effect of three meals a day at the kitchen table. This also provides a chance for kids to learn how to cook and help with clean-up.
Books on Homeschooling
Cons of Homeschooling
If there were no cons, everyone would be homeschooling. One of the biggest cons is the financial and emotional burdens that may exist. There is definitely a trade-off involved. To homeschool, typically one parent will not be employed outside of the home. There are families that juggle two work schedules, but that also can add some stress to the family. To give your children the education you want for them, it may involve living on less to make that commitment.
As for the emotional toll, being the homeschooling parent can be isolating and stressful. With careful planning, good communication and dedication, these pressures can be lessened or avoided. The homeschooling parent will need support and planned time away from the role for rejuvenation.
Lack of socialization is one of the most common cons people attribute to the homeschooled child, though there is some disagreement on that issue. One argument in defense is that children in traditional schools may be over-socialized. Statistics on peer pressure, bullying, drug use, gangs and teen pregnancy may support that claim. That said, if you homeschool, you will want to expose your child to a variety of social situations, including time with peers. This will call for additional planning. Other cons of homeschooling are:
- social acceptance – though homeschooling is becoming more and more common, there are skeptics who will question your decision. Many people asked how I could homeschool without a teaching degree. In my state, you do need a college degree to homeschool, but you do not have to be a teacher by profession.
- It can be difficult to balance the roles of teacher and parent. The homeschooling parent needs to be a leader, and know where to draw the line.
- motivation - you have to have a plan and be able to motivate your children to do their work. You have the freedom to be creative, but time and energy is needed for that.
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
time, energy and money required to select the right curriculum
extra time and energy required to get organized and plan
one-on-one instruction for child
may be challenging if child has a learning disability
more time for quality instruction
less time to self for homeschooling parent
more time for building family relationships
may be difficult to balance parent and teacher roles
escape failing policies of public education
others may have negative view of homeschooling