Five Reasons to Rethink Homeschooling
The decision to homeschool your child is a huge, life changing decision. A parent should consider all possible advantages and disadvantages before beginning schooling from their kitchen tabletop. Because of the strong feelings on both sides of the homeschooling debate, sometimes searching parents end up only consuming information from other homeschooling parents. These resources tend to be a bit skewed as they are written by parents that feel they need to defend their choices instead of giving accurate pros and cons to homeschooling.
This site is for searching parents who have read articles and blogs entitled "Should You Homeschool Your Child" and found only positives about homeschooling. If there were negatives, they were quickly refuted as "myths" or "untruths" and turned into a positive. It is important to consider the student's perspective as it is their life that will forever be changed by the decision to homeschool. While much of the material relates to the high school years, all students reach this age! Even if your child is in the elementary years, it is prudent to consider how your choice will affect them as they near graduation - and beyond. I am not trying to make your decision for you. I am just trying to give you information to help inform your choice.
This site is also for currently homeschooling parents. While not attempting to change your mind about the choices you have made for your child, I am trying to inform you as to some of the possible repercussions of being homeschooled. Take these reasons and ponder them. Maybe they'll give you ideas to help your child avoid encountering any possible problems listed.
Reason 1 - Extracurriculars and Competition
You Don't Know You Are Missing Out Until It Is Too Late.
Anyone that watches television is familiar with the stereotypical former football star who reminisces that his football days were his happiest. While that is exaggerated, most stereotypes are rooted in truth. I have yet to talk to a high school football star that didn't recall every detail of their playing days (including grueling two-a-day practices) with a smile.
This is true of all extracurriculars. High school debaters, athletes, marching band participants and cheerleaders spend their spare time in college either continuing their "sport" or coaching those younger than their selves. They enjoy both the participation and the successes they achieve in their activity, and it becomes a piece of the adult they will become.
The lessons that competition provides are also important. In all but a very few vocations, competing is a necessity. If a homeschool student enters the workforce without truly knowing how to compete, they will be at a disadvantage.
Reason 2 - Inability to Grasp Difficult Subject Material
Some Subjects Are Best Learned Through Skilled Teachers.
Some homeschooling parents have a hard time with subjects such as algebra or physics that they learned so many years before and haven't used often since. Or maybe the parents never learned these subjects at all. In any case, a homeschooled student might struggle to translate instructions from a book into mastery of a subject in concepts that are difficult.
Yes, tutors in these subjects are available. But homeschooling, especially in high school, is expensive. While other sites are available to help you determine the cost, it is prudent to take that amount and "pad" it with a 20% overage before you put it in your budget. These costs can strain what often times in homeschooling circles is a one income family. There may not be enough money left over to afford a tutor. If there is, can you afford enough instruction time? Students in a traditional school setting receive 3.5 - 5 hrs of instruction weekly in each subject. Can you afford even a third of that time (we'll say an hour and a half) weekly, across 1 - 3 subjects? Math, Science, and Foreign Languages are difficult for even the best student, but your child might struggle with another subject in addition to these.
Books That Will Help You Decide - Is Homeschooling Best for Your Family?
Reason 3 -The Popular "Lack of Socialization" Discussion
Don't Focus on the Ability to Make Friends. Think About Dating and Working Relationships.
The socialization question is usually the first aspect broached by anyone questioning the merits of homeschooling. The traditional arguments surrounding socialization have all been done. This article, Socially Thriving vs Socially Depriving by Homeschooling Today is a good example of the typical article on this topic.
One thing that is not often discussed is dating. While some homeschooling parents shun dating and want their children to do "courting", most parents allow their high school students to date when they have reached the approved age. Regardless of what parents allow in their own homes, many students will go on to college and live outside of the family home and their parent's rules.
The public or private high school setting is the place most Americans learn how to relate to the opposite sex, and how the dating ritual takes place. If they aren't dating they are still observing others who are. They are able to view good examples as well as bad examples, and real world parenting can happen. For instance, a high school girl is able to see there is a large pool of the opposite sex, and can begin to see what traits good guys share, and what traits bad guys lack - with some guidance from her parents. But, what a traditional student lives with everyday is only abstract to a homeschooled student. Only having a description of what makes a guy a good dating choice might make it hard for a homeschooled girl to know it when she encounters it in her youth group, job or college.
Traits that are present in corporate politics and work relationships begin to surface in high school. While a homeschooled student might be able to learn how to be polite and talk to others without issue, they show naivety when they get to a work setting. Learning about pecking orders and how to succeed even when others are creating adversity might seem to be unimportant, unless you are the homeschooled student on the job oblivious about what's happening and how to cope. Also learned in a traditional school setting is how to discuss and disagree with peers, which is quite the important trait.
Reason 4 - Loss of Mentoring Opportunities
Most Success Stories Contain the Teacher That Changed Their World View.
Parents can be effective teachers and mentors. They can teach their children about many things, and help them construct their world view and base of knowledge. But other adults outside of the familial structure can be confidants in times a child wants to talk to someone other than their parents, and their counsel can help them succeed.
Teachers can open up subjects, or niches within subjects, that expose your child to something a parent hasn't even heard about. This may become the child's passion, and could influence their vocational choice and their lifelong happiness. Teachers or guidance counselors can help children understand the college application process and what opportunities may be open to them. This might be an area that parents are not as familiar as professional educators, as they went into a different college system decades earlier - or they didn't attend college at all. Some homeschooled students graduate thinking that college is out of their reach financially, which is not true!
Help to Prepare for College
Reason 5 - My Personal Experiences
Repercussions of Being Homeschooled, After Graduation.
During my high school years, most of my contact with others was through church or homeschool associations. Either people viewed homeschooling positively, or didn't express negative views to me. Also, the flexibility I had in hours I could work benefited me as I got my first job in a grocery store. So I was unprepared when I encountered the "real world".
Because my parents were convinced college was out of their financial reach and I had no one countering that belief, I began working full time after graduation and going to junior college part time. In my first classes, I struggled with procedural issues. I didn't know how to write a paper to the professor's liking, as everyone around me did. I didn't participate in discussions because the other students seemed to be smarter than I and I was intimidated. I almost failed US History because I didn't have the base of knowledge that was expected, as my homeschool curriculum spent a lot of time focusing on church and Christian history to the detriment of teaching basic events and ideas.
As I began to get more successful in my work life, I stopped going to junior college for a while because of my work hours and the challenges college was providing. I didn't really have to overcome adversity in my homeschool setting, so it was a coping skill I needed but had not yet obtained.
The economy began to get bad around my city with the decline in the tech sector. I was scrambling to find a job, and getting nowhere. When I finally found a job, I was ultimately rejected because they couldn't verify my high school diploma - apparently this was a nonnegotiable requirement. I continued my search, but ultimately failed.
I moved states, and decided to go to a major state university. Because the regulations for homeschool were different in my new state, I encountered a lot of problems getting enrolled. Even though I had college credits (and a decent GPA in spite of my problems), they were insisting I take my GED. This seemed like a step down for me, and I kept going up the food chain until I somehow convinced an official to waive this requirement for me. By this time I was 22, and becoming accomplished in my work life. If I had been 18 and as unaware about how the world worked as I was after graduation, I would have given up or taken the GED.
I had to borrow a lot of money for this endeavor, as I didn't qualify for most scholarships. I didn't have any extracurriculars to qualify me for sports or debate scholarships. I didn't have a class rank, or a valid GPA to qualify me for achievement based help. I did get a small grant that was financial need based.
At the university, although I had mastered the basics, I encountered new problems. I was suddenly in "thinking" classes, with professors that had different thoughts and approaches to their subject matter than I had been exposed to previously. I wasn't sure how to handle these classes, and I struggled in several instances. Despite my B average, I gave up a little short of my degree.
(note: Admission policies vary greatly from university to university. HomeschoolFriendlyColleges.com has a list of colleges and universities deemed "homeschool friendly".)
Those Who Disagree with Me - A few of the many pro-homeschool voices.
- Should We Homeschool in High School?
The author homeschooled in high school and gives tips to homeschoolers on how to do quality college prep and a few suggestions for the college admission process.
- Pros of Homeschooling
A list of positive reasons to homeschool.
- Should Christians Homeschool?
An article stating only arguments why Christians should be homeschooling, but ends with a call to pray for guidance as no educational choice is right for everyone.