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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling?

There are many different opinions on homeschooling, but what are this educational choice's real pros and cons? In this blog post, we'll look at some of the key benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling to help you make an informed decision. Whether you're already convinced that homeschooling is right for your family or you're just starting to explore your options, we hope this information will be helpful.

Choosing to homeschool your kids is not a new concept. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the phrase "school choice" took on a whole new meaning as more and more parents considered homeschooling a solution for their families.

To curb the spread of the virus, school districts around the country offered a variety of educational possibilities, from in-person school with masks to full online school to a delayed start to the academic year to a hybrid model that offered some days in a physical classroom other days virtually.

Some schools offer a virtual option even as things open back up and return to normal. And since younger kids are still unable to get the vaccine, some families feel uncertain about sending their kids back to brick-and-mortar schools.

If you're thinking of teaching your child at home for the first time, or you've always considered this option for your family, you likely know there are many pros and cons.

We've rounded up a list of common advantages and pitfalls you may encounter—with input from real-world homeschooling parents. As you weigh your decision, give some thought to how each of these might impact your circumstance and trust that whatever decision you make will be the right one for your family.

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Pros

Freedom 

Whether you call it self-determination, freedom, or control, one clear advantage of homeschooling is the ability to make your own choices. As a homeschooler, you'll be able to freely travel or move, include religious teaching in day-to-day learning, and not worry about social pressures or bullying your child may encounter at school.

All subjects are fair game in home-based education, from sailing to sewing to science. Practical skills, volunteering, artistic pursuits, and traditional trades can all fall under the broad umbrella of homeschooling. In addition, some homeschoolers believe teachable moments are always happening, and "school" isn't limited to school hours.

Flexibility

Who doesn't like to set their schedule? By educating at home, you determine the structure of your day. If your child struggles to wake up by 7:00 a.m., for example, you can start school later. And, since homeschool timing is fluid, you can go ahead and make your child's dentist appointment on a Tuesday at noon.

You even have room to push back a lesson when you (or your kids) just aren't feeling it. There are many ways to make it up later.

Individualised Education

Every child is different. Unfortunately, in the larger group setting of regular school, teachers can't always tailor lessons to your child's unique needs. At home, on the other hand, you can meet your child right where they are, customising lessons to their particular interests.

Does your younger child need a little extra help with maths? Take an extra 15 minutes to help them understand fractions. Is your older kid into outer space? Start an astronomy unit!

Homeschooling also lets you vary your approach from child to the child if you have more than one learning style and grade level. Plus, you get to celebrate any success or achievement together in real-time.

Minimal Covid-19 Restrictions

For many parents, the decision to homeschool during the pandemic came down to avoiding COVID-19 restrictions on their children at school.

Having to wear a mask all day and social distance from friends is a tall order for your average 6-year-old. Educating at home, of course, means the freedom to go without masks, physical barriers, and other challenging "extras" that came with the pandemic. 

Strong Relationships

The more time you spend with your kids, the more opportunities arise for bonding. So if you've always wished for more hours in the day as a family, perhaps homeschooling is the boon you've been craving.

Positive experiences like fun field trips, a-ha moments in learning, and "recess" at the park can all build closer parent-child and sibling-to-sibling relationships. 

In some cases, homeschooling's flexible schedule can even allow for more time with both parents—if work schedules usually limit time together on weekends or holidays.

Reduced Covid-19 Exposure

Keeping kids home also reduces the risk of them being exposed to COVID-19. Early on in the pandemic, this was a source of anxiety for many families. In addition, some people have family members who are at higher risk for severe illness or unvaccinated people in their households.

Even as schools reopen, some parents don't feel safe sending their kids back until a vaccine is available to kids of all ages. Everyone has different comfort levels, and for some, taking it slower is the best approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some studies indicate homeschooled students, in general, perform better academically than children in public schools. 

Homeschooling provides far more opportunities for quality time between parents and children. In addition, flexible scheduling allows the child's learning to occur around the parent's schedule.

The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardised academic achievement tests. ... 78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools.

It is worth homeschooling your child if you plan to make your child's experience engaging, fun, and full of all the activities you seek in private education. In addition, your child would greatly benefit from being in your sphere of influence socially, spiritually and academically.

Online homeschooling provides a reassuring environment that minimises feelings of depression. Another benefit of homeschooling is that children spend more time with their parents and family—this freedom to learn and grow benefits your child's self-esteem and overall mental health.

Homeschooling gives parents more control over what their kids are learning. For many homeschooling parents, there is a strong belief that the public school curriculum is not providing the right knowledge and skills for children. Lastly, homeschooled children score better on state and federal standardised tests.

Cons 

A Lot Of Work

In addition to the domestic responsibilities of your role as a parent, you're now a teacher, tutor, curriculum researcher, and principal.

Creating, teaching, and grading a day's or week's worth of learning on multiple subjects takes serious time and effort. (However, many prepared curriculum packages do exist.) Plus, as delightful as it can be to tailor education to each child's learning style, this can add to your workload, too.

And if you have younger children at home who aren't school age, you may also struggle to keep them occupied while you sit down to teach older kids.

Less Time For Yourself

Not surprisingly, the workload of homeschooling—and kids home all day—is likely to leave you with less time for yourself. Some homeschooling parents say they don't have time to shower, let alone exercise or take care of their own needs.

For parents who are used to a quiet, kid-free environment during the day, this aspect of homeschooling can be a major adjustment. 

Inability To Work 

All homeschooling work is guaranteed to take up hours of your day. Therefore, as a homeschooling parent, you may not be able to work outside the home, or you may have to cut your hours significantly. For some households, this may be a financial deal-breaker.

Too Much Togetherness

While many families find that homeschooling boosts good vibes between siblings and parents, there is such a thing as too much togetherness.

It's important to work in breaks, both for yourself and your kids. Or, depending on the resources in your area, you might try a homeschooling co-op or enrichment program one day a week to provide your kids with socialisation with others outside the family.

Missing Out on Certain Opportunities

Despite the enormous flexibility of homeschooling, it can limit opportunities for your child in some ways. For high schoolers, for example, a homeschool curriculum may not provide the same variety of electives as a large public school. (After all, most of us don't have a metal shop in the backyard.)

If your child wants to pursue subjects you can't easily teach at home, you'll have to be diligent about seeking alternatives.

The same holds for social opportunities. As a homeschooler, it's up to you to provide social interaction your child won't get from school dances, assemblies, and everyday classroom partner work.

Facing Judgments And Biases 

Let's be honest: Homeschooling doesn't necessarily have a reputation for being cool and modern. Unfortunately, many biases and stereotypes exist around homeschooling and the folks who choose it.

If you decide to educate at home, you might get some flak from family members (or even strangers) who think you're going full Little House on the Prairie mode or that your kids won't learn anything. So you may need to develop a thick skin toward other people's judgments of your decision to educate at home.

Homeschooling Is A Major Lifestyle Change

One of the first issues to consider is that homeschooling represents a major lifestyle change.

As you probably know, when you decide to homeschool, you will take on the duties and responsibilities of both a teacher and administrator. You will need to implement lessons, organise field trips, coordinate activities with other parents, and make sure you are compliant with state and local homeschool requirements. These responsibilities get added to your normal role as a parent.

You also have the added financial costs of homeschooling. While many free resources are available, homeschool supplies such as textbooks, books, paper, art supplies, computers, software, and other homeschool tools cost money. Fortunately, there are ways to minimise the financial costs associated with homeschooling.

For example, some programs, like Calvert Education, can help minimise costs by bundling resources together into a kit that can include classroom-tested materials, step-by-step lesson manuals, textbooks, reading books, maths manipulatives, science kits, and online tools all designed to empower parents to be successful teachers.

However, you cannot escape the fact that your family may suffer a loss in income by dedicating more time to teaching your children at home. The challenge is greater if you are a single parent. Careful budgeting and time management skills will be essential if you go to homeschool.

Moreover, since your child will no longer be in a public school environment and all learning will occur at home, the family's lifestyle and pace will change. You will dedicate more time to homeschooling. Daily chores, errands, doctor's appointments, and typical household routines will need to be scheduled to coordinate your homeschooling plan.

Another important change is that while parents normally spend a lot of time with their children, homeschooling parents spend even more time with their kids. The amount of time you need to spend homeschooling is a major lifestyle change that influences the decision of many parents on whether or not they homeschool. Though there are many ways for parents to secure time for themselves, it is important to recognise that you will spend more time with your children than you do currently.

Homeschool Socialisation Is Different

A second topic to consider is homeschool socialisation.

One of the biggest myths we shatter is that homeschool socialisation does not exist or that homeschoolers are weird or do not know how to interact with people. The truth of the matter is that there are pros and cons with the social experience of homeschoolers, just as there are pros and cons with public school. Experiences will vary for all children, but the fairest way to characterise socialisation in a homeschool environment is to say it is different.\

How Is Homeschool Socialisation Different?

For one thing, homeschoolers do not have the same exposure to peer pressure and bullying, tied to poorer academic performance and lower self-esteem.

Parents often decide to homeschool because they do not want their child's values to be defined by their peers or for their children to face social ridicule or bullying. In private or public schools, the pressure to "fit in" or achieve a perceived level of social status among classmates can be quite great.

Homeschooling also means less daily interaction with many kids in a child's age group. And homeschoolers can end up spending less time each day participating in organised sports and activities with their peers.

However, this does not mean that homeschoolers have no access to their peers or cannot play sports or socially interact with others outside their family.

In fact, on average, homeschoolers participate more in their community, are less passive, and socialise with a wider mix of adults (especially professionals) than their public school counterparts.

As part of its flexible nature and focus on one-on-one / personalised learning, homeschooling involves more field trips, real-life experiences, and hands-on learning. When it comes to sports, homeschoolers often participate in recreational leagues or homeschool sports classes offered in their community. In addition, some students are homeschooled because their athletic or artistic talents have them engaged in sports and activities.

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Homeschooling Provides Greater Educational Freedom

A third aspect of homeschooling to consider is the academic freedom you can gain and what impact that will have on you and your child.

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is its flexibility.

If your child is struggling with a subject or a specific concept, you do not need to skip it and move on. Instead, you can work with your child until they have mastered the material. Homeschooling allows you to take all the time you need to ensure learning is taking place. Likewise, if your child is ready to move on, you do not need to waste time on redundant or repetitive lessons. As a result, homeschooling children can move through educational materials faster than their peers.

A teacher must address everyone's learning style and pace in a public or private school, with 20 or more kids in a class. When the majority are ready to move on, other children get left behind. But, of course, if your child is ready to advance to other material, they often must wait until many students are ready. As a result, many children often feel bored, frustrated, or both in both cases.

Another benefit of homeschooling education is that it exposes children to more unique experiences. Parents and kids often cite how the homeschool curriculum encouraged them to get out of the home and learn about science, art, maths, and history in the real world. Experiencing things outside of a classroom is often more engaging and better absorption of knowledge and skills.

Conclusion

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! Then, with everyone's thoughts and feelings on the table, you can determine if homeschooling is best for you and your family.

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