Researching the pros and cons of homeschooling is a worthwhile endeavor for any parent who is considering taking their child out of public school in order to homeschool them. Deciding to take on the task of homeschooling your child can be stressful and unnerving, no matter how much you feel the decision is the correct one for your family. It makes sense to find out everything you can about the pros and cons of homeschooling before making the final decision to adopt this lifestyle yourself.
As a mom who has been homeschooling multiple children for several years, I have been exposed to all the pros and cons of homeschooling that exist. For our family, the benefits of homeschooling still outweigh any perceived shortcomings, especially when compared to the experiences our family had while our children were still enrolled in public school. Even so, the same will not be true for every family who attempts to homeschool, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of homeschooling.
Not all homeschooling Moms would be willing to share what she feels are cons to this educational path. However, even though I personally feel that homeschooling could be the solution to the problems of many children, I fully acknowledge that this lifestyle is not for everyone. If you are a parent who is considering it, this is a list of what I feel are the most important pros and cons of homeschooling to consider.
PROS OF HOMESCHOOLING
Academic Excellence – Of all the pros and cons of homeschooling, the most significant pro I see in it, is that it can supply a child with a fantastic academic education. Children who are homeschooled have the luxury of having their curriculum customized to their learning styles. Not all curriculum materials are equal; some are designed and written in ways that will suit your child’s learning style beautifully, and others will be impossible for you to work with. When researching the pros and cons of homeschooling, keep in mind that when your child attends public school, you have no choices in textbooks and other curriculum materials. Homeschooling, when done well, means that a child receives a lot of one-on-one instruction. Our experience has been that this fact alone reduces a huge amount of stress, and allows our children to actually enjoy what they are studying. Their degree of comprehension of academic material is much more solid now that they are homeschooled. A thoughtful consideration of the pros and cons of homeschooling should certainly include some focus on how it will affect your child academically.
A natural environment – Not always included in lists of the pros and cons of homeschooling, another important pro is that children can function in a much more natural, and realistic, daily environment. In public school, children must raise their hand to speak, ask permission to use the restroom, wait until they are allowed to eat, and sit without stretching their legs and bodies for as long as a teacher deems necessary. These factors, which probably don’t seem significant to some people, really can affect a child’s performance in school. For instance, my son had a couple of teachers who were absolute control freaks about allowing kids to use the bathroom. I understand that public school is mostly about crowd control, but when a kid has stomach cramps because they need to use the bathroom, it’s hard for him to concentrate on long division, you know? The same is true of rumbling, hungry tummies, and stiff legs that need to stretch. Homeschooled children can eat, speak, and use the bathroom when they need to; not when the teacher or the school bell says they can. This fact alone makes learning easier, and means that it should be thoughtfully considered when researching the pros and cons of homeschooling.
Kids get enough sleep – This particular pro of homeschooling is self-explanatory, but commonly underestimated. As a public school family, our lives were filled with super early mornings, rushed meals, hours of tearful homework, and not nearly enough sleep. The simple fact that my children get to sleep as long as they need to, and wake up naturally, has positively affected not just their academic growth, but their physical growth as well. My kids, who had always been short and skinny for their ages, began gaining weight and inches shortly after we began homeschooling. The sleep factor is commonly left out of lists of the pros and cons of homeschooling, but it is an important one to consider.
The kids’ academic life is completely separate from their social life- I have never personally seen this item on any list of the pros and cons of homeschooling, and it will not apply to all homeschoolers, because some choose to enroll their children into group academic classes. However, we did not choose that particular route, so for my kids, their academic lives and social lives are separate. I cannot express how much I love this fact, and feel that it has benefited my children immeasurably. No more pretending they don’t know the answers simply to avoid being thought of as a nerd, and no more losing out on a teacher’s instruction simply because that teacher has little choice but to spend her time dealing with the troublemakers in the class. I believe wholeheartedly that kids need a social life. However, I think they function better academically when their social lives are not entangled in their academics. That has been our personal experience.
Freedom from peer pressure – An extremely important pro of homeschooling is the luxury it affords children to escape peer pressure to the degree that they experience it in public school. A lot of home schooling parents would now go off on a tangent about sex and drugs and moral beliefs. And while all of that is of concern to me as well, that’s not really what I’m talking about here. When considering all of the pros and cons of homeschooling, this is one to pay special attention to.
In public school, my children, beginning in Kindergarten, were constantly pressured to look a certain way, talk a certain way, dress a certain way, and think a certain way; all at the whim of whichever kids in school were considered to be the most popular. If my kid thought something was genuinely humorous, and laughed about it, another kid could shoot them down in front of dozens of other kids for it, and then my kid was never the same. Who are these little punks to dictate who my kid gets to be? Peer pressure was changing who my kids would have been otherwise; who they were naturally supposed to be. I’m not having any of that. My kids get to be who they were wired to be now that they don’t spend 7 hours per day, 5 days per week, with other kids who think they have the right to change them.
Opponents would likely chime in here that it’s important for people to learn how to navigate life among people who are aggressive and screwed up. I agree. I just think my kids will have a better chance of doing that successfully as adults if they have spent the most formative years of their lives being built up, rather than constantly torn down.
CONS OF HOMESCHOOLING
It isn’t often easy for the teaching parent to get a break – A con of homeschooling worth mentioning is the fact that the teaching parent will likely find it difficult to get a break at times. Depending on how many children are being schooled in the home, teaching responsibilities can take up many hours of the day. Add to that general child care, housework, cooking, errands, and a job, and homeschooling can mean that the teaching parent is giving up any “me” time they may have had before. For most of us, there isn’t any way around this one. It’s just one more item on the list of many pros and cons of homeschooling that you will have to consider realistically before making your final decision.
Not all parents and children work well together as teacher and student – I am a teacher at heart, and I always have been. I tutored other children when my oldest children were very little, and I have taught my children with purpose in the home since birth. My children have always been accustomed to being taught by me, and I have a very functional teaching relationship with each one of them. The same scenario isn’t going to be true of every family, so as you weigh the pros and cons of homeschooling, consider this particular con in depth. Be honest with yourself; consider using a Summer vacation or holiday break from school to see how well you and your child work together first before jumping into homeschooling.
You will likely end up buying quite a bit of curriculum materials – In the list of pros and cons of home schooling, consider this con to be one of the lesser ones. There are endless options when it comes to home school curriculum and materials, and it can get really expensive, but you have a lot of control over that. There are many resources for inexpensive, and even free, homeschooling materials, so search thoroughly for those that are available. If you choose to purchase them, items like textbooks, microscopes, and musical equipment can get really expensive, really fast.
School materials can start to take over your house – And your car, and your porch, and your garage. As you consider the pros and cons of homeschooling, think realistically about how you are going to feel with tons of homeschool curriculum and equipment all over your house. I personally find it quite maddening at times. Homeschooling typically means a home filled with books, workbooks, boxed curriculum, manipulatives, musical instruments, and a lot of school-related papers. As you ponder this con of home schooling, think seriously about how you might store and organize homeschool materials.
No matter what you choose in the end, knowing the pros and cons of homeschooling will help you make an informed decision.