Parents, are you deciding whether to homeschool your kids or not? Consider these 6 homeschooling pros and cons before making your decision.
By Helen Dawson
Some people believe homeschooling is an outdated practice, but with statistics indicating that 3% of the school age population were homeschooled in 2011-12 and figures increasing every year, this is a very real education option for some families. Many debate homeschooling pros and cons to see which way to go.
Homeschooling pros and cons list
Homeschooled children are still welcomed into colleges and perform well on exams. If you’re considering homeschooling, then here are some homeschooling pros and cons to consider:
When you assume the role of teaching your children, you are responsible for their learning. If you have targets to meet, exams to give and a curriculum to be stick to, then there will be some restrictions in what they study (this may differ by state).
But you have the freedom to teach in the way you deem appropriate—whether through traditional ‘desk’ learning or more practical activities.
You also have the freedom to decide your own working hours. You have the option to take time out for sickness, family vacations or doctor’s appointments and know that you can make up the lost ground at a time that suits you later on.
Pro: No pressure
Some people look back on their school years as the best of their lives. Others look back at them as the worst. Adolescent children in particular face pressure in school, whether that be cliques, peer pressure, bullying or unhealthy competition.
Removing them from the school system means cutting out the vast majority of this and can be very stabilizing, often resulting in better behavior. It may also improve your relationship with your children and strengthen your bond.
Pro: Effective learning
One-on-one teaching is more effective. Rather than adopting learning styles that need to cater for a full classroom of kids, you can teach in ways that suit your children.
You can skip through things quickly that your child has a good grasp on and take your time in areas he may struggle with. A typical homeschooling lesson takes less time than a traditional class, so you will save time and also cut out the need for homework.
When children start school, most parents find themselves with time on their hands to pursue their own interests. Maybe a hobby, extra hours at work or just some me time.
If you homeschool your children, you won’t get this extra time and you will find yourselves with your children. A lot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can mean your free time is very limited and you may struggle to cram everything into your family schedule, particularly if you work as well.
On the subject of working, in most cases, one parent will need to forgo work to permanently and effectively homeschool their children. This will have financial implications on the whole family and it can mean one spouse taking on the role of chief breadwinner.
You’ll also find yourselves paying for school supplies such as text books, sports equipment, school ‘trips’ and exams (however, you will eliminate costs such as entry fees, school uniforms and transport to and from school).
It’s down to you as a family to work out whether your budget can stretch and whether the financial sacrifices you make are worth it.
Cons: Missing out
As much as school can be a difficult place, it can also be a valuable social learning environment. Homeschooled children are apt to miss out on memorable factors of traditional school learning. Things like prom, joining school teams or clubs or even simply meeting friends on your first day.
Some schools do welcome homeschooled kids within their catchment area to join sports team and participate in certain activities, but this isn’t the same as being a regular student.
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Get more tips:
- How to Prepare Your Child for College (Because It’s Not Too Early)
- Help Your Child Transition to Preschool (and Calm Your Nerves as Well!)
- 15 Practical Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
- How to Get Your Child Interested in School
Helen Dawson is a mom and freelance writer, covering a wide variety of subjects. Prior to motherhood, she was a fitness instructor and nutritionist. She homeschools her eldest child (and plans to do the same for her younger one).
Your turn: Have you considered homeschooling? What are the homeschooling pros and cons you think about when making a decision? Let us know in the comments!