Homeschooling as an idea has been around for years, but has picked up popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more parents have considered starting it as an alternative to regular schooling. In previous articles, our team has discussed the reasons that people choose to go into homeschooling and what the first few steps are in that journey. Deciding to homeschool is not a simple choice, nor is it for everyone, but it can work for many families, so it is important to weigh out the pros and cons of homeschooling with an open mind. We hope the discussion below helps you in deciding whether it is the right step for you.
The Benefits of Homeschooling
- Flexibility of Time: Homeschooling allows you to create a flexible learning plan that suits yours and your child’s schedule. For this reason, homeschooling may also be suitable for students who cannot conform to regular class timings, such as child actors or athletes, or children with health conditions that require regular management.
- Flexibility of Pace: Parents are able to give their children the personal attention that teachers who manage larger classrooms may be unable to provide. The pace and style of teaching can be adapted to your child’s needs and interests. This can be particularly helpful for advanced learners or students with special needs.
- Personalized Curriculum: One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling Homeschooling allows parents a great deal of freedom to tailor the curriculum according to their, and their child’s, needs and interests. Some parents may choose to incorporate religious, cultural or ethical instruction. Others may choose to spend extra time working on developing special skills, such as for athletes or musicians. Parents can also influence their child’s perceptions of education, incorporating more fun elements, more field trips and practical learning or perhaps more discipline than is offered in school. Additionally, parents can choose the manner in which to teach certain topics in case they are not satisfied with how they are handled in schools.
- Focus: Some children are able to learn better without the distraction of a classroom full of other kids.
- Strong relationships: Spending this time with your child helps you to develop a closer bond and understand your child better. Positive experiences around learning enhance familial relationships, and many parents derive immense satisfaction from being a part of their child’s learning milestones.
- Health & COVID-19 Exposure: Many parents have moved to homeschooling out of concerns about COVID exposure in schools. Others find it hard to manage the learning difficulties that come with COVID restrictions. For instance, children of younger ages may find it hard to focus with masks on, or simply hard to wear masks all day and socially distance from friends. In recent years when people have weighed the pros and cons of homeschooling this has been a major deciding factor.
What are the Disadvantages of homeschooling?
- Adjustment period: The process of moving from a traditional school to homeschooling can be stressful and complicated. We have previously discussed the first five steps required to make that change. There is a lot to consider, such as curriculum selection, developing your own teaching style, abidance with state rules and finding the right homeschooling community. The longer that a child has spent in traditional school systems, the harder the switch to a homeschooling mindset may be.
- Excessive work & less time: Homeschooling parents are not just fulfilling the role of a parent but that of a teacher as well. This takes a great deal of patience, planning, time, effort and dedication and parents may feel they do not have enough time to look after personal needs or engage in activities of their own. Moreover, if a parent must balance homeschooling with a full-time or part-time job, this can be demanding and stressful.
- Constant interaction: Being around your children all day can be both rewarding and draining. When children are restless, not engaged in their activities, and misbehaving, homeschooling can be very difficult. Spending a lot of time at home and with the same family members can make children feel confined, and parents feel frustrated.
- Income: Homeschooling is demanding and often requires one parent to stay at home and teach, which can come at the cost of earning an income. This means most families involved in homeschooling are functioning on a single income.
- Cost: In comparison to public school, it can cost significantly more to homeschool your child. This depends on your curriculum choice, because there are a number of free resources available to homeschoolers, but there are a range of more expensive teaching materials available as well. The cost of homeschooling varies from family to family depending on what curriculum you choose.
- Missed learning opportunities: It is not possible for most homeschoolers to provide all of the opportunities presented by traditional schools, including access to social interaction, group extracurricular activities, workshops and unique facilities and certain subject electives.
- Confronting negative opinions: Even today, homeschooling can be a controversial subject and there are many who don’t understand or approve of it as they are unable to see the benefits of homeschooling. Parents who make this choice may be subjected to judgment and bias at times, and it’s important for you to be comfortable enough with your choice to disregard any such negative experiences.
Overall, homeschooling can be extremely rewarding for both children and parents, but it is not for everyone and it is certainly not without its challenges- which is why weighing on the pros and cons of homeschooling is so important. Parents who decide to homeschool should be strong in their convictions about why they are doing it and should be prepared to make the necessary effort and, sometimes, sacrifices.
To start your homeschooling journey, check out our article on the 5 Simple Steps to Start Your Homeschooling Journey.
Explore other Homeschooling resources here.