Homeschooling is an awesome opportunity for families. I know there are many benefits to schooling at home, but I have never had to really define them before.
That is until last week.
Last week I was asked what I thought the benefits or disadvantages to homeschooling are?
Hmmm…that got me thinking. I started to do some research and some of the articles I came across were not very helpful.
There were the cliché negative views of homeschooling and yes, some of the benefits they listed are true, but they were very basic. They came across as coming from an outside perspective.
It seemed as if the people who had put the article together were not homeschoolers or in the schooling trenches at all and it sounded like there was a negative overtone.
I’ll be the first to admit that it can be hard and there are days that I consider sending my children away to boarding school…please tell me I’m not the only one…but those are only brief moments and I would miss my kiddos way too much.
I don’t have any test studies or graphs to show you the benefits; this is just from my own experience and perspective.
I’m no expert. What I am is a second generation homeschooler who has personally experienced homeschooling, private school and public schools in the USA, overseas and Canada during my school years. And this is our 7th year of being in the homeschooling trenches, so I do have a little experience under my belt ;)
From the trenches-here’s my perspective.
- closer knit family unit being together 24/7
- homeschooled children usually relate well to all age groups, not just their own age group
- able to teach your values and beliefs
- you can choose what they learn and when
- it’s easier to protect their innocence
- more time for conversations and discussions
- more time for character training
- able to teach/train in the moment of conflict
- less social pressure
- flexible schedule
- real-life learning (eg. shopping at the grocery store and counting out money and change, instead of just reading it in the workbook)
- physical freedom
- no homework
- no early mornings/well rested students
- no rushed mornings to catch the bus or to get to school
- opportunity to make and eat more meals together
- flexibility in education
- decreased extra costs (less pressure to keep up with the Jones’s)
- religious freedom
- as a parent we get to see and enjoy their progress
- the family gets to share in life experiences all day, everyday
- homeschooled children learn to be self-directed learners and self-starters
- learning goal setting and accomplishing tasks is a daily occurrence
- vacation time anytime of the year
- being able to notice the areas a child may be struggling with and make changes accordingly
- being able to teach individually for each child
- opportunity for siblings to be each other’s best friends
- time to enjoy lunch and snacks because they aren’t watching the clock for break time to be over
I need to add a quick disclaimer. Please understand that I am in no way saying that a family that sends their children to school don’t have some of these benefits.
Having kids at home 24/7 just makes it easier to work on these things because they are around all the time. When children are away at school all day you have to work harder and be more intentional at teaching or noticing these things.
When I look at the benefits of home educating, it makes me excited, BUT I would be lying if I didn’t say there are some downsides to it as well.
It’s not fair to only represent the one side, because I am a little bias ;)
Here is a list of the cons or disadvantages of homeschooling.
- Expense, although this can vary depending on what curriculum you use and whether you have funding or not
- Living on one income (not all homeschoolers, but many do)
- Less time to do the things you’d like to do and less time for yourself
- Constantly in each other’s space (especially if the children share rooms)
- Being together 24/7 (also a benefit)
- Teaching multiple grade levels at a time
- It’s a huge time commitment
- Dealing with nay sayers and negativity
- No monetary gain
- Not a lot of encouragement-it’s a bit like trying to swim upstream
There were a few “disadvantages” that I would have to disagree with. I beg to differ seeing them as “disadvantages:
- Reduced competition…I think anyone with siblings (especially the same gender) has a fair amount of competition and not all competition in school is good competition.
- Missed Experiences…hmmm well there are definitely a lot of “experiences” I’m happy for my kids to miss out on.
- Lack of Social development…I think this one is funny. Who decides who is socially developed? Maybe what they’re saying is that homeschoolers are more likely to be socially awkward? In my experience in every school setting or even in different countries there were those who were not “socially developed”. Seems to me it’s universal.
There you have it; a list of pros and cons to homeschooling.
Are there any that I've missed? What are some of the pros and cons that you experience in home schooling?