The idea of homeschooling isn’t a new one. In 2012, around 2 million children in the United States were being homeschooled (source). Studies show that this figure grew to about 3 million in 2019. Moreover, homeschooling became even more common since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, more than 5 million children are being homeschooled in the USA alone. Several parents consider it an excellent alternative to regular schooling in the current academic years.
However, authorities have now been offering viable educational options to attend physical classes while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. These include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, or even delaying the academic year. As a result, many parents have been unsure about what the better option for their children would be.
If you’re in the same situation, then you should know that homeschooling has both advantages and disadvantages. In this article, I have put forth both these aspects of homeschooling to help you make the right choice for your children.
Advantages of homeschooling
Homeschooling has some notable advantages that make it a viable option for your kids’ education, especially in the present time. Let’s take a look at each of them in detail.
1. It allows you to determine the schooling schedule and curriculum
Students need a proper routine and timetable to perform well in their studies. If you can organize your child’s schedule accordingly, you will help them benefit greatly from a well-disciplined structure at home.
Your kids will be able to spend more time with subjects that actually interest them or on chapters that they find more challenging. They won’t have to face the pressure of competing with other children. Also, you will have the opportunity to introduce them to subjects that aren’t usually taught at school.
2. You will be able to make education fun for your children
Let’s face it; classes at school can get quite dull and monotonous at times. We’ve all experienced it at some point or the other. At home, students don’t need to follow conventional classroom norms. Since you are in charge, you can take the opportunity to make the learning experience fun for your child. It will help them take more interest in studies and cooperate better with you.
3. You can develop strong bonds with your children
Homeschooling allows you to spend more time with your children and develop strong bonds with them. The positive teaching experiences you have with them during the teaching and learning process, including fun-filled field trips, help you both develop a good understanding of each other. Moreover, it strengthens the bonds between siblings as well.
4. It lets you provide personal improvement that teachers at school can’t offer
Every child has some specific requirements when it comes to studies and personal growth. Moreover, some children require more attention than others due to various reasons. You can give your child as much time and attention as they need at home. This isn’t possible at a school where one teacher is in charge of the entire classroom. By paying close attention to your child’s needs, you will be able to help them learn and grow better.
5. You can shelter your children from bullying and other negative behaviors at school
Bullying, violence, and peer pressure are prevalent problems that many of us have encountered at school. They can have a lasting psychological impact on your children in severe cases. Fortunately, homeschooling allows you to shelter your children from such troubles at school. It also prevents them from developing bad habits that they might learn from their classmates.
6. You will be able to assist your children during adolescence better
Adolescence, the transition period between childhood and adulthood, can be hard to deal with because of the hormonal changes. Teenagers tend to have many superficial and profound questions that often tend to go unanswered at school. As a result, they are often highly vulnerable at this stage of life. By homeschooling, you will be able to solve your child’s problems during adolescence much more quickly.
Disadvantages of homeschooling
Every coin has two sides, and the same goes for homeschooling as well. Below are the downsides to homeschooling that you need to be aware of.
1. It requires you to be around your children all day long
The first point we’ll discuss here is the more obvious one – homeschooling requires you to be with your children all the time. That will result in you having to compromise with your job greatly. You or your spouse will likely have to opt for a part-time job or leave it altogether so that one of you can homeschool the kids.
2. You will have to keep explaining your reasons for homeschooling your children to others
Our society tends to frown upon the concept of homeschooling in general. Naturally, you will encounter a lot of raised eyebrows among your friends and relatives when they find out about your decision. Choosing the path less traveled is not wrong, but you need to be prepared for such reactions. Please make sure you are confident about your decision because only then will you be able to fearlessly justify it to others.
3. You must learn how to remain patient and keep your anger in check all the time
Teaching children can be a tedious process that requires a lot of patience. Not all children learn simultaneously; some require more time than others to grasp concepts. And of course, we all know that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to different subjects.
If your child struggles with a subject or concept, you will likely find yourself growing frustrated at some point. In that case, you must learn to control your anger, give the child ample time, and appreciate them for their effort and cooperation. If you lose your temper, your bond with your children will be negatively affected.
4. You will have to spend a lot of money on books and other learning materials
You may feel that you’re saving a lot in terms of exorbitant school fees. In some ways, that is quite true. However, homeschooling can empty your wallet just as fast because of the expensive books, computers, tablets, and other learning materials that you will have to buy for that purpose.
Moreover, you need to know how to use these things effectively in order to make your children learn properly.
5. Learning at a slower pace can be quite difficult
Simulating the environment of a school at home isn’t all that simple. No matter how hard you try, it is nearly impossible to achieve the pace of a public school with the help of homeschooling. As a result, your child will inevitably end up being a few steps behind their peers.
You must learn how to deal with this disadvantage and make sure that your child doesn’t suffer drastically in the long run.
6. You must constantly strive to be an effective teacher
Effective teaching is a special quality that everybody does not possess. Merely possessing oratory skills or academic knowledge is not sufficient; you must know how to effectively communicate with your children and keep them actively involved in the process.
If you don’t have the traits of a good teacher, then your child will find it difficult to learn and grow properly in life.
7. It will stunt your child’s social skills and emotional growth
Arguably, this is the biggest disadvantage of homeschooling. Studies have proved time and again that children require a flourishing environment in order to grasp basic human traits in life. After all, they are the adult citizens of tomorrow and need to know what the world out there is actually like. That is only possible when they actively interact with other children at school, develop people skills, and learn how to handle problems by themselves.
A homeschooled child will inevitably end up feeling very lonely at some point or the other. Their personality development will falter, they will be unable to gain social skills, and they will find it difficult to make friends as adults. Psychologists have discovered that such problems can lead to severe mental issues later, such as depression.
We’ve now discussed all the essential benefits and disadvantages of homeschooling. The bottom line is – if you feel that you don’t have the patience, dedication, and resources to successfully help your children learn outside a public or private school environment, then I don’t recommend you to go for homeschooling.
If you are dissatisfied with the educational system at schools in general but cannot homeschool your kids at present, don’t worry. Apart from homeschooling, there are many ways for you to help your children learn effectively. For example, you can provide them with supplemental classes at home or take them on educational trips when time permits.
To conclude, homeschooling is a double-edged sword that you must use wisely. Make sure you carefully weigh all of its pros and cons and make an informed decision for your children’s bright future.