Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

There are many pros and cons of homeschooling that factor into the decision “should I home school my child”?  From homeschooling statistics, it's clear that homeschooling is becoming a more accepted method of education – and perhaps even trendy, but is it right for your child?  Making the decision to instruct your child from home is hardly an easy decision. There are many pros and cons of homeschooling to be considered, any of which could upset the balance of your child's educational foundation. Here are a few of the most common pros and cons of homeschooling to help you decide if it's right for your child:

Young boy with his fatherThe Pros of Homeschooling

Individual teaching attention

Continuous population growth is leading to overcrowded schools in many areas. Add this to the recent economic struggles, with many schools laying off teachers or closing altogether. This means that teachers are more overwhelmed than ever, often handling classes of 40 or more children at a time. 

Teachers are spreading themselves too thinly to provide personalized attention to children in their classes, which means your child may not receive the full benefit of their support.  Your child's educational struggles are increasingly likely to go unaddressed, resulting in poor test scores and falling behind. When homeschooled, your kids will have your undivided attention. Any learning issues or bad behaviors can be addressed and corrected quickly, helping your child reach his or her full potential.

Personalized learning  

Another important consideration in the pros and cons of homeschooling is your ability to tailor lesson plans to your child. In traditional school environments, classmates often learn at very different speeds. This helps slower learners stay on track with the class, but often leaves bright children bored and distracted. 

With homeschooling, your children can learn at their own speed. Combined with the personal attention offered by a homeschooling environment, many children who learn from home wind up ahead of the traditional educational schedule as homeschooling statistics confirm.  This environment also helps parents incorporate subjects that might not be included in the local school's curriculum, such as foreign language.

Assured safety

Perhaps one of the best arguments in favor of homeschooling is the guarantee of your child's safety. Bullying, fights and other school violence become a non-issue when your child is educated from home. Homeschooling can also help you avoid all the peripheral issues that can result from school violence, including disciplinary actions, trips to the school and therapy sessions in some cases.

The Cons of Homeschooling

Lack of social development

Of the many pros and cons of homeschooling, this is among the most commonly listed “cons.”  Keeping your child out of a traditional school environment greatly inhibits their access to other children. Even if your child gets plenty of playtime and other opportunities to meet and interact with people his own age, this is bound to add up to far less contact thanthe 30+ hours in a normal school week and can lead to home school socialization issues.

Two young children with their backs toward each otherNot learning how to properly interact within a group can sometimes result in social and behavioral issues. Children may be less inclined to share, demand personal attention by acting out, or become socially awkward and anxious. Learning to make friends and exist within a group are important life lessons that children could miss out on through homeschooling.

To offset home school socialization issues parents can create a home school schedule that includes homeschool activities such as field trips to places of interest, involvement in sports and activities at recreation centers, and meeting other home school parents through homeschool groups.

Missed experiences

Common experiences are part of the fabric of life. These forge friendships and build memories, and may be limited in a homeschooling environment. School life is filled with plenty of exciting opportunities for children, from field trips to the prom. While you can certainly provide cultural and other opportunities while homeschooling your child, these are not the same as the child would experience in a group of his or her peers. As with the social interactions provided by a traditional school environment, the opportunity to participate in special events and other commonalities can help children better adjust in society.

Reduced competition

Blue ribbonCompetition often breeds achievement, and homeschooled children are generally not provided with competitive opportunities. Traditional schooling fixtures such as team sports, spelling bees, and school play tryouts all encourage your child to do their very best. These things give children something to strive for, and to uncover natural aptitudes that might go untapped in homeschooled environments. 

While you and your child can still seek non-scholastic teams and other competitive hobbies, this generally requires prior interest in a topic. The school system, on the other hand, naturally provides several competitive paths for children to try without provocation.

While weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling, it's important to remember that you can have an impact on whichever path you choose.  For example, your homeschooled children can become just as socially adept as their peers with careful planning. Children enrolled in traditional school can still benefit from the time and tutelage of an attentive parent. Only you can decide if homeschooling is the right choice for your children, but making an informed choice on the matter will put them in position for a robust educational future.

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