Knowing what to expect or at least as close to what to expect as possible before making the decision to homeschool your children will only help to reduce some of the uncertainty leading to possible fear. Homeschooling your children is so much more than just work. It is an investment in not only their futures but the future of society. Ok thats a bit dramatic, but this is a major decision you are making and you want to enter into it with all the facts.
It is important to make a pros and cons list when making any decision but especially a decision that will literally change your life and shape your kids futures.
The decision to homeschool is not one to be taken lightly. You are choosing the method in which your child will be prepared for their future. Even though you are majorly responsible for their development if they attend public school, which homeschool you are solely and independently 100% responsible for your child’s learning and development. Here is a list of pros and cons that I have compiled throughout my research.
Benefits to Homeschooling (Pros)
- Schedule – The first thing that comes to everyones mind when you consider homeschooling is the schedule. No bells, no clocks, and no teacher managing your every minute. With homeschooling you are free to structure your schedule as you see fit. Take brakes when you want, trips when you want, and schedule appointments when you want. Even though there is no dictated schedule, structure is very important so you will see Schedule appear in the cons list a little later.
- Pace – Some kids learn faster than others and some learn a little slower. With homeschooling you can focus more time and attention on subjects that are troublesome and breeze through those that seem almost second nature. Adjust the pace of you learning to make up time from a trip or prepare for one. Just because you can take your schoolwork on the cruise boat doesn’t mean you have to.
- Flexibility – Some days your just not feeling it… I get it! Homeschooling will provide the flexibility to move past a subject and return at a later date or time. 30 minutes of engaged learning will be so much more beneficial than an hour of struggle. It will also preserve your relationship too.
- Dedicated Learning Resources – When you homeschool its one on one learning. You might share your teachers time with a brother or sister; however, chances are you wont be competing with 20 other students for a few minutes of time from the teacher.
- Choice in Education – With so many different programs and curriculums out there you really have a choice in the education you choose. As long as you hit all the subjects the supporting material and method in which you teach and learn the material is left almost entirely up to you.
- Back Yard Schooling — there is nothing like real world experience to assist the learning process. When studying american history you can take trip and explore your country. Science class becomes interactive and experiments will have the neighbors peering over the fence to check out the action. The freedom to move around town or around the country to teach and learn different topics is a huge benefit.
- Emotional Safety – Lets face it. Bullying and emotional abuse is plastering the news stations every night. Social development is important but the avoidance of potential relentless ridicule is a clear benefit. There are many other ways to ensure your child has the emotional and social development needed to continually succeed in society.
- Physical Safety – It is possible to be over controlling and overbearing and ensuring your child’s physical safety shouldn’t be your only motivation to homeschooling; however, it is a major benefit.
- Religious Freedom – Many schools have eliminated pray and even the pledge of allegiance form the daily routine. Homeschooling will allow you to incorporate daily prayer, devotion, and even a bible based course throughout your curriculum. For many of us our faith is the foundation of who we are and what we will become. This is an integral part of development and should be a part of the daily routine.
- Cost – It can be more cost effective to homeschool your child. Research has shown that the average cost to a family for a public school child is $5000. The average cost for a home school child is $500. Many homeschool packages come with all the supplies you need and you don’t need to worry about costly uniforms or the latest fashion trends that will be forgotten next week. My wife writes a very popular lifestyle and fashion blog MegForIt.com so believe me I know fashion is important; however, brandname fashion is not.
Negatives to Homeschooling (cons)
- Time – It’s a fact that Homeschooling takes time! For you the teacher it takes time to review and prepare for the lessons and make sure that you are familiar with the material. Now you might be able to fake it in the early years but the older your child gets the more likely you will need to do some refreshing yourself. Also, you will loose the freedom of dropping the kids off at school and having some time to yourself for hobbies or household chores.
- Finances – I listed in the pros that the cost of homeschooling is about $4,500 less than funding a public school child but the time commitment required most likely negates the ability for both parents to work. If your both nurses and work 12 hours shifts then it would be possible to keep two incomes but that eliminates the family time that is often one of the valuable pros to homeschooling.
- Extra Curricular Activities – These activities will require you to do some searching to find and coordination to sign up. The local library, parks and recreation department, or your homeschool group are great places to look for these types of activities.
- Criticism – we talked about the emotional and physical safety benefit in the pros section. I am listing criticism here because this one will most likely be directed at you, the parent. Friends and even family will question your decision to homeschool your child. People think homeschool kids are different, and they are. Most are more engaged, further developed, and suffer from less scars than kids who may have attended public school. (This one always makes me a little defensive)
- Schedule – now this one appeared in the pros list also. The lack of schedule is a defiant pro, as long as you are focused and self disciplined enough to create and stick to your own schedule. Planning out lessons and having a routine throughout the day are necessary for success. The flexible or even lack of schedule is a major PRO but can rapidly turn to a major CON if you stay on summer vacation mode year round.
- Multiple Kids – this can become difficult to manager. When you have multiple kids in multiple different grades sometimes the schedules and lessons can get a little confusing. If you kids are close in age this might not be such an issue. The good thing is that homeschooling really teaches independence so your child will be self directing through a lesson while you focus on the other child.
- Lack of “Teachers” – Teachers that teach in a school setting receive regular training and development. There is also a type of quality control that happens on a consistent basis. In the homeschool environment chances are you have had no formal education as a teacher and you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder. Seeking resources and personal development throughout your homeschool career are extremely important to your success.
- College Preparation – this is not so much of an issue as it was when homeschooling first became popular. Now there are several homeschool groups and curriculums that guide and assist you through this process.
- Social Development – A noticeable difference between the public school classroom and the homeschool classroom is the number of students. Social interaction is important and as a homeschool child your as the teacher will need to ensure that your child is receiving exposure to other groups of kids. Homeschool groups and extra curricular activities are a great way to assist in this social development.
- Never Being Alone – Being with your kids 24/7 can be challenging. Even though we try to make every positive and negative experience a learning one your do need a brake from time to time. It is easy to become glued to a routine, even thought that might be what your trying to escape by home schooling. Make a specific point to have date night and alone time for each of you and this potential con will be ultimately negated.
Now with this list of Pros and Cons in mind you are better equip to start making the decision to homeschool your children. .