While we were talking about homeschool the other day, my husband gave me the task of writing about the pros and cons of homeschooling.
What are the homeschooling pros and cons, the good and the bad; the delightful and monotonous? The sheer size of information, Google’s inability to understand our search queries, holier than thou Christians, smart kids, and freedom! That covers some of the bases.
There are many things to consider when choosing a school for your child. This article discusses the two types of childhood schooling which are most commonly found at center stage; homeschool and public school.
HomeSchooling Pros and Cons: Is homeschooling good or bad?
While you’ll typically find opinions on both sides of this argument for homeschooling pros and cons, depending on the particular choices made for each individual child; I assume you really want to know what will make you burst into song as woodland creatures surround you in a meadow and what will make you want to eat a poisoned apple in an attempt to escape your dreary routine. Right?
Well, I happen to have personal experience with both of these types of schooling; both as a student and as a parent. Hopefully my experience will help answer the questions about homeschooling pros and cons.
First, let’s explore some basic points to consider about what makes homeschooling both desirable and undesirable, since you’re actually asking about the topic of homeschool.
Homeschooling Pros and Cons: Successful Homeschoolers and the Benefits of Homeschooling vs Public Schooling
If you’re looking for more freedom, choices, and time with your children but less rules, restrictions, and exposure to undesirable behavior; homeschooling might be for you. Here are some of the great things about keeping your kiddos in the nest: The pros of, homeschooling pros and cons.
- Curriculum can be tailored to each child’s needs – Anyone who has ever really looked at the way a public-school operates will quickly realize that every student is expected to learn the same way. Those students whom require a different educational format can easily be labelled as slow or dumb, be medicated to ease the teacher’s burden instead of attending to the child’s burden or be pushed to the wayside until the child eventually “drops out” to seek his own path. In a homeschool environment, the teacher (usually mom or dad) already have a good idea about whether each child learns better by sight, sound, or touch. They know if videos, books, lectures, or hands on activities help their child or if it’s just busywork or a boring waste of time for that child.
- Curriculum can be tailored to your own personal preferences – If you ever wished you could…homeschooling lets you! Want to incorporate your religion? Go for it! Want to include all of the religions? You bet. Whether you’d like a schoolroom with desks lined up in front of a chalkboard or a session sitting indian-style under the tree, if you’re politically correct or politically incorrect, creative or disciplined, rigid or relaxed; homeschooling allows you to create the atmosphere you prefer.
- Make your own schedule – Owning your own life means making your own schedule; and even if you work for yourself, sending your children to a public school means you still have someone bossing you around. In this case they’re just using your kid to do it. Cut the cord to principals, teachers, and superintendents who tell you and your children when you get to travel and participate in extracurricular activities, or what time you should set the alarm clock or go to bed. Have the time to take your student to a mid-week concert, visit another state, or simply sleep in on Monday mornings.
- More time with your children – Now, some people would argue that spending more time with their kids would drive them to running away from home; and we’re talking about the parents skipping town, not the kids. But my question to these nay-sayers is, “Are your children exposed to people and behaviors which you don’t like?”. If they attend a public school, the answer to that question is always, always, forever until the end of time ALWAYS, “Yes.” The fact of the matter is that if you don’t hand-pick the people which your children are exposed to on a daily basis, your children will not act as you expect them to. THIS is why people don’t want more time with their children. The solution is to be the main influence in their life and to spend more time in their presence. Do that and you’ll see why this is in our list of Homeschooling Pros.
- Better behaved children – If the above description of disobedient children describes your little bundle of joy, remedy that problem by homeschooling. Consider the fact that any child that attends a public school is encouraged to socialize with each other, regardless of undesirable personality traits, or the presence of poor values and morals. Daily exposure to a future con-artist or serial killer doesn’t help your child learn to socialize, it helps them incorporate bad behavior into their own characteristics.
- Less arbitrary rules – I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being told what to do. In a homeschool environment, if you decide to start school at 10:00 am or take the whole day off from school, you won’t risk being fined for truancy. In fact, if you and your family are night-owls, go ahead and do school in the middle of the night. Homeschooling can free you from unnecessary rules set by bossy politicians and public-school bureaucrats … depending on where you live. I say depending, because some states have more homeschooling regulations than others. That’s one reason that I’m glad we homeschool in Texas; less rules and oversight. But whichever state you list on your driver’s license, homeschooling will always have less rules. Don’t believe me? Try going to the bathroom without permission in a public school.
- More socialization choices – The #1 and most irritating question that homeschoolers receive is about how we will “socialize” our children if they aren’t attending a school focused on socialized education. Even more irritating is the fact that these people ignore our explanation that homeschoolers are generally more social in the community due to their freedom to roam about during the day. What these people asking this question may not realize is that they’re wanting to know why we choose not to send out children to politically Socialist schools. That’s right. The U. S. education system was based on a system designed by Soviet Russia. It has nothing to do with making friends and everything to do with controlling a group of people by programming them to do what other people in their group are doing. And should I mention that Soviet Russia was closed off to the rest of the world in an effort to aid their government in controlling its population? Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t encourage my children to follow the crowd, and I definitely would never tell them to jump off a cliff just because their friends do. Homeschooling, however, allows children to learn to socialize in a healthy environment, by encouraging proper interactions with the community beyond the random groups of children and their government employed babysitters.
- More choice in vacationing – Besides the fact that you’ll have more free time with your children, you’ll also find that homeschooling allows you to take more vacations and day trips (or what the public-school calls field trips). Soon, you’ll discover that going to Six Flags or the museum is much more enjoyable when all of the public schoolers and their parents are locked away in their cages … I mean sitting at their desks. There will be less crowds and more availability for reservations; plus, you can find great deals to save money at many spots with peak vs. off-peak seasons, like those we find at campgrounds and RV parks.
- No after school homework – I feel sorry for kids that spend 8 hours a day and five days a week at school, only to come home and do even more schoolwork. What’s the point? If our jobs required this, we’d quit in a heartbeat. Yet, millions of people are hunched over the kitchen table every night, arguing, screaming at each other, and feeling completely burnt out on schoolwork. Where’s the joy in that? Here’s the good news, schools issue homework because it’s a very efficient way to help children learn…it’s self-taught and parent led. The even better news is that you can cut out the nonsense by ONLY doing homework. Just cut out the brick and mortar school and get the homework done within regular working hours, not after. Ya dig?
Homeschooling Pros and Cons: Why is Homeschooling Bad and the Arguments Against Homeschooling
If you’ve made it this far, you might be ready to yank those kids outta the school and plop them down in front of a book at the kitchen table, but you’d soon start questioning your own sanity. So, before we start making rash decisions, let me clue you in to a few of the things that I wish one of those rainbow and unicorn homeschooling mothers had mentioned. The cons of, homeschooling pros and cons.
- Double Taxes – You might not realize it, but you pay school taxes to fund that public school down the road. It’s either built into the price of your rent, or if you own your home a bill shows up in the mailbox every year. What’s more, the public school is exempt from paying taxes on anything, and that includes utilities, supplies, land, vehicle registration, and the mop the janitor uses to clean up. Let’s also mention that the teachers are able to buy supplies with discounts, as well (ask me for my opinion on these “poor souls” having to spend their own money on school supplies. I dare ya). Even though homeschoolers don’t use these facilities or supplies, they are still forced help fund the public school ON TOP of their own school expenses. And speaking of providing their own supplies, they pay regular taxes on all of it. There is no homeschool-teacher’s discount or tax exemption on the electric bill for the private school operated in a house (aka, a homeschool). Just think about that for a moment. Homeschoolers save tax-paying citizens money by reducing the number of children in government schools and are rewarded by being taxed even more. Now, I personally believe lots of the conspiracy theories surrounding this topic, but I’ll leave it at that. It’s gonna cost you more to homeschool than it costs the state to provide educational opportunities.
- Keeping records – It takes a lot of self-discipline to document every single assignment for every single student, especially when you don’t have a boss dictating what you should do. What’s more, a simple Google search for help on keeping homeschool records will turn up thousands of do-it-yourself planners, but no real advice. The reason for this is because, as I mentioned, no one has the self-discipline to just get it done. In the end, many homeschool teachers end up rushing to prepare transcripts, GPA’s, and documentation of extracurricular activities. Let me give you a word of advice; if you struggle to pay your regular monthly bills or keep the oil change in your car, keeping up with homeschool records is going to be a big ol’ CON for you.
- Stress – On top of funding your child’s education and keeping records, you’re going to find a lot of more stressful situations to deal with while homeschooling. First, simply choosing the right curriculum for your child will overwhelm you (millions? Yes, probably millions of choices); then, you’ll have to handle the fact that those sweet cherubs you gifted upon the world never, never, never leave your sight. They’ll be right there while you get dressed, they’ll be bursting in the bathroom while you poop, and literally walking behind you making a mess as you clean up the disaster they created five minutes ago. Even more stressful is the fact that you will have no one to blame for their poor schoolwork and conduct. It’ll all be your own fault. If that sounds unappealing, and you’d rather have a convenient scapegoat on which to unleash your little tyrants, find you a nice public school to send them to each weekday morning, and enjoy your coffee after the bus shuttles them away.
- Finding support for children with learning and physical disabilities – I know I’ve been a bit sarcastic, but this one is a real, true life conundrum. Homeschoolers generally homeschool because something was lacking in the public school, but if you need outside help for learning or physical disabilities you will only have two choices. Pay out of pocket for private assistance or … go to the public school. If your child needs speech therapy, you’re going to be referred to the local school. Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Auditory and Language Processing Disorders, and an array of other disabilities will get you referred to the public-school system. And if you choose not to use the public-school based resources, you’re on your own, pal. Believe me, I’ve hit the brick wall when searching for resources for my own son, who was born with a cleft-lip and palate. There’s not much out there for any kid not enrolled in public school (and since this is the Homeschool CONS, I won’t go into why that one hour a week of assistance is a joke).
- Deciding on curriculum – If you decide to homeschool, you’re going to have a huge decision to make concerning the curriculum you use. First, there’s lots of types and styles of homeschool curriculum including (and not anywhere near being limited to) religious, secular, written, video, audible, self-taught, Charlotte Mason, classical, online, unschool, workbook, unit, all inclusive, and many, many more. That’s just what popped into my mind as I typed! Once you do a bunch of research on types and styles, you’ll still have to narrow it down and figure out the brand that looks the most appealing. And you’ll also need to consider your budget; some of this stuff isn’t cheap, especially when the cost is per child/per year. That’s 13 years (including kindergarten) times 4 kids (or however many little people you’ve popped out). At $500 per kid, that’s $2000 a year or $26,000 to get them all graduated (and keep in mind that’s only for basic materials; it doesn’t include pencils, paper, binders, computers, extra curriculars, etc.). You’re going to find things you like and can’t afford; and you’ll find things you can afford but just not quite a good fit for you. And I guarantee that once you finally make the decision on which curriculum to use, you’ll change your mind once you actually start using that hard-sought-after curriculum. And the great search will be on again. In fact, it’s not uncommon for homeschoolers to ditch a curriculum mid-year, sometimes two or three times a year when they find that its just not working for their child.
- Christianity – Christians saturate everything in homeschooling and can be quite exclusive (meaning excluding you if you don’t agree with them). I know that ruffles some feathers, but too bad. It needs to be said. I’ve heard and read some terribly prideful, hurtful, unchristian stuff coming from some very devout Christian homeschoolers, makers of curriculum, and leaders of homeschool groups. I’ve been told only Christians should be allowed, only Christian-based curriculum is good enough, only Christianity is to be tolerated (or that persons idea of Christianity). It’s all very mean and spiteful, and I guarantee that you will at some point become a victim of it; even if, like me, you are a Christian. If you aren’t a Christian, your struggle might be even more strenuous simply due to the number of Christians in the homeschooling community. You’re going to need a thick skin to wade through these hypocritical people and find your own homeschooling peers.
Seclusion and Lonliness– Being different can get lonely. A sense of segregation, isolation, and seclusion is liable to permeate your household when you’re living in a community where everyone attends public school and many community activities and events are announced exclusively through the public school. You’ll even notice that you have less to say and less in common with close family and friends. They’ll drop away and stop wanting to get together. And you’ll even notice some of them labelling you as a know-it-all when you speak of your homeschooling activities, the quality of your child’s schoolwork and grades, or just your opinion about anything related to children. You’re going to lose friends. Often, homeschoolers try to create groups and co-ops to offset this, but not everyone lives near to these groups or can find one in which they feel comfortable (especially when the above CON is a factor). One day, you’ll walk out on the porch and realize that you haven’t spoken to anyone except your spouse and kids, stepped outside, or even left the driveway in weeks. You’ll stop getting dressed unless you’re going to the store for something you can’t get Amazon to deliver to your doorstep. And even then, you’ll use Wal-Mart’s pick-up service so that your house-shoes and old sweatpants won’t be seen in public. And then, you’ll feel bad for your kids. You used to be so fun and outgoing, but now you don’t go anywhere. Take my advice, homeschooling runs the risk of becoming a big pit of isolation if you don’t pay attention, plan some activities, and fight the urge to cancel them. And at some point, you’ll forget.
Homeschooling Pros and Cons: Final Score – Is Homeschooling Worth the Hassle?
This is it; the final tally. Is homeschooling worth the hassle? Do the Pros Outweigh the cons? Well, yeah they do! Of course, that’s just my opinion; and the only real way to answer that question is to take the plunge yourself. But I can tell you this; while there are some people that have decided homeschool wasn’t a viable option for them at the moment, I’ve yet to meet or speak with anyone that wishes they had never tried homeschooling their children in the first place.
Sure, you’ll have rough days, times when you wish you could just get away, or give this huge responsibility to someone else; and then your seven year old kiddo will sit down at the piano and peck out a bit of stilted Beethoven, and your soul will sigh with contentment. “Thank goodness,” you’ll think to yourself, “Thank goodness I had the nerve to take the plunge.”
Here is a great video about homeschooling pros and cons, by Little Footsteps Big Learning. She makes some good points and she is probably nicer at saying it than I am… :)