The option of “Home schooling” kids has always been on mind of most parents, especially, those, who want their kids to have a more personalized education or who are unhappy with the rigidity of traditional public school, and it has become increasingly popular over the years.
According to a report by U.S Department of Education, from 1999 to 2012, the number of kids being home-schooled grew from 850,000 to 1.8 million. And National Center for Education Statistics has reported that approximately 3% of the school-age population was home-schooled in the 2011-2012 school year. These numbers may grow even more rapidly in coming months due to the widespread closure of schools and universities in an effort to protect students and the society as a whole from the life-threatening virus- COVID-19. Most schools have already transitioned to remote learning and are seeking support from parents as well. In the real-time, several parents are assessing the pros and cons of home schooling for their kids and considering a permanent change to what learning looks like for them and what does it has to offer.
In order to help these curious parents, we have enlisted few pluses and minuses of homeschooling to paint an accurate picture of what home schooling really entails, before they get started.
Pros of Homeschooling
Choice of Curriculum:
Having the “choice of curriculum” is one of the main reasons why parents choose to homeschool. Since parents have this choice, they get the freedom to choose how to teach and what to teach. For instance, if your child has a particular interest, you can spend time developing it without any pressure of completing a certain lesson before a deadline. Some parents may have a particular value-system they are willing to incorporate, while, others may have a child with special needs who needs a personalized approach and so on. The benefit of homeschooling is that there are endless possibilities! It doesn’t have any hard and fast rules to follow, as schools have.
Similar to flexibility of choosing a curriculum, homeschooling allow parents to teach their children when they’re free or at a time of their convenience. Also, children who homeschool don’t have to follow the strict routine that traditional schools set. They’ve the opportunity to take vacations in the off-season, or even change the months that are spent schooling. They can learn at any time of day that works best for them.
In a traditional school setting, classes are filled with 30-40 children that lead to numerous distractions. But, at homeschooling, there aren’t a million different distractions. It’s just you and your child; you have the complete ability to move through material quickly or slow down, as per your child’s need. In fact, adjusting the learning style and providing a one-to-one environment results in increase of the overall quality of education. There’s also far less busy work that holds children back or takes up excess time.
Homeschooling means being present for most of the milestone your ward experiences. You’re mostly there with your child; hence, there are no missing out on pivotal moments in your student’s childhood, as it is in case of sending them school. Beyond that, the relationship that develops between a parent and child during homeschooling process is one of the strongest.
College readiness and success:
There’s a common misconception about homeschooling - it doesn’t hold any value, students do not get the opportunity to get into college. However, Ivy League universities actually enroll homeschool students because of their higher success rates in college. Here, during the application process, being homeschooled helps a student stand out.
Independence and maturity:
Homeschooling is also great at making children independent and mature. When homeschooling parents can give their children assignments to complete on their own time and hold themselves responsible. They would be accountable because they are in control of their own education. Additionally, older homeschoolers have the opportunity to start working and generating income while still in school.
Cons of Homeschooling
In general, parents, at first, get anxious when the idea of homeschooling is entertained. They question themselves, whether they can do this. However, taking your child’s education into your own hands can feel overwhelming but it is a huge responsibility. And, in the beginning, when parents start homeschooling, they wonder if they are doing enough, doing it right, or doing their child a disservice. Such concerns are normal, and actually indicate something that you want the best possible education for your ward! But, for some, this leads to anxiety.
Parents (especially those, who, are employed) who are thinking about transitioning their child from traditional school to homeschool or have to transfer due to the recent pandemic, the process can seem stressful. They might have troubles in adjusting their schedule, figuring out their curriculum choices, schedules, and other activities; it can take a lot when they’re first starting out. Additionally, the longer their child has spent in traditional schooling, the harder it might be to begin homeschooling. It may take longer to move from a rigid classroom mindset to the realization that they have the freedom to learn at their pace and in their comfort zone, but this adjustment for both parents and their wards can be challenging.
Cost and lifestyle change issues:
Homeschooling could be potentially a disadvantage, but might also be an advantage. In comparison to a government school, it can cost more to homeschool your child, depending on curriculum choice you make. Yet, there are also plenty of free resources, additional study supplements or trips to the library as well. The cost of a homeschooling experience is different from family to family.
Additionally, many families planning to homeschool would have to make a change in their lifestyle too. If working, they’ll have to adjust their timings or look for work from home opportunities and also won’t have the freedom to think about other income opportunities. This may pose a financial challenge and also lead to a huge lifestyle change to get used to.
Maintaining a record of your child’s progress is a big deal. Of course, when homeschooling parents don’t have a ton of paperwork to send back to the school every week, or prepare a report card of their child’s progression. They can probably have an idea of their improvements; which is a serious challenge. In future, kids will require a transcript to apply for college and some states require proof of passing grades to get their driver’s license as well.
Extracurricular activities require more effort:
When homeschooling kids do not get opportunities like students of public school get to participate in extracurricular activities. So, if a teen loves sports and wants to pursue a sports scholarship, s/he might have a better chance of getting noticed in a public school setting. These schools also provide art, dance, drama, music and other elective classes that are alluring. To make your kids get their hands-on these amazing opportunities then, sending them school is a better option than homeschooling and keeping them devoid of such opportunities.
Making them stay back at home can be troublesome:
Homeschooling is feasible for few years only. When kids step into teenage making them stay back at home most times is difficult. Teenagers can be HARD! At times, difficult teens may want to feel like they have a personal life of rather always being associated with the family or might simply struggle with always being around younger siblings and desire some separation. If he/she has a bad attitude or struggles with motivation, he might respond better to an outside authority than at home.
Hopefully, these points may help you decide whether to practice homeschool or not. If you have had an experience, please feel free to share them with us.