The concept of homeschooling is not new; it has been around for a very long time. However, there has been a surge in homeschoolers and the diversity of people adopting the practice in the last two decades.
One study found that homeschoolers have doubled since 1999, reaching 1.8 million in 2016. That’s a lot! The current year of writing this is 2022, and we know (based on recent events) that that number should be hitting 3 million now. Why?
The Covid-19 pandemic happened! And we saw schools across the country shut down and begin to offer alternative means of education, including hybrid models and virtual learning.
Although things are much better now, it is safe to assume that some parents and students are now comfortable with schooling from home and have stuck with it. Besides comfort, some parents may be concerned about their children contracting the virus in school and aren’t willing to take the chance.
If you’re considering homeschooling your kids, you should know that it has many advantages and disadvantages. You shouldn’t decide based on one or two benefits; always consider the pitfalls.
We have compiled some of the benefits and limitations of homeschooling to help you make a more informed decision. We encourage you to weigh your options before deciding because your choice will affect your family.
The Benefits of Homeschooling
Home education can be a productive and exciting experience for you, the parent, and your kids. The following benefits
1. The Flexibility to Plan Your Schedule
As a parent, this is one of the biggest attractions of homeschooling your child. You can choose and plan and execute. And all of this is possible because you are the homeschool planner, principal, manager, and teacher in this school.
Homeschooling allows you to plan daily activities, ensuring that you have time to do everything else while still educating your child. You can still pick up the groceries, visit the laundromat, and teach your kids. It doesn’t end there!
The flexible nature of homeschooling also means that you can choose the homeschool curriculum and determine the best way to achieve learning. Some schools decide against teaching certain subjects, but that doesn’t have to be the case in your homeschool. If you believe that subject is worthwhile, you can go right ahead.
Flexibility also means you can customize teaching to suit your ward, especially if they are special needs children. That way, learning is personalized and more effective, and you can advance according to their pace.
2. Strengthens Parent-Child Bond
Relationships are stronger and better when there is communication, companionship, and support. You can achieve all of these fairly easily when you homeschool. If not anything, you are always there with your kids – teaching, encouraging, helping, and giving them all the love. That’s quality time, and nothing else compares.
On top of that, you will be there for every milestone, promotion, and success. Being there to celebrate with your kids and cheer them on is an excellent bonding experience for you and your kids. And it’s not just the happy times. When they don’t do well, you’re there to reassure them and plant positive affirmations against depression or frustration. And that’s arguably more effective than being in a traditional school.
Ah yes! Beyond academic activities, you can achieve stronger bonds with field trips, grocery shopping, seeing a movie together, etc. Homeschooling gives you enough time to fit these into your schedule. Beyond the parent-child relationship, you can also boost sibling-to-sibling bonds through homeschooling. Isn’t that amazing?
3. Ensures Our Children Get the Best Care
With your children within your reach every day, ensuring they get the best care is more effortless. You can make it happen by providing healthy food cravings, exercise routines, getting enough rest, and daily nutrient requirements. While it is possible to achieve this with regular school, homeschooling makes it more efficient.
Homeschooling your kids also helps you ensure they’re not doing anything that might hurt them. For instance, if your child gets heartburn after eating cinnamon, you can ensure everything they eat has no trace of cinnamon. On the flip side, if your kids had to go to regular school every day, they could consume foods that include cinnamon or anything they’re allergic to. And the effects can be life-threatening.
4. Personalized Learning
Home learning allows you to customize teaching methods according to your children’s needs. You can focus on areas where they are struggling and be patient with them. For instance, if your child is underperforming in a subject, you can spend more time explaining the concepts.
Also, because every child is different, it is best to use different approaches to communicate with them. Some students learn faster, some don’t, and some assimilate better with a particular style or method of teaching. When you realize these differences, you can tailor teaching to each child’s unique needs (if you have more than one). It is easier to achieve academic progress with this approach.
No child has this level of focused and individualized education in a traditional school.
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The Downsides of Homeschooling
1. Little to No Personal Time
Let’s be honest with ourselves; if you plan to homeschool your children, you should also know that you will have less time for yourself. Homeschooling is a tiring, time-consuming job. If you thought you were busy before as a stay-at-home parent, that was child’s play. This is the real deal!
Every day, you will wake up to being a parent and teacher, which includes getting the kids ready for daily activities, preparing meals, teaching, and putting up with children’s tantrums. If it sounds like a handful, it’s because it is! Homeschool programs can be challenging, and it’s not for everybody. If you believe that you can manage all these, go for it.
Here’s something that can help ease the pressure: Create routines and judiciously follow them. If you’re an exercise brat, you might want to make time for it at dawn before the kids wake or have exercise time for everyone later in the day. If you don’t plan every day, it will get overwhelming, and you might regret deciding to homeschool.
2. Reduced Social Interaction
We are all social beings, and relating with other people contributes to our growth in every facet of life. Keep in mind that home-based education isolates your child from activities with other students they would have had if they were in regular school.
Social interactions are crucial to child development—for example, classroom conversations, group assignments, dance rehearsals, workshop classes, etc. Your child will miss out on all of these. But, all hope is not lost. You have to create opportunities for social interaction beyond what they will have with you. Be creative here; think about those experiences they would have had in school and recreate them at home.
You can occasionally invite other kids from the neighborhood to play and learn together and develop fun projects that involve interaction with people other than yourself. Your kids will appreciate the effort.
3. Heavy Workload for You
Now you know that you will have less time for yourself, and well, that’s because you will be extremely busy every day. Homeschooling demands that you wear many hats, including those you’re already wearing. The hats? You’re now the teacher, counselor, curriculum provider, and principal of this school you’ve created in your home.
Performing these roles alongside your domestic duties and possibly professional ones can be too much for anybody. And if you have younger kids that aren’t school-ready, you’d have to teach the older ones and find a way to keep little Katie occupied all day. It’s a lot, a lot of work.
So, go for homeschooling with your eyes wide open. Some parents started it, saw the reality of things, and scampered back to the original arrangement. And that’s because they thought homeschooling was easy peasy, and it’s not. But if you’re prepared for the job, it could be (not easy, though, let’s stick with manageable).
4. Overwhelming Togetherness
Not sure that’s the correct expression, but you get the point, right? You know they say too much of everything is bad; it applies in this case. Having to see your kids every day and almost every minute of every hour can be too much. That’s a lot of attention!
You may find frustration slowly creeping in if you don’t nip it in the bud. What can you do? Take breaks! Let the kids have time for themselves and others. You can also find and team up with another homeschooling family (or a non-homeschool family) in the area and send your kids there sometimes.
If you’ve read this far, you know whether homeschooling is a fantastic idea or not. As a prospective homeschooling parent, you want to discuss and weigh the pros and cons with your spouse before making a final decision. If the positives outweigh the downsides in your books, go ahead to homeschool. But be prepared for everything homeschooling throws at you.
And don’t forget to bring your kids into the conversation and see what they think about it. After all, if they have zero interest, learning will be impossible. If everyone is on board, a good first step is to get a comprehensive guide on how to homeschool.
This post originally appeared on Hello Sensible.