The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
What are the pros and cons of homeschooling? Should you homeschool your child?
Why do parents decide to embark on such a challenging journey? Is homeschooling better?
Keep reading to learn the answer to these and other questions about homeschooling, what it is, why it has become so popular lately, and what its main advantages and disadvantages are.
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In a nutshell, homeschooling is a style of education in which “parents accept total responsibility for the education of their children rather than transferring the bulk of this responsibility to an institution.”
A progressive movement that started back in the 1970s, homeschooling was regarded at the time as an “alternative” education style, has become almost “mainstream” these days as there are ever more and more parents who decide to “educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school.”
What’s Behind the Recent Growth in Homeschooling Popularity?
Although the number of homeschool students had been growing steadily for the past few years, from the 2019-2020 school year to the 2020-2021 school year that number saw a drastic growth. According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), in 2019 there were 2.5 million homeschool students, while in 2021 that number jumped all the way to 3.7 million.
Obviously, that big jump had the COVID-19 pandemic as its main reason, but we’re still talking about impressive statistics here. That 3.7 million number represents between 6% and 7% of K-12 students in the United States.
However, before the pandemic, the homeschool population was growing at an estimated rate of 2% to 8% per year. Among the reasons for choosing homeschooling, parents mention mainly two:
- Safe Environment
- Need for individual attention
If you share these concerns, you may also share the following questions:
- Is homeschooling a good idea?
- Is homeschooling better?
Let’s make a thorough analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling to try to help you answer those questions.
Homeschooling Pros and Cons
If you want to know why homeschooling is better than traditional school while you explore the major drawbacks of homeschooling cited by critics, here you may find some answers:
Pros: Benefits of Homeschooling
Let me start exploring the main pros of homeschooling, as mentioned by homeschool parents and education experts.
1. Improved Academic Performance
Researchers have found that homeschool students perform significantly better than students from traditional schools. They also tend to score above average on the SAT and ACT tests.
2. Customized Curriculum and Learning Environment
One of the most common reasons to make the switch to homeschooling is the opportunity to customize your child’s curriculum and learning environment. A homeschooling education offers parents total control over the content studied by their children.
The opportunity to design creative and forward-thinking learning environments at home is an added bonus.
3. Flexible scheduling
Providing your child’s education at home allows for a flexible schedule adapted to your family’s specific needs.
It’s not only about the possibility of traveling whenever you may see fit (which is a great benefit in itself), but also about your child’s mind and body schedule. Some kids prefer to work in the morning, others in the afternoon, while a few more feel more focused at night. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to adapt your whole day to your child’s mental rhythm.
4. More Family Time
This is a benefit of homeschooling that tends to be overlooked, but for me the opportunity of having more family time is one of its most attractive ones.
Children grow very fast, the time we as parents have with them is quite limited. Homeschooling extends this time significantly and what’s more, it counts as “quality time” as it’s usually time spent in learning activities.
5. Avoids Negative Social Elements
A homeschool education helps you to “protect your child from harmful social elements.” From the most obvious ones of violence in schools, to a myriad of negative behaviors such as bullying, racism, and drugs to mention just a few, homeschooling undoubtedly offers a safer environment for your child.
6. Real World Success
Studies have shown that homeschooling students “succeed and perform statistically better” in adulthood than those who attended institutional schools. They also tend to participate more in community service and “go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population.”
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“It’s a great way to learn Spanish, from native Spanish speakers in a 1-on-1 environment. It’s been fairly easy to schedule classes around my daughter’s other classes. The best value for us has been ordering multiple classes at a time. All the instructors have been great!”
– Cindy D, Parent of 3
“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. I have appreciated the one on one interaction and teaching that my son gets from his teachers. He has gotten to know his teachers, which has increased his confidence in speaking Spanish. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”
– Maple, Parent of 3
“My Son, Heath, is taking the classes. He’s been with Luisa the entire time and we absolutely love her. She is always patient and is a great teacher. Heath’s dad speaks Spanish so they get to have little conversations.”
– William R, Parent of 3
Cons: Disadvantages of Homeschool
Let me now analyze some of the main homeschool disadvantages:
1. Less Socializing Opportunities
Although obviously studying at home offers more time to socialize when and with whom you may choose, it’s undeniable that one of the main benefits of a traditional school is the huge opportunity to socialize with children of the same age as your child.
Traditionally, school has been the place where people make their friends, and taking that part away from a child’s education is one of the major drawbacks of homeschooling.
An interesting solution for this issue may be found at hybrid homeschooling.
2. Requires Lots of Planning and Organization
If you think that homeschooling looks anything like the online classes your child received during the pandemic, you’re set for a big disappointment.
A proper homeschooling education is time-consuming and requires a lot of planning and an efficient organization at home. Remember, in homeschooling you’re fully responsible for your child’s education, that’s no small feat. You need to choose or design curriculums, plan activities, follow a schedule, get materials, design learning environments, find educational resources, and make all of this fit somehow in your living room.
3. Financial Challenges
While the typical US student costs the taxpayer an average of $15,240 per year, homeschool students are mostly funded by their own families. This means that the cost of your child’s education rests completely on you.
A homeschool education requires parents to spend a lot of money in books and learning materials, education platforms, stationery, furniture, and more. What’s more, choosing homeschooling usually means that at least one of the parents needs to stay at home to take care of their child’s education.
4. Limited Facilities
Even if you’re able to create an amazing learning environment at home, it’s safe to say that your homeschool classroom may lack in facilities such as “a state-of-the-art science lab or a well-equipped playground.”
As children grow and their studies become ever more complex, this limitation of space and resources tends to become more evident.
5. Loss of School-Related Experiences
It also means that homeschool students lose out on a series of experiences only available in an institutional school. I’m talking about experiences such as field trips, talent shows, Christmas concerts, Spring festivals, and sports competitions. All those things that happen in schools, but outside of the classrooms, that have educational value.
6. Limited Development of Certain Skills
Finally, one of the main cons of homeschooling from my perspective as a teacher, is that it limits the development of certain skills such as “sharing, cooperation, and collaboration,” so crucial for team-working and professional success.
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Is Homeschooling The Right Fit for Your Family?
After going through this list of homeschooling pros and cons, now it’s up to you to decide if homeschooling is the option for your child’s education. Choosing homeschooling is definitely a challenge for parents, but it also offers many benefits that have caught the attention of more and more families across the US.
Before making up your mind, you may want to take a look at this useful comparison between homeschool vs public school education that analyzes this same topic from a different perspective.
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