The decision to homeschool is a big one, since homeschooling can change the whole tempo of your lifestyle. If you are deciding of whether or not to homeschool, the following pros and cons of homeschooling may help you make up your mind.
The first question that is almost always asked of any homeschooler is “What about socialization?” It seems to be a big fear of many individuals that homeschooled children will be shut off from the real world, and not become comfortable around others as children in public school will.
Cons of Homeschooling Socialization
The biggest cons of homeschooling socialization revolve around Mom and Dad's time. Not only do the parents need to take time to teach children, but they also need to have time to prepare lessons and plan for what each child needs to learn, individually. I feel, as a homeschooling mom, that I have far less "free time" than my public schooling counterparts. In the free time I do have, I need to find time to clean, plan, cook, and run other errands. My kids end up being a part of that.
Some people see homeschooling socialization as a con because kids don't get the chance to socialize regularly with peers their own age. For a very social kid, they would miss seeing friends on a daily basis.
Pros of Homeschooling Socialization
In fact, homeschooled children are highly socialized. They have friendships, learn to work with others, and become valuable and contributing members of society just like children in any form of schooling. Of course, if you have a small family, you may need to search a little more diligently to find children their age to play with, but this is becoming easier as more and more homeschool support groups create organized functions where children can meet together regularly.
Home can be a haven for a child who has been bullied. Many children who had a tough time in public school succeed once they are away from the distractions and fear of bullies. Homeschooling can be both a short- and long-term solution if this is the situation your child is currently facing. An advantage of homeschooling is learning in an atmosphere that is mainly free of bullying and peer pressure.
Although socialization with peers the same age is often pushed as an all-important goal of public schooling, many homeschooled children socialize with a wide variety of ages. Mixed-age play and socialization enrich their life experience and help them learn to socialize even among non-peers. I had no qualms about telling my 11-year-old to call to schedule his own haircut or ask the librarian his questions, for example. I feel his homeschool socialization has helped him come into himself at a young age!
Seeking Higher Education and Work
Some may wonder how homeschooled children could get into college. With some extra focus, it is definitely possible. In fact, some colleges love to see homeschoolers applying!
Cons of Homeschool for Seeking Higher Education and Work
To get a job, many places require a high school diploma. A high school diploma shows that a student has learned the basic things needed to get by in society. The high school provides access to classes, such as science and writing classes, that provide the pre-requisites to high education. It is sometimes difficult to recreate classes like these in the home.
Pros of Homeschool for Seeking Higher Education and Work
Homeschooled children can pursue higher education just like any other like-minded kids. Although some schools used to be hesitant about homeschooling when it was uncommon, most of them now accept homeschoolers, and some have even requested that homeschoolers apply there.
If your child is in high school, be sure to check your local (state) requirements about what a child needs in order to be considered as a graduate from high school. Although there are often alternative ways to enter college and university, it helps to have the right papers in place. For example, in my state of Illinois, my homeschool is considered a private school. I will prepare a transcript and a high school diploma to prove he has been learning.
When homeschooled children want jobs after graduation, they often benefit from the fact that they were able to volunteer when they were younger, due to having free time that public school students didn’t. Homeschool students’ comfort with self-directed learning also gives them an edge.
Opportunities for Extracurricular Experiences
Another point to consider before homeschooling is extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, and interests. As with the other subjects, there are pros and cons to homeschooling when considering extracurricular activities.
Cons of Homeschool for Extracurricular Experiences
One downside of homeschooling is that extracurricular activities are usually costly depending on the community you live in. While children in school usually receive physical education each day, homeschool families would need to seek out sports to join in, or design a physical education curriculum that would meet those same needs.
The same issue may arise for child participation in music classes, choirs, art classes and so forth. While school students may have clubs for various interests from chess to debate, homeschoolers may have a more difficult time finding such groups for homeschooling families.
Pros of Homeschool for Extracurricular Experiences
While the situation is certainly different, homeschooled children have ample opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities. Many homeschooled children are even more involved than what is common. This is often because, unlike public school students, homeschooled children may have more time for a variety of activities. Homeschooling takes much fewer hours than a classroom school day.
Homeschoolers can even count extracurricular experiences as a part of a curriculum for their own children, if they need to do so. A high schooler on a daily swim team certainly gets plenty of exercise to count for P.E. class!
Should I Homeschool?
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to homeschool is in your hands. Discuss all important aspects, and inquire about info from anyone you know who currently does this themselves. In time you will find your answer about whether homeschooling is the right journey for you and your child.
I love to help you out too. I can talk about the benefits of homeschooling all day because I've enjoyed the process so much. It' s not easy, but for me it has been worth it.
Want to hear more pros and cons of homeschooling? Check out my Yes, You Can Homeschool! video course.