Are you confused between homeschool vs. public school? It’s a difficult task to wake up every day to get your child ready for school. Your child, too, hates the idea of parting ways with you only to go to school and start the ordeal all over again. Some of us parents wish to avoid formal schooling for good. In a tech-driven world, this type of schooling doesn’t hold as much meaning as it did earlier. So, is homeschooling a possibility? While the debate between the merits and demerits can go on, making an informed decision is what can make your life easy and ensure that your child is making the most of their precious years to learn and grow to their fullest potential. We have compiled a list of the pros and cons of homeschooling to help you make an informed choice regarding your kid’s schooling.
What Is Homeschooling?
Education is not the learning of the facts, but the training of the mind to think. – Albert Einstein
Homeschooling is educating the child at home. Also known as home education, homeschooling is legal in several parts of the world, including the UK, the US, and other countries. Dissatisfaction over the curriculum, the methods of teaching, and religious concerns are a few reasons why parents choose not to send their child to a public school.
Like a public and a private school system, homeschooling also has its pros and cons. But what form of education is best for your child? How do you determine if homeschooling is better and works for you and your children?
Keep reading to know.
Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling
Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Woolf, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexander Graham Bell, Julian Assange, and Emma Watson.
These are some of the many who were homeschooled for some or most of their childhood. And they became successful. Then there were some who were not as successful and wished they had a proper public school education.
Advantages of homeschooling
Although it is considered to be an alternative form of education, homeschooling is one of the oldest forms of education in the world. That’s right.
People were taught at home by parents or designated tutors before the onset of the public schooling system. Public schools and private schools may have become the norm these days, but there are still people who prefer homeschooling to the modern education system. Here are ten reasons why.
1. One-on-one teaching
The average size of a class in American public schools ranges between 19 and 35, depending on the region (1). A public school teacher has to focus on all the children in the class, while in homeschooling, the parent mostly focuses only on one child.
A school teacher cannot always help a student when he or she needs it. But in homeschooling, your child gets help with the subject immediately. If more than one kid is learning the same lessons, the parent’s attention may be a bit divided. But it is better than the little attention that a child may get at school.
In one-to-one teaching, the teacher always has an idea of what the student knows about the subject and what he doesn’t. In addition to this, a homeschooling parent also has the freedom to dwell on a particular topic for longer, if the child needs time understanding it.
2. Flexible schedules
If your kid goes to a public school, you certainly need an early alarm every day! You race against time every morning in an attempt to get your child to school in time. In all the chaos, the child sometimes misses breakfast, the most important meal of the day.
Choose to homeschool, and you won’t have to go through the crazy morning routines. Your mornings will be more relaxed, and you can change your study or play schedules according to your child’s or your comfort.
That said, it is recommended that you have a daily schedule and try to follow it to teach the child discipline. You can change the schedules weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
3. Learning for knowledge, not grades
School going kids need good grades to move up to higher classes. Competition encourages them to do better than the others and score more to get into premier universities. This remains their focus when they go to a school. While they do learn the subject, the learning may not be enough for the sake of knowledge.
The absence of competition in homeschooling encourages the child and the parent to focus on learning for the sake of knowledge and implementation.
4. Control of the curriculum
Have you ever thought, “I wish they taught this to my kids at school”? Well, if you choose to homeschool, you can stop wishing and start teaching them what you think is important. Whether it is religious studies, humanities, or simple manners, you can add it to your curriculum. Similarly, you can decide how much of a subject the child is going to learn and when he is going to learn it.
You can include more subjects that your child has a keen interest in, remove what you think is inappropriate or irrelevant for his or her age. You also have the freedom to include your family’s values, which is not possible in a public school.
You can also choose your own learning styles or tailor your teaching to fit the child’s dominant learning style. You can make it a combination of online modules and text book reading, or you can limit your teaching to online modules alone.
5. Saves time
You need to take care of several things when the child goes to school. A lot of time is spent every day in getting ready for school. Traveling to and fro, waiting for the school bus, and much more. Homeschooling saves you that time and also removes the need for homework. You can make the child learn and remember what he or she learned during the study hours so that you can use the rest of the day for other productive activities.
6. Parent-child bonding
Homeschooling allows you to spend more time with your child every day, and you get to know each other better. Spending productive time together is also one of the best ways to teach your child manners, social or public behavior, and personal boundaries.
7. Safe learning environment
The world is not a bad place. But there are bad people who can considerably harm your child. Bullying, sexual assault, negative influence, and mental or physical abuse are some of the things that the child is vulnerable to in the outside world. Homeschooling helps you keep your child protected from the harmful social elements to an extent.
Also, you won’t have to worry about sending the child out to school on a bad weather day!
8. Less paperwork
Projects, assignments, tests, and homework – these are the things that a school-going kid is usually bombarded with. Add to it the pressure of completing these tasks on time, you have a stressed out child or teenager. Homeschooling is sans such paperwork, and therefore less stressful.
In fact, you can use technology to teach your child at home. For instance, you can use online learning resources to deliver lessons on complex topics in math or science.
9. Focus on child’s talents
Public school education focuses on exposing the child to multiple subjects and topics. So a school-going kid may know more but only to a limited extent. That is not necessarily the case with homeschooling. In homeschooling, you can focus on one subject or a specific topic that your child is interested in.
Disadvantages of homeschooling
In the US, there are around 73.8 million children, who are below the age of 18 (2). Of them, only around 2.3 million children are home-schooled, while the rest go to public or private schools (3). Homeschooling may be better than public schools in some ways, but it is not for everyone. Here’s why.
When you choose to homeschool, you don’t have to worry about tuition fee, transport, food, and stationery costs. So you may think that homeschooling is less expensive when compared to public schools.
But is it? Think about it.
When you choose to educate your child at home, you (or your spouse) have to put your career goals or ambitions aside and shift your focus to teaching the child. That means you have one less paycheck in the family and more or less the same expenses.
2. Lack of structure
Public schools are more structured and have a better-planned curriculum than home-schools. The school’s system has tried and tested teaching methodologies, credible sources of information, and standardized assessments .
A homeschooling parent has limited resources and has to rely on self not only to create a structure but also to adhere to it. That is easier said than done.
3. Limited coverage of subjects
Public school education exposes your child, although minimally, to a variety of topics. From different branches of math, science, humanities, literature, and language, your child has some knowledge about each of these subjects. Children have to learn and understand these subjects to get good grades and move up to higher classes.
In homeschooling, parents can choose to limit or even eliminate the subject from their curriculum, leaving the child with no knowledge of it. Also, it is not possible for a parent to teach complex topics in subjects such as math, physics, chemistry, or calculus unless they are experts. This limits the amount of information that a child gets through homeschooling.
4. Absence of skilled and trained teachers
Homeschooling parents are not necessarily trained or skilled in delivering education. In most cases, parents do not have first-hand homeschooling experience, and they are still learning the subjects. So for most part, homeschooling is an experiment for all of them. This may prevent the child from getting the quality education that trained and skilled teachers can provide in public or private schools.
5. No time apart
When you choose to homeschool, you are doubling up as a teacher. So you are going to spend all your waking time with the child on a school day. Public schools allow you to be just a “mom”. Sometimes, this may get a bit too much and leave you wanting some space.
Don’t get us wrong. Spending time with the kids is an excellent thing to do, and every parent agrees on that. But sometimes, you need time for yourself, away from the kids which a public school can give.
6. Justifying to family and friends
It is not common for a parent to choose to homeschool over public schools, especially if no one in the household has been homeschooled before. So you may find that you are almost always justifying your decision to your friends and family.
Parents who homeschool children also face social criticism often, as there are less advocates of homeschooling than there are for public schools. Yet, the trends seem to be changing with the number of people opposing homeschooling decreasing from 73% in 1985 to 54% in 2001 (4).
Another aspect that you may have to deal with is the misguided notion among children and youngsters that homeschooling kids is weird. All this criticism and questioning can even sow seeds of doubt in your mind and sooner or later, you’d end up wondering if you made the right choice.
7. No socialization
When a child is educated at home, he has little interaction with other kids of his age. Even if he does, he does not get to experience the same things as school-going children. They do not get to experience the school or class trips and projects, lunch with friends, those first crushes, and more!
Not that homeschooled children are not good at socializing but they do miss out on nice little things that the other kids enjoy.
8. Limited access to sports
You may teach your child to play a few games and sports when you homeschool them. But they may not get a chance to play team sports regularly. Homeschooling also limits their opportunity to get into professional team sports, which can even get them into universities for higher education.
Most homeschooling parents also don’t get to enjoy their summer vacations as the other parents. A lot of their time is spent preparing for the curriculum and researching for the next school year.
Many parents are now opting for homeschooling over conventional schooling. Most parents who choose to homeschool do it because they do not like the current education system, they don’t want to be separated from the child, they want to avoid the overuse of technology, etc. However, homeschooling needs a lot of perseverance and hard work from the parents, and the parent who decides to home school may have to put their career on hold. Further, the education system may lack structure, children may be deprived of a fun school environment, and they may not get as much exposure to co-curricular activities. Consider all the factors to decide the mode of schooling that would best suit your child.