Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

Do you want to learn more about the pros and cons of homeschooling?

If you really want to spark a firestorm, try telling a parent that they are making the “wrong” educational choices for their child. You might want to duck when you say it. Why? Because those are fighting words! Seriously, there is no perfect educational choice. There is no Magic 8 Ball that will reveal the correct choice for your child. So instead, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of homeschooling and public schooling. Public School ProsFacilities--The modern public school offers facilities that few homeschoolers can match. There are shiny new computer labs and science labs. Some schools even provide laptop computers for all students.Money--As a tax paying homeowner, you are already paying to support your local school district. Sending your children to that school district may be seen as getting a return on your investment.Testing--Students learn to take standardized tests. Of course, homeschoolers may choose to have their students take regular achievement tests, but it is not a requirement in all states. By the time college entrance exams roll around, the public schooled student is familiar with standard testing procedures. Public Perception--Public School parents never have to explain what it is their students “do all day”. Society understands public schooling, whereas homeschooling can be an enigma.Educational Assistance—The parents of public school children do not carry the entire educational burden on their shoulders.If a child is struggling, a good public school system will offer remediation. Speech therapy and help for learning differences is an accepted part of the public school package.Homeschool ProsCurriculum Selection--Homeschoolers are able to select the curriculum that works for them. Parents may choose a literature approach, unit study approach of something highly structured. Interest Driven Learning--If a homeschooled child is interested in the Civil War, the parent can delve into the Civil War in ways they probably never dreamed possible. The homeschooled child can read book after book on the Civil War and it counts as reading and literature. They can compare the prices of basic items in the Union and in the Confederacy during the war years and increase their math skills. The same child can watch 16 hours worth of Civil War documentaries, thus attaining a wealth of information that may one day earn him big bucks on “Jeopardy”. Personalized Attention—The homeschooled student is not just another face in the crowd. It is virtually impossible for the homeschooling parent to miss their child’s weaknesses. The homeschooling parent is able to offer almost immediate remediation. Field Trips—Homeschool field trips are limited only by the imagination of the parents and the family budget. Flexibility—Homeschooling offers a tremendous amount of flexibility. Families may choose a traditional schedule, year-round schooling, or some other option.Some states require homeschoolers to fulfill a certain number of schooling days. There is freedom in how those days are arranged. Families may opt to maintain the traditional school year, school year round or some other schedule. Public School ConsTeach to the Test—One of the main complaints I have heard from public school teachers concerns their ever-growing pressure to cover the material that will be found on standardized tests. Teachers have told me they are no longer allowed to teach a topic as they feel it should be taught. One Size Fits All—All children have strengths and weaknesses. In a classroom of 25 students, there will be multiple learning styles and all of the students will not be at the same level. Excelling students may be held back from reaching their full potential. Struggling students may be embarrassed by their inability to keep up.Homework—Today, there seems to be an increasing amount of homework being sent home in backpacks. Teachers only have a limited amount of classroom time. What doesn’t get accomplished in class must be sent home. Time—Public school students spend a great deal of their school day traveling from class to class. Attendance must be taken upon arrival to class. Classrooms must be tidied and teachers must deal with unruly students. That all adds up to a lot of time in the typical school day. Homeschool ConsParental Weaknesses--Few parents feel comfortable teaching all subjects. A homeschooled student may take high school biology at co-op or other homeschool class. There are video programs and programs that offer instructional CD-roms. Expense—Often a homeschooling parent’s curriculum wish-list exceeds their budget. Public libraries are your friends! Curriculum can be passed down to the younger siblings. Gently used curriculum can often be found. Plus, homeschooling is very economical when compared to private school tuition.Educational Gaps—Yes, there will be gaps in a homeschooled child’s education. Instead of worrying, the parent should accept that he/she very likely has missed something. The important thing is that the student knows how to find information on his own.Missed Opportunities—Most homeschooling parents will occasionally feel a twinge of regret that their child won’t participate in something that was meaningful to their childhood. You’re not a real parent until you feel guilty about something! Upon evaluating the situation, the parent may see that their child simply has different opportunities.

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