So you want to know about homeschooling? Specifically, what are the homeschooling pros and cons?
What are the pros and cons of homeschooling?
Pros of homeschooling include:
- Control of your child’s learning.
- Relaxed learning styles.
- Flexible schedules.
- Exposure to a variety of learning opportunities.
- Learning can take place anywhere!
- Kids have the opportunity to develop confidence in their skills.
Cons of homeschooling include:
- Determining how your child learns best.
- Dealing with society’s perception and judgment of homeschooling.
- Getting easily distracted.
- Finding a homeschool curriculum.
- Balancing different learning levels if you have multiple kids.
- Finding your support network and homeschooling tribe.
Just like anything in life, there are advantages and challenges…and the homeschool life is no different!
Talk to any homeschooling family and they will list out some major advantages of homeschooling, but they’ll probably also have a list just as long of homeschooling disadvantages.
If you’re just starting out your homeschool research to embark on a homeschooling journey (or you’re just curious about homeschooling), what better way to get started than with a homeschooling pros and cons list?
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling.
Homeschooling Pros and Cons | Advantages of Homeschooling
You Control Your Child’s Learning
One of the best things about homeschooling on the homeschooling pros and cons list is that you get to control your child’s learning.
Even though some states require that homeschoolers use a specific curriculum, the parent (and the child) still gets to decide when and how the topics are learned.
Plus, with homeschooling you still have the flexibility to allow your child to lead their own learning and add the things they want to learn about, even if you have to follow a state mandated curriculum.
No Rushed Learning
A study in England revealed, “rushing able mathematicians through the curriculum means England is producing pupils with only a ‘superficial’ grasp of the subject.”
Unlike public schools who have specific milestones they must hit and specific times (mostly for state testing), homeschool kids get to learn completely at their own pace.
If your child is excelling at math above her level, you can move her up to the level that challenges her.
Conversely, if she is struggling with spelling, you can slow down and allow her to learn at her own pace.
These are both a major plus on the homeschooling pros and cons list!
Tailored and Focused Learning
A huge advantage of homeschooling is that you get to tailor learning to each of your kids.
You may have one child that can just read a book and completely comprehend a topic.
On the other hand, you may have another child that really needs to get their hands on something to fully comprehend.
With homeschooling, you get to tailor that learning based on how your child learns and what he or she wants to learn.
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Learning Can Take Place Anywhere
Let’s see: we’ve homeschooled in the car, at the FedEx, in the hospital, at our family farm in Virginia, and, of course, at home.
Honestly, the list goes on and on.
To truly appreciate homeschooling, you need to get out of the mindset that kids must be sitting at a desk in a room to learn. Homeschooling is NOT schooling at home.
Learning can take place anywhere, which is a huge advantage of homeschooling.
My daughter is a night owl. She always has been (even as a baby). She likes to stay up late and sleep in a little later.
When we first started homeschooling, I tried to force her into the go to bed early, get up early for school thing.
After some crying and gnashing of teeth I thought, “Why am I doing this?”
I was forcing my kid to work against her natural body clock.
So, we switched it around and now she is so much happier.
With homeschooling, you get a flexible schedule that allows you to organize your homeschool schedule in the way that works best for your entire family!
Or, do you have outside the home classes? You can organize around those, too!
Do you like to travel and use roadschooling as your learning tool?
Homeschooling is super flexible and fits around whatever you have going on!
Exposure To A Variety of Learning Tools
This is another one of my favorite homeschooling advantages.
When you homeschool, your child doesn’t necessarily have to be “taught” by just you (or by the online curriculum at home). You have the ability to access a ton of different learning resources to help your child!
My kid wanted to learn Spanish (which I don’t speak), so I found an outside Spanish class that she attends two days a week.
She wanted to learn sewing (which is an amazing life skill), so she goes to a sewing class.
Also, we regularly take advantage of free or very cheap classes offered by parks, nature centers, libraries, art centers, businesses, and more!
And, we do all of this in addition to her at-home learning!
Better Protection Against Negative Peer Trends and Positive Exposure to Different Age Groups
Some educational psychologists state that kids get their values from the people they spend the most time with.
(I don’t think that’s any big revelation. Right?)
In a PBS.org article, they discuss a July 2000 study by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute.
In this study, counselors watched videotapes of homeschooled and traditionally schooled children playing.
“The counselors, who did not know which children were from each category, noted that the homeschool students demonstrated fewer behavioral problems than their peers—a result that [one counselor] attributes, in part, to homeschoolers’ main role models: ‘Public school children have, as their main role models, peers, while homeschool students have as their role models, adults.'”
Increased Confidence and Sense of Identity
This homeschooling pro is connected to the previous one for homeschooling pros and cons.
Take a look one more time at what the counselor said during the study mentioned above: “Public school children have, as their main role models, peers, while homeschool students have as their role models, adults.”
My kid has a mix of homeschool and traditional school friends of all different ages, races, cultures, and belief systems. However, she is not with these kids all day everyday, so they rarely have an effect on what she wears, what she does, how she speaks, her likes and dislikes, etc.
In general, as a personal experience, I’ve noticed that her homeschooling friends tend to be more accepting of their differences than if she is in her group of traditionally schooled friends.
All of this allows her to “try out” who she is/wants to be with little to no peer repercussions, which helps her confidence.
As a homeschooling family, we visit the zoo, museums, parks, pools, and a ton of other places while traditional school is in session.
We also enjoy less crowded travel because we tend to schedule travel when other kids are in school.
This seems like a silly one to add to the homeschooling pros and cons list, but I actually think it’s huge on the list of homeschooling pros! (My anxiety is not a fan of crowds!)
Now that we’ve covered a few of the advantages of homeschooling (there are many more, but this is a good starting list), let’s take a look at the disadvantages of homeschooling.
(And, yes, there are homeschooling cons . . . )
Here are the arguments against homeschooling…
Homeschooling Pros and Cons | Disadvantages of Homeschooling
You Control Your Child’s Learning
We listed this as a homeschooling advantage, but controlling your child’s learning can also be a homeschooling disadvantage.
Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It is a full time job (and if you already have a full time job, then homeschooling is going to be another full time job on top of that).
It takes time and patience and scheduling and planning.
(It’s pretty much nonstop.)
And, it’s a huge responsibility to take total responsibility for anything, let alone your child’s learning.
HOWEVER, with all of that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) do it. You just need to be really honest about the responsibility of it before you start.
Dealing with Society’s Perception
Most of society still believes the many myths out there about homeschooling.
As a homeschooling parent, you will deal with judgments and questions from your friends, family, and even strangers when you are out in public during “school hours.”
It is your job to be confident in your choices and be ready to answer the questions that homeschoolers get asked.
On a positive note, homeschooling is becoming more mainstream, so society is becoming more educated on “What is homeschooling?” We get a lot less questions and judgments today than we did years ago when we first started to homeschool.
Check out: Facts About Homeschooling
Easy To Get Off Schedule
Homeschool takes a great deal of dedication and time commitment.
Also, it’s easy to get distracted and get off schedule when “life” happens.
Although having a few days of getting off track here and there are fine, don’t let it become a regular occurrence (or you’ll be super stressed trying to get caught up–especially if you’re following a specific curriculum instead of unschooling).
Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum
Talk to any homeschool parent and this will be up there in the Top 5 ARRRRRRRRRGH! disadvantages when discussing homeschooling pros and cons.
If you don’t have a state required curriculum (every state is different), choosing the homeschool curriculum you will use can be completely overwhelming. There are many choices and there are often no “one size fits all” for different learning levels.
(And, I won’t even get started on the different homeschooling methods. . .at least not in this post.)
Not only that, you will have many stops, starts, and curriculum changes and still may not find the one that meets your needs.
Also, be aware that schooling at home and homeschooling are two very different things. You will want to choose the one that is right for you!
Balancing Multiple Learning Levels
If you have multiple children that you are homeschooling, it can be tricky — especially if you have babies and/or preschoolers in the homeschool mix along with school aged kids.
There is good news, though!
As your kids get older, they will become more autonomous in their learning and probably need less assistance. This will allow more time for the younger ones.
Homeschooling Can Be Costly
Homeschooling can be costly, especially if you have multiple kids and you’re purchasing different curricula for them.
Additionally, there are the costs of any outside classes or activities for each child.
So, homeschooling can be expensive, but not so costly that you cannot do it. Like anything, you will need to budget for your family.
Also, there are many free (and super cheap) curricula and learning resources and activities that you can use to supplement your homeschooling.
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Access to Outside Classes Can Be Limited
Depending on where you live, access to outside classes and activities for your homeschooler may be limited (or nonexistent).
However, don’t let that be a deterrent when thinking about homeschooling pros and cons!
You will just need to work a little harder to find (or create) those activities.
(Be sure to start with your public library!)
Also, if you see a local business that has cool things (think pottery studios, bakers, etc.) ask them if they would add a homeschool event. You may be surprised how receptive many businesses are to this!
You Need to Build Your Own Support Network
A huge disadvantage of homeschooling is that you, as the adult, will need to build your own support network.
(The kids will get much more socialization than you, trust me.)
There is no PTA or regular school functions where you get to know the other parents and build relationships with them. (At least not until you build your tribe!)
You will need to work hard to create and maintain a support system of fellow homeschooling parents.
Luckily, today we have many ways to connect with groups online. So, start with homeschool groups on Facebook and also search the internet for homeschooling groups in your area.
You may also want to see if there are any co-ops available in your area (and explore if you want to join).
Lack of homeschooling support can start as a con on the homeschooling pros and cons list, but you can easily bump it up to a pro just by participating in an online homeschool support group!
You Must Let Go
If you’re new to homeschooling, it will not look anything like what you know or what you grew up with (especially if you went to public school).
Be aware that you need to let go of what you know about learning (because what you probably really know is about schooling not learning).
And, we get it, letting go of control can be hard. However, letting go of control and how you think schooling should work may be one of the best things you can do for your homeschooling.
Be flexible and allow learning to flow!