Considering homeschooling, new to homeschooling, or a well-seasoned homeschooler? We all need some reflection points on the pros and cons of homeschooling. These are just ones I've experienced myself or have seen in older, more experienced homeschoolers. The option to homeschool is a resolution for parents who fear that formal education is not suitable for their children for a number of reasons, including overcrowding of classrooms, the possibility of subjecting their children to a possibly dangerous environment, the need for personalized education due to a physical or mental disability, religious beliefs or general dissatisfaction with the quality of public school education.
So let's first start with the pros of homeschooling…
1.) The relationship aspect. I get to spend the entire day with my children, which is always filled with discussion, exploration, play and sometimes those usual struggles where we are all learning and growing together. This is by far my favorite thing about homeschooling and something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
2.) Your child can work at their own pace. Just like adults learn at their own pace, children need the same.
3.) Your child gains more maturity. Their role models are the adults in their life and not just the group of peers they are around. Now this might not be the case for every homeschooled child, but the ones I've met, time and time again they will very mature and can handle conversations with any age.
4.) They receive real life socialization. They come with you on all your errands, learn how to interact with the real world and are watching everything you do and others do in how adults get along in the world.
5.) I learn with my children. There is nothing that compares to having to be home with your children all day every day and how much it forces you to work on yourself. I have not only grown in wisdom but in head knowledge just by homeschooling my children. I look forward to the education I will continue to receive by homeschooling my children.
6.) I have opportunities to help build their character and be there to guide during a time of struggle. If my children were in school and they did something wrong or had something done wrong to them, many times the teacher doesn't see this and can't intervene. Being homeschooled, I can swoop in and catch these things. Now at co-op or playdates, I don't catch everything, but I feel content knowing that I can catch most of these moments in their early childhood.
7.) You can make your own schedule. Want to sleep in and be in your pajamas all day? You can. Have a new baby and just need a short break from school work? Living life is a learning experience in itself. We are learning all the time and homeschooling allows for the various seasons of life.
8.) Homeschooling prepares your child for real life because they are living real life every day.
10.) Freedom! When you homeschool, you have the ability to teach what you want to teach and to follow the interests of your kids. You are not bound to read "that particular book" but can choose what your child is passionate about. You can always spend the entire day outside if you want, take vacations when other children are in school and even do school on the weekends.
1.) It can take a year or more to get into your homeschooling rhythm. This isn't always a con because you are all learning together, but in some circles, you might feel the pressure to have it all together real fast. Well, that just isn't possible. Big life transitions take time and homeschooling is no stranger to being a transition.
2.) They don't always have exposure to "everything." For example, I'm not great at crafts so this is something I try hard to expose my daughters to but in school they might have more exposure.
3.) Less friends. This isn't always a con, because instead of having 20 acquaintance-type friends, homeschoolers typically have two or three solid best friends. Or in my daughter's case, everyone is her friend.
4.) Your house will never be truly clean. Although I do my best, my house still has a mess somewhere almost always because we literally live in it all day every day. And because I'm at home all the time and life happens, I get interrupted constantly when I am cleaning that most of the time, what I intend to do doesn't always happen.
5.) Homeschooling limits my free time. This has by far been the toughest one for me and although I truly love doing what we're doing, I rarely have time to do what I want to do so I have to make time for it by waking up at 5 a.m., which means I also go to bed early limiting the amount of time I get with my husband alone during the week.
6.) It's a huge responsibility. For better or for worse, no matter how much I love it or how many benefits it has for all of us, some days it can be overwhelming and that's when I have to take a step back and say it's a play day or field trip day! I can feel pulled in so many directions not only homeschooling but also in running a household that it is vital that I either schedule in free days like every Friday is field trip Friday and no school on the weekends.
7.) Not much support in smaller communities. However, if you live in a metro area, there are lots of support systems and so many things for homeschoolers to be involved in. Now that we live the country, I'm having to travel 35 miles one way to seek more homeschooling opportunities. This hasn't been hard so far and we are figuring out how to make it work and you can too.
8.) It can get expensive. But so can private and public school! Now here is where I'd like to say there are resources, such as Epic Charter School, where they will allot your child $800 a year in a learning fund to use for curriculum, books, supplies and even extracurricular actives for the school year. It is a wonderful resource to have plus you get a certified teacher to help guide you through the homeschooling process. But outside of that, you have to try to be frugal and plan for your school expenses because you can easily get caught up in buying all the things for your homeschooler. We budget $40 a month for books and supplies, then $20 a month for outings. Sometimes, what we do is free, so I'll save that to use for co-op fees or memberships to the zoo or science museum.
9.) Sometimes you will be met with negativity and it can feel lonely. You have to learn to grow tough skin and just brush off comments. More often than not, I receive more praise for homeschooling than negativity.
For me, the pros outweigh the cons. Because of homeschooling, I'm a better person than I once was and I'm a happier person. I have little time to be a slacker and really have to bring my A game most days which has been really good for me.
I don't homeschool because I'm against public education. I have a lot of respect for teachers and educators here in Oklahoma and believe they do a whole lot of good for the students in our state. For our family and children, homeschooling at this point in our life just has been a better choice. I certainly do not advocate that everyone homeschool, but what I do is advise that each parent advocate for their child and do what's best for them and their family as a whole. Your child, your choice.
Krista currently lives in Hinton, Oklahoma with her husband and their two daughters. She has a degree in Elementary Education and is a certified teacher. Krista first brought up homeschooling to her husband back in 2013 when their first daughter was just a toddler. They've been homeschooling ever since. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.