Homeschooling – Advantages and Disadvantages

 

There are pros and cons to everything.  You could sit down right this minute and make a list of cons for not doing something you’ve been wanting to do and the pros of doing them.  The greatest list of pros and cons as a parent when it comes to your child’s education is whether to homeschool or not.  Homeschooling my kids was a no-brainer.  When our son was struggling in school who was going to help him? Who was going to take the time to make sure he was learning the things he needed to know? Us!

Homeschooling was an exciting adventure for our family, as I hope it becomes so for you but there are a few things to consider before you take that big step.

 

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING?

    • Influence –

This may not strike a chord with some people but for my husband and me it became very important.  From the time we put our kids in school they spent six or seven hours a day with their friends and teachers.  By the time we got home in the evenings and had dinner, the kids did their homework and chores it left very little family time.  We began to realize our kids were influenced by everyone but us.  We wanted to be able to be more of an influence in our children’s lives. I had left my job to be home with the kids when we made the decision to homeschool.  If it is affordable for one parent to stay home with the kids, it is so worth it.

 

    • Flexibility –

This is a great advantage.  As the headmaster of your class, you get to say when class is in session or the bell rings.  If you choose to sleep in occasionally and work later, you can.  If you say your family is going to take a field trip, you can.  Setting your own schedule while homeschooling offers a lot of flexibility.  Our family stuck to a schedule that my husband and I put together, but we had the flexibility to change things if we wanted or needed to because of sporting events or other activities.  The kids knew that they had to do a certain amount of schoolwork each day and they did it.  Our calendar was full, so we had to adjust weekly, but we got it done. Our family was able to take trips or vacations, but we made them a learning experience as much as we could.

 

    • Control of Curriculum –

You get to choose the subjects your kids will be focusing on.  You will have the opportunity to choose books or programs that will be used to learn those subjects.  There are many ways to teach a subject so you may elect not to have a set program but choose several different books or one book.  It is your choice.

When you become the administrator, principal or teacher of your children, no one dictates to you what or how to teach your children for the most part.  There still may be rules that you need to adhere to for the school district, but you are free to choose everything, and you have more control.

 

    • Increased Opportunities for Outside the Box Education –

This advantage is probably the most important and the most fun.  To be able to think outside the box or to teach outside the box is a wonderful thing.  If you want to teach your kids about the revolutionary war or civil war, take them to some of those sites, if you can.  Go to the museum and read about the war, the men who fought, the way people lived and walk the grounds.  If you want to teach them about wildlife or animals, take them to the zoo, go on special tours that offer the opportunity to learn about the animal’s lives behind the scenes.  There is an increased opportunity to teach your children just about anything and use different things to teach them.  You are not locked into using only books.  How many kids attending school get to go to some of the areas that our homeschooled kids get to go to?  We took our kids to Williamsburg and other places and used these outings or field trips as learning opportunities.  We did not limit our teaching to just books.

    • Quality Time –

As a homeschooling family, you get more quality time together.  This becomes a huge part of your life.  Learning together, going places together, and getting to spend more time together than you would have if your child or children were in school.  It becomes very special to get to sit with your kids during the day and read or talk about things.  To talk to them about their studies, to teach them to drive, to share in their social activities, to take them places they may have never gone to had they been in school.  The time you get with your kids when you homeschool is good quality time.

 

These are just a few advantages.  There are many more and it will be different for every family.

There are going to be some disadvantages too.  You’ll have to be the one to decide if they are strong enough to keep you from making the decision to homeschool.

 

    • Feeling Overwhelmed –

When you begin teaching your kids at home you may get a little overwhelmed, especially if you have more than one child and they are different ages. You will need to figure out how to help them all.  You will have to make sure they are getting up and getting things done.  You may have to spend more time with one child than the other because they need more help.  You will have to find a balance when working with your children because you don’t want the other child or children to feel neglected.  You may feel overwhelmed because you are the only one at home with the kids while your spouse is at work.  There are things that need to be done around the house that may start to fall by the wayside.  Just take one day at a time and you will get better at managing or juggling everything.

 

    • Time Constraints –

There may be days when you may not get everything done.  There are multiple subjects, the house needs to be cleaned, dinner needs to be prepared.  There may be a sick child that needs attention. There is laundry, dishes and other things to be done.  Face it now.  There will be days you will not get everything done.  Your focus becomes the kids and their studies.  But as you begin to learn to manage everything this becomes a great learning opportunity to teach your children how to do a few things to help around the house.

    • Expense –

This is an area where you will need to set a budget and plan. You will need to be disciplined and stick to it.  It is very easy to get interested in every program, multiple books, and gadgets.  Our first year we fell into this because we didn’t know what we were doing and everything was interesting to us, but later we became more experienced and choosier in our selections.  There will be books you will need and want.  There will be science experiments and computer programs and accessories to help you teach each subject.

There will be sports or other activities – music lessons, dance or other lessons.  You will need to plan and set a budget.  It can get very expensive if you are not careful, but it doesn’t have to be.

 

    • Boredom –

Boredom is a syndrome you will have to deal with.  When your kids are home every day and only see the four walls of your home, it can be very easy for them to start getting bored or tired of being home.  This is where some of your planning will come in handy.  Schedule an outing at least once a week. Go to the library or a movie.  Go to the park and have a picnic.  Kids need to be active.  There are many ways to combat boredom. You will need to get creative. Go on learning trips – field trips to historical places, the library, the zoo, the museum, get outdoors and explore, have a career day and visit your spouse’s place of employment.  There are a lot of things to do with the kids to keep them from getting bored but remember the most important part of homeschooling is their studies.

 

 

    • Limited Opportunities for Socialization –

Socialization is a very important thing in a kid’s life.  They “have to” have friends and “social life” especially as they get to be teenagers.  There are many opportunities for socialization, but you may be limited depending on where you live.  Fortunately, there are homeschool networks or groups everywhere.  You will need to ask friends or family members who may know about these groups, ask your local school district or search the internet.  There are church groups, youth groups, sports activities, or sporting events, and other outings that can provide socialization.  Look for ways to involve your child or children so that they can socialize.

 

Remember there are advantages and disadvantages to everything you do in life.  You just must weigh those things and decide what is most important to you when deciding whether to homeschool your children or not.  For my husband and I, it was the best decision to bring our kids home and enjoy them, teach them, and be more apart of their lives.

Happy Homeschooling!

Pamela

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