Homeschooling is quickly growing throughout the nation, as well as the whole world. More families are deciding to extend the definition of parenting by teaching their children at home. This is a decision made with passion, planning and self-sacrifice. It’s important to understand all points related to homeschooling to make an informed decision.
Time at home
Pro- With school being mandatory, most children are away from home for a minimum of six hours a day. Many schools go for seven hours a day, and if tutoring is available or after school programs are utilized, many children are gone for as long as nine hours a day. Much of that time is often spent on a school bus. This means that the average family sees each other for two or three hours a day, six maximum if the child goes straight home. The child spends at least as much time in school as at home. If the child plays outside with friends, they see even less of the parents.
Homeschooling gives more opportunity for the parents to raise the children rather than the schools. They can teach important values necessary in society, as well as instill any spiritual beliefs they have. When the child is at home more than at school, they are less susceptible to negative influences in the school. Parents are better able to mold their children than they are when they are in school while having more time to get to know each other.
Con- Because the child is home, there is no break for the parent or parents. Many parents who teach at home have children with special needs, making it difficult to be with a child for 24 hours a day. It helps to have people in place to help out occasionally to give Mom a break. The parent also needs to ensure that some time is spent getting the child together with other children, but that usually happens naturally and isn’t a problem, especially if there is more than once child in the household.
Pro- Most children do not learn in the same way as everyone else. We’re all different in how we understand and retain information. Homeschooling allows a child to learn in a manner that helps him. Numerous curriculum choices are available based on visual, auditory, hands-on and traditional or classical learning styles. The parent is able to try a variety of options to find the one that works for each child. Parents can tailor the material to things that are important to them, possibly leaning heavier on basics or the arts. More time is available to work on piano lessons or volunteer work. As children become teens, they can often take some college courses while finishing high school, getting a jump start on college.
Con- A parent is only limited in their ability to homeschool their children by their own limitations. Anyone can read a book and figure out the lesson. As a person becomes an adult, she usually picks up the material much quicker than when she was in school. Many parents fear they are unable to teach because they aren’t smart. If they aren’t willing to try, then they won’t be able to teach. It’s important to have the self-confidence to get in there and learn. Even with that determination, there may be some things the parent wants the child to learn that she doesn’t understand herself. In that case, tutors or homeschooling co-ops have to be found to help the child. This may not be possible in smaller, rural areas. Curriculum often isn’t cheap, requiring the parent teacher to be creative and spend time finding resources that help without breaking the bank.
Pro- Surprising to most, homeschooling is often the answer to proper social skills. The children run errands with the parent teacher, exposing him to people of all ages. The parent is able to work with the child to use manners, carry on conversations started by others and respect authority. These are skills that are often not focused on in a classroom or on a school bus. This helps a child to be more prepared for life in the real world where everyone has to work together regardless of age.
Parents are also able to work with the child when playing with other children. They will know more about what the child is doing and saying, helping them work with things such as not lying, taking turns, being fair and being a good friend while preventing bullying on the part of the child or others who may be bullies in the neighborhood.
Cons- Some things, such as school sports or leadership clubs, aren’t available to most homeschooling students. This means that parents often have to pay for city leagues or find other opportunities for a child who may crave the involvement. This can be costly and require the parent to find options available. However, sometimes these options are better than what the schools offer.
There are several good and bad things to consider when deciding to homeschool. However, most parents find that the positives far outweigh the negatives. It does take time and energy to keep the children home and take on the responsibility of teaching them. It isn’t a decision to take lightly, because these children are preparing for their future.