Considering the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling whether you are a beginner or veteran homeschooler, requires a critical examination of what life would really look like to ensure its the best fit for your family.
Many parents tend to look at all the good, or all bad when considering pulling their kids out of public education to a home education setting. But before you take the leap, let’s consider how your life may change by taking some advice from seasoned homeschool veterans.
In this article we will cover:
- Benefits of homeschooling – cheap homeschooling online for true flexibility, socialism, freedom to include religion or help struggling students
- Disadvantages of homeschooling – cost of homeschooling, homeschooling challenges like teacher and student burnout, lesson planning, or curriculum selection
- Overcoming information paralysis for homeschooling beginners
- A seasoned homeschool teacher that stopped homeschooling – here’s why
The advantages of homeschooling today
Aside from sleeping, wearing pajamas and getting to eat your snack while doing school, there are more important benefits to homeschooling to consider. The quality of life and love of learning is something homeschool families are able to provide, that public school does not always. Routine and schedules are emphasized highly in large classroom settings in order to maintain a level of control and direction while teaching so many students. However, homeschooling requires a balance of extremes to fully achieve the level of learning your students are capable of achieving.
#1 – The price point for homeschooling curriculum has diversified for a top advantage
There was a time when homeschooling was the new kid in the block, making material so expensive you had to be ready to fork over hindered, if not thousands of dollars. However, times have changed, and with the internet being present in just about every home, the ability to access free or cheap resources has increased. Programs like time4learning, build your bundle or teachers pay teachers have make it possible to homeschool on a budget. F
or example, time for learning allows you to access online curriculum for a flat fee each month.
Build your bundle as a once a year sale where you get a bundle of curriculum subjects or materials for a heavily discounted price. They come in the form of digital downloads so you can reprint as many copies as need be making it perfect for passing along multiple grades and multiple kids.
Teachers pay teachers it says the name suggests, where teachers design material for their classroom but post digital files online for teachers to utilize while supporting their fellow coworkers around the globe. It’s not just for public school educators this is a great resource for homeschool moms as well.
The rise of sharing information has been the greatest benefit for homeschooling today that veteran mom’s 20 years ago did not have access to.
#2 – Homeschooling offers the benefit of true flexibility
Ask any parent or student what they love about homeschooling and they’ll tell you the flexibility. Kids love the ability to eat or do school in their pajamas. They love being able to sleep in even if it’s just for a few extra minutes so they don’t have to think about making it to the bus stop we’re leaving on time.
Perhaps if the flexibility that you can tailor education to your students struggling needs, or subject areas where they are advancing. Flexibility to create your own schedule for those students that thrive in the morning versus those who are more aware and awake in the afternoon.
Homeschooling offers the benefit of flexibility for student and teacher to create a true learning experience that lasts a lifetime.
#3 – Believe it or not, homeschoolers have more of a social life than public school kids
That’s right, homeschool families are more involved in age diversified and outside of the home academic participation than most public school kids, resulting in homeschool children being far more socialized than you may think. It has been the number one conversation killer that non homeschool parents and students bring to the conversation. But, this is in part because of the lack of communication or justification that a homeschoolers routine and life is really like. The benefit of having choices and being able to select your areas of interest outside of school hours (or during) is a wonderful benefit of homeschooling.
This may fall in the flexibility category, but socialization for homeschoolers is far different than those at public school because of the hours they can keep.
For example, homeschool families can participate in homeschool group, co-op, 4-H, library programs, during the day fitness programs, field trips and more. Homeschoolers are able to socialize and absorb the environment because there is not 30 to 60 kids per teacher during an outing. Instead kids are able to walk slowly on that field trip and truly read all the signs and interact with museum or aquarium subjects. Homeschool students are able to participate in fitness programs that are outside of their level making it a good practice for how to interact with people outside of their own age.
The biggest benefit to socialization that homeschoolers have in contrast to public school is that they are diversified with their age group interactions. Meaning, homeschoolers know how to speak to children and entertain them, but can also be respectful to adults and elders because they are around those people. Public School students are exposed to minimal staffing and a much higher rate of students their own age, and we all know that students who are more advanced tend to regress when around a crowd of kids that get more attention.
#4 – Homeschooling gives the freedom to include religion or not
Believe it or not there are families out there who homeschool not because of religious beliefs. But for the most part Christianity based home education is a big factor. There are tons of secular homeschool programs and Christian based homeschool material and curriculum on the market. Students can pick from workbooks, academy, online or teacher-led programs depending on their families direction.
#5 – The advantage to individualize while homeschooling
Bottom line, homeschooling offers the ability to individualize and customize. Whether that is a wide or narrow concept. Parents are able to do what is best for the student because the student teacher ratio is so much lower. While I can seem overwhelming as the homeschool teacher, trying to teach all those grades and subjects in one day. But the truth of the matter is that you are still doing better than a 30 to 1 student to teacher ratio in the public school system because of your accessibility to individualize home education to your students needs. Extra time can be spent on a concept or subject to get the higher grades.
Or if your student is excelling you are able to get through the lesson quickly so you can spend more time on what really needs the attention. Whereas in the public school system students are at the mercy of the classroom subject schedule.
There is little room to underestimate the power of an individual and personalized education approach.
A closer look at homeschool disadvantages before taking the leap
Wow there are amazing benefits, there are always drawbacks to anything in life and homeschooling is no exception. In order to make a well-educated decision as to homeschooling or not you need to know the possible hurdles and whether they are worth overcoming to you and your household.
#1 – The financial disadvantage
Although the cost of homeschooling curriculum and resources has dropped significantly in the last 10 years, there is still an expense. Not just books or monthly subscription fees, but I’m referring to the expense of having a parent stay home. Most Americans depend on both parents to work in order to provide for their household.
A single family income is limited in its resources and homeschooling can seem like a unnecessary or impossible option because of the financial investment that is required. Most families can’t even think of or comprehend a parent quitting and staying home because of student loans, house and car loans and all the other expenses do provide a life for their families.
And don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of sacrifices that will have to be made if you choose to homeschool. For example, many homeschool families reduce vacationing or change up their approach to it. Instead of going all out with the hotels and eating out homeschool families still vacation they just do it at state parks with tents or a rented camper. That way they can bring their own food and reduce the cost of eating out.
Overcoming the financial disadvantages of paying for your children’s education is not something to hinder those who are truly passionate about pulling their kids or starting them on the home education path.
#2 – The homeschooling disadvantage of burnout
Teacher burnout is not just for the public school educator, it is definitely something to plague The homeschool teacher classroom as well. Burnout happens when you are trying to fight to make something work for so long, or have been going on a path and staying strong for so long that you just need a moment to rest and reset.
Lesson planning and juggling household chores while maintaining a high standard of education can lead homeschool teachers to burn out or more severely for students to get burned out.
Most homeschool families hold their students to hire standard in academics because they feel pressure to do so from many outside family members and even government agencies. While homeschool days only have to consist of 4.5 hours homeschool families take the typical 7 to 8 hour school day to heart and tend to be overachievers, leading to exhaustion and sometimes rebellion against academics.
#3 – The disadvantages of committing time to lesson planning or more dangerously not
One of the overlooked teacher must have that homeschool veteran moms will tell you is the emphasis on lesson planning. Prepping material and formatting your teaching strategy is not for the faint of heart. In fact, teachers go to college to learn these skills whereas homeschool parents learn them along the way. It is true some people have a gift to teach but it is a very big commitment to your child’s education that parents who are not educators are making.
However, when you are not a teacher or have been formally trained there are some serious drawbacks to homeschooling and lesson planning.
There has to be a complete mind set and focus that you are going to do what is best for your kids because you are responsible for steering the ship that is their education.
#4 – The pressures of selecting curriculum
The second most commonly brought up topic when it comes to homeschooling is how do you know what’s curriculum to select? And the answer is not as simple or clear-cut as you would like to hear. However there are many ways to select curriculum you just have to start digging and teaching yourself what to look for.
There’s an old saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.
If you have ever gone to college you will know the process getting started is very staggering and frustrating, you walk into the financial aid or the administration office and get bombarded with these questions and you are drawn back because you have no idea what they’re talking about. Which leads the office ladies to get mad at you and can make the enrollment process quite daunting.
That is a similar experience to selecting homeschooling material and curriculum. You know you want to homeschool your kids, you want to better yourself and their education but you are not sure how to do it and so you dive head first. Along the way you learn terminology and what to ask. You learn how to pry information to the satisfy local agencies and family and friends while giving your kids an education they can be proud of.
The disadvantage to all of this is it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like you are fighting a very unseen battle that is constantly uphill. And the truth is that is exactly what you are doing.
What overcoming information paralysis looks like when you are just starting your homeschooling for beginners search
Just as college enrollment can be overwhelming and you can feel bombarded with information and deadlines, it can also feel overwhelming when you are starting to look at how to homeschool for beginners. Information paralysis is what happens when you absorb so much information that you become unclear of what to do with it. Like a squirrel trying to figure out which way to run when an approaching car is coming. But often resulting in a near-death experience, the undecisive or paralyzed with decisions is a dangerous place to be. Beginners can avoid information paralysis by learning how to refocus and knowing what their why is. In fact, you need to start a homeschool business plan because there is going to be many days where you feel inadequate or wonder why you’re doing this. Your homeschool business plan is your purpose and your mission statement which is your why and your how. These don’t have to be long they just need to be written down and kept somewhere for your reference. This can be in the front of your planner, hanging in your office or made into a plaque so you can have it as a household creed. Whatever gets you going even if it’s just a sticky note on your computer make sure you know your why.
A homeschool veteran that stopped homeschooling
Seems a bit impossible that a homeschooling mom would stop homeschooling her kids when she was so close to the end of graduation? But the truth is it is a long journey and sometimes it’s better to pass the reins for educating your child then continue down a path that is going to cause resentment or hurt. This has been a tough lesson for homeschool moms because they want what’s best for their kids and most of the time what’s best is a nurturing and loving teacher, but that doesn’t always mean that is mom. Here are a few examples of homeschooling families that new when it was time to stop homeschooling and it actually was a beautiful process because it’s teaching your family that it’s okay to change as we all change.
Example of veteran mom sending her kid to classical conversation
After 20 years of homeschooling a veteran mom sent her kids to a local homeschool program called classical conversation. The setup is much like college, kids go one or two times a week to have a classroom lesson setting and do their homework the rest of the week. This veteran mom started her homeschooling journey with a very Hands-On and teacher-led approach But as time passed the needs of the house and the needs of the kids outgrew that original setup. But as a homeschool mom with years of experience she could read the signs that her kids were not being academically challenged and that something needed to give. Rather than assuming that meant her kids going to public school, she found an alternative that gave her kids the academic challenge but still gave the at home education benefits that she wanted to preserve.
Example of military family not homeschooling
While overseas because of the difference in homeschool laws laws, choosing to send their kids to public school is the option some homeschool families choose while on deployment. Rather than learning the homeschool laws for their location it can be easier to send kids to a local public school not just for the academics but also for the overseas experience. Obviously this is time and age appropriate but there is no guilt in choosing what works for your family at that time you are in.
Homeschooling may either be the perfect fit for your family, or not. Either way, as a parent you hold the final say to whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages to homeschooling whether you are a beginner or seasoned homeschool teacher looking for a change.