Homeschooling is becoming more popular every day, with more and more parents opting for it rather than the formal setting, in either a public or private school.
Parents cite numerous reasons as motivation to home school for their children. As a parent who is at that moment, where I need to make a decision for my son, I sought to get experiences of families that practise home schooling. To help other parents who are considering home schooling, I would like to share a few pros and cons.
One key advantage for most homeschooled children is the educational freedom that allows the choice to study and learn what they want, when they want, for as long as they want. This is not to say that all the basics (and more!) aren't covered. But those basics may be covered at six for one child, and 10 for another, depending on ability, maturity, and interest levels.
Equally important is the physical freedom that comes with homeschooling as parents no longer revolve around school hours, homework, and the school calendar. Therefore, parents are able to plan off-season vacations, visit parks and museums during the week, and live their lives according to what works for them.
Another key reason cited for why parents opt for homeschooling, is the emotional freedom, as sadly, peer pressure, competition, boredom, and bullies are all part of a typical school day. This can be a particular problem for girls. According to studies, self-esteem plummets in middle-school girls. However, similar studies of homeschooled girls have shown that self-esteem remains intact and that these girls continue to thrive.
The other reason for homeschooling is religious freedom; many families feel their religious and spiritual beliefs are an important part of who they are. Homeschooling provides the opportunity for parents to incorporate their beliefs into their daily lives.
A major plus for homeschooling is the fact that homeschooled children can accomplish, in a few hours, what takes a typical classroom a week or more to cover. A 46-year-old teaching veteran said that in many classrooms, less than one hour out of each school day is spent on 'on task' learning. No wonder these kids have so much homework.
However, homeschooling also comes with some disadvantages. A key constraint to homeschooling is time. Many parents raised the issue of the amount of time spent planning and teaching their children. Most folks visualise that time being spent at the kitchen table with textbooks and worksheets, but for most families, that's not the case.
Hope shared that her family chooses hands-on experiences and interesting activities as learning tools instead. However, planning, driving to and participating in those activities (or waiting for them to be over) constitute the bulk of her day. And can be very draining.
The other con of homeschooling is the financial constraints as one parent often foregoes full-time employment to take over this role. This can be hard on families that are just starting out and are yet to establish themselves. Majority of parents did mention the problem of limited team sports for the homeschooled children. Yet children need that interaction if they are to grow into balanced adults.
There are several pros and cons of homeschooling but the decision largely depends on the motivations of the parents.