Homeschooling Pros and Cons


If there is one thing that we have learned at Calvert in over one hundred years of providing homeschool curriculum and education services, it is that homeschooling is not for everyone.

Every educational system offers great opportunities for children to learn new information and skills, as well as harness their own unique qualities and interests. Homeschooling is no different than public school, private school, charter school, unschooling, and other models in that there are pros and cons.

In previous posts, we have written about ”What is Homeschooling?”, the “Top Myths About Homeschooling” and touched on other topics about the benefits of homeschooling.

Now it is time to have a very frank conversation about the pros and cons of homeschooling based on feedback from our Calvert parents and others.

Homeschooling Is A Major Lifestyle Change

One of the first issues to consider is that homeschooling represents a major lifestyle change.

As you probably know, when you decide to homeschool, you will take on the duties and responsibilities of both a teacher and administrator. You will need to implement lessons, organize field trips, coordinate activities with other parents, and make sure you are compliant with state and local homeschool requirements. These responsibilities get added to your normal role as a parent.

You also have the added financial costs of homeschooling. While there are many free resources available, homeschool supplies such as textbooks, books, paper, art supplies, computers, software, and other homeschool tools cost money. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the financial costs associated with homeschooling.

For example, some programs, like Calvert Education, can actually help minimize costs by bundling resources together into a kit that can include classroom-tested materials, step-by-step lesson manuals, textbooks, reading books, math manipulatives, science kits, and online tools all designed to empower parents to be successful teachers.

However, you cannot escape the fact that by dedicating more time to teaching in your children at home, your family may suffer a loss in income. The challenge is greater if you are a single-parent. Careful budgeting and time management skills will be essential if you are going to homeschool.

What’s more, since your child will no longer be in a public school environment and all learning will take place in the home, the family’s lifestyle and pace will change. More time will be dedicated to homeschooling. Daily chores, errands, doctor’s appointments, and typical household routines will need to be scheduled in coordination with your homeschooling plan.

Another important change is that while parents normally spend a lot of time with their children, homeschooling parents spend even more time with their kids. The amount of time you need to spend homeschooling is a major lifestyle change that influences the decision of many parents on whether or not they homeschool. Though there are many ways for parents to secure time for themselves, it is important to recognize that you will spend more time with your children than you do currently.

Homeschool Socialization Is Different

A second topic to consider is homeschool socialization.

One of the biggest myths we shatter is the idea that homeschool socialization does not exist or that homeschoolers are all weird or do not know how to interact with people. The truth of the matter is that there are pros and cons with the social experience of homeschoolers, just as there are pros and cons with public school. Experiences will vary for all children, but the fairest way to characterize socialization in a homeschool environment is to say it is different.

How is homeschool socialization different?

For one thing, homeschoolers do not have the same exposure to peer pressure and bullying, both of which are tied to poorer academic performance and lower self-esteem.

Parents often decide to homeschool because they do not want their child’s values to be defined by their peers or for their children to face social ridicule or bullying. In private or public schools, the pressure to “fit in” or achieve a perceived level of social status among classmates can be quite great.

Homeschooling also means less daily interaction with large numbers of kids in a child’s age group. And homeschoolers can end up spending less time each day participating in organized sports and activities with their peers.

However, this does not mean that homeschoolers have no access to their peers, or have no ability to plays sports or socially interact with others outside their family.

In fact, on average, homeschoolers participate more in their community, are less sedentary, and socialize with a wider mix of adults (especially professionals) than their public school counterparts.

As part of its flexible nature and focus on one-on-one / personalized learning, homeschooling involves more field trips, real-life experiences, and hands-on learning. When it comes to sports, homeschoolers often participate in recreational leagues or homeschool sports classes offered in their community. Some students are homeschooled because their athletic or artistic talents have them engaged in sports and activities at a higher level.

Homeschooling Provides Greater Educational Freedom

A third aspect of homeschooling to consider is the academic freedom you can gain and what impact that will have on you and your child.

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is its flexibility.

If your child is struggling with a subject or a specific concept, you do not need to skip it and move on. Instead, you can work with your child until she/ he has mastered the material. Homeschooling allows you to take all the time you need to ensure learning is taking place. Likewise, if your child is ready to move on, you do not need to waste time on redundant or repetitive lessons. Homeschooling children can move through educational materials at a faster pace than their peers.

In a public or private school, with 20 or more kids in a class, a teacher has to address everyone’s learning style and everyone’s pace. When the majority are ready to move on, other children get left behind. Of course, if your child is ready to advance to other material, she/he often must wait until a sufficient number of students are ready. In both cases, many children often end up feeling bored, frustrated, or both.

Another benefit of homeschooling education is that it exposes children to more unique experiences. Parents and kids often cite how homeschool curriculum encouraged them to get out of the home and learn about science, art, math, and history in the real world. Experiencing things outside of a classroom is often more engaging and leads to better absorption of knowledge and skills.

Of course, with the educational freedom comes added responsibilities. As mentioned above, parents are now required to become teachers and administrators. While we firmly believe every parent is capable of being the best teacher their child will have, it is important to point out that planning and scheduling are critical pieces to the homeschool puzzle. Be sure to take this into account as you consider whether or not to homeschool.

Homeschooling Pros and Cons Chart

As a parent, you only want what is best for your children. Homeschooling your child can create a wealth of learning opportunities that are not available with other school options.

However, it is important to take into account both the pros and the cons to ensure you make an educated and informed decision.

Below is Calvert Education’s chart of homeschooling pros and cons. The chart includes some of the points from the article above, along with additional factors.

If you have questions, please contact our team of counselors at Calvert. We are happy to review these and other facts and answer any questions you may have about homeschooling.

 

Homeschooling Pros and Cons

Homeschooling Fact: More family time spent on homeschooling.
Pros:

  • You have a more direct role on your child’s daily learning.
  • You have the satisfaction that your children are learning, developing skills, and maturing in a way that aligns to your goals and values.
  • Build stronger relationships with your children.
Cons:

  • You have to plan school-time and activities and handle the administrative work of being a teacher.
  • Less time each day for yourself.
  • Potential for more stress and fatigue by taking on parenting and teacher responsibilities.
Homeschooling Fact: More money dedicated to education in homeschooling.
Pros:

  • You can use vacations and other activities as part of your homeschool curriculum.
  • Purchasing bundled learning packets can help with budgeting and ultimately help reduce costs.
Cons:

  • Dedicating time to homeschooling can mean a loss of income or reduced time working.
  • Need to tighten your family’s spending.
Homeschooling Fact: Team sports options change for homeschoolers.
Pros:

  • Your children can still participate in recreational leagues, amateur leagues, attend local homeschool sports classes, or create their own sports leagues.
Cons:

  • Most school districts do not allow homeschoolers to participate in public school sports teams.
Homeschooling Fact: Different path for your child’s socialization.
Pros:

  • Less ridicule and social pressures that reduce self-esteem and discourage learning.
  • No bullying.
  • Greater exposure to more adults through field trips and other activities.
  • Connection to other homeschoolers of varying ages and skill levels.
  • Real-life skill building is stronger in home-based learning.
Cons:

  • Some kids who were homeschooled recall having a smaller circle of friends.
  • Less daily interaction with large groups of kids within the same age group.
Homeschooling Fact: More educational freedom and flexibility in homeschooling.
Pros:

  • Your child can move more quickly through assignments and subjects they understand, and spend more time on topics that are challenging.
  • Homeschoolers tend to perform better on standardized tests.
  • No homework! Yeah, that’s right. Since all learning is going on during the day, there is no need to task your child with additional work.
  • Ability to pursue child’s interests, and have more personalized learning – matching lessons to child’s learning styles.
Cons:

  • Possibly fewer resources such as technology that may be available in a public school.
  • Parents must teach a broad range of subjects. Greater freedom and flexibility requires more time and responsibility from the parent.
  • Potentially less structure when compared to public school.
Homeschooling Fact: Recognition for achievement is limited to homeschool.
Pros:

  • Less distraction from students who do not value learning allows for greater achievement
  • Homeschool students often show a greater pride in their own achievements, as they are self-motivated.
Cons:

  • Less outside family recognition of good work.
  • Fewer award ceremonies, as are common in public schools.
Homeschooling Fact: More time for community involvement.
Pros:

  • Less distraction from students who do not value learning allows for greater achievement
  • Homeschool students often show a greater pride in their own achievements, as they are self-motivated.
Cons:

  • More time to be involved in the community whether through volunteer opportunities or community projects.
  • Children lose some social interaction with peers.