The subject of homeschooling pros and cons has come up in this unique time of home lockdown due to the Coronavirus.
As someone who was homeschooled, or more specifically unschooled, until the age of 8 (and my older brother until he was 11), it has actually been mildly frustrating.
The reason is because most talk has been wrapped up with the #1 misconception about what the original intent of modern homeschooling actually was.
The most frustrating part is that current circumstances have amplified the misconception – people are actually talking about something that is not homeschooling.
The misconception is this:
Homeschooling is about re-creating a classroom environment at home.
Yes, there are many different approaches.
But, stripped down, homeschooling is based on the belief that children, left to their own devices, will naturally be drawn to passions & interests which will compel them to learn for the love of it.
More importantly, it’s based on the belief that children can learn by themselves at their own pace.
Here is the result of ignoring this.
People who don’t know any better believe that a parent needs to assume the role of teacher to successfully homeschool their children.
So they try to teach their kids things they are not interested in.
And things which they themselves don’t understand.
This is one reason why there are some infamous videos now spreading around the internet of parents losing their shit(!) because they feel they can’t teach their children the subjects they would be learning at school.
Coronavirus or not, homeschooling is not for everyone.
With that said, there are many homeschooling pros and cons to consider.
Since I’m coming from a grateful-for-having-been-homeschooled angle, let’s start with the cons.
The Cons of Homeschooling
Whether you’re sitting at a table with textbooks and worksheets, or organizing things to do outside the home, homeschooling can consume a parent’s time.
More often than not, at least one parent needs to stay home, which means not working (unless they can figure out a way to make money from home).
Being with your kids 24/7.
One of the big reasons for homeschooling is to spend extended time with your children. For some parents, this is not actually what they would prefer (as a kindergarten teacher I’ve had parents tell me this directly).
More effort needed for team sports or group activities.
A parent needs to be more proactive here. With research though, plenty of options are available.
If parents smother their children with extreme ideology the child’s perspective can narrow.
Living outside ‘normal’ society. By homeschooling, parents are removing themselves and their family from the mainstream, to a degree. They may need a thick skin to shield them from inevitable negative comments and criticisms.
Now, here’s a quick overview of the pros.
The Pros of Homeschooling
Educational freedom. As long as parents aren’t veering off a side-street, homeschooled children get to learn what they want, when they want, for as long as they want.
Physical freedom. Not being stuck to the program of a large, inflexible institution frees time to go where you want, when you want (money-dependent).
Emotional freedom. A homeschooled child can live largely free from peer-pressure, bullies and cliques. It’s not avoiding reality – just the concrete jungle.
Closer family relationships. The nucleus of a healthy, loving family thrives with homeschooling. Each member learns to trust and rely on the others profusely.
Stability during difficult times. Any tragedy or difficulty just offers a homeschooling family the chance to pull together as a cohesive unit even more.
Well-rested kids. When children don’t have to wake up prematurely and rush to catch the school bus, when they do wake up their hearts & minds are more open.
Religious freedom. The opportunity to incorporate religious beliefs into everything they do attracts many families who homeschool. Although in some cases religious beliefs can restrict and interfere with learning.
This is a very brief account.
But, quite quickly, a lot of parents can usually identify 2 or 3 in both lists which count them possibly in or out straight away!
I have a step-daughter who is 9 years old. She attends school because homeschooling is illegal in Turkey.
But, growing up in Australia, I was homeschooled then started going to primary school then, during high school, wanted to return to homeschooling but didn’t get to.
Now I’ve been teaching English as a 2nd language to kindergarten and 3rd grade for the past 3 years.
This slight conundrum is what prompted me to write a book.
And I’ve just entered the exciting phase of getting ready to publish it!