Homeschooling is becoming an attractive option for more families than ever before, largely because it offers something for everyone.
From families who have to move more than most, to children who struggle at school or have special educational needs, homeschooling offers a valuable alternative to traditional schooling. But it’s not the easiest of transitions to make!
Before you dive into homeschooling, it’s well worth considering the pros and cons of homeschool to help you decide it’s right for you.
To assist in that, we’ve compiled what we believe to be the best and worst bits about homeschooling — as explained by other homeschoolers! After all, when you’re considering an adventure into the unknown, it’s a good idea to hear from the experts…
The pros of homeschooling your child
No doubt about it, homeschooling offers some fantastic benefits for you, your child and the rest of the family, including:
The one-size-fits-all approach adopted in mainstream education may not be for every child, which is where homeschooling really comes into its own. When you’re in charge of your child’s education, you have much more flexibility over where, when and how your children are educated.
Perhaps you have a child who loves to learn by seeing and doing, and not so much by reading and writing. In that case, homeschool allows you to deliver lessons in a way that suits them — you could take them on a museum tour to help their history lesson come alive, for example.
No matter the subject at hand, homeschooling lets you find a unique way to support your child’s development, and make best use of your time and money.
Better time management
Homeschooling also gives you much more control over how you manage your child’s schedule.
You’ll find you have the freedom to enjoy cheaper vacations in off-season periods, your child won’t risk falling behind if they need to take a break, and you’ll be able to make the adjustments accordingly with little to no interference.
By being able to rework your child’s schedule in a way that fits with the rest of family life, you can remove one of the main constraints of mainstream education.
Lack of distractions
Time constraints are one thing, but distractions in the classroom are a whole different ball game.
If you want a focused, controlled and distraction-free learning environment, homeschooling enables you to build it from the ground up. It’ll help them pay attention and learn more, and it could even put them in a better place to succeed later in life…
Improve your child’s chances of getting into college
Ivy League Universities like to recruit homeschooled students thanks to their increased attainment, maturity, and independence.
If you worry about your child being held back in the classroom, homeschooling is well worth some closer thought — you can set the pace, and challenge them as much as they need to push their education forward.
Socialization with added peace of mind
Homeschooling does not mean your child’s social life has to take a backseat. Local homeschool groups, extracurricular clubs, and weekly sports programs offer plenty of chances to make friends and socialize if you know where to look.
Okay, you will have to make a little more effort with the social side of life, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great activities out there for them. In fact, all that extra effort will help you find opportunities and activities that have a real positive impact on their social skills and state of mind.
Now that we’ve covered the pros of homeschooling, let’s add some all-important balance by taking a look at the cons you’ll want to consider.
The cons of homeschooling your child
As with any lifestyle choice, there are a few cons you need to be aware of too — starting with the culture shock you may encounter when you first make the switch:
The adjustment period
Getting your head around homeschooling can be tricky. From curriculums and compliance, to schedules and lesson plans, shifting into the role of a teacher can be a real challenge at first.
Your child might find that the first days away from the classroom are unfamiliar and hard to comprehend, but that’s where you need to pull together as a team. Make sure you reach out to your local homeschool community, particularly in times of initial stress or anxiety — it’ll take time to get into the swing of your new education approach, but with the right resources and support, you’ll get there in the end.
The anxiety related to homeschooling
It’s natural to feel that you’re not good enough, not professional enough, or that you simply don’t have what it takes to teach your child effectively. Some people take to homeschool instantly, whilst others have many feelings they need to wrestle with.
So if you’re feeling unsettled and uncertain about your decision, try to remember that these are just signs that you care — you want the best for your child, which is a good thing! It’s certainly not a reflection of how good you are, or will be, as a homeschooler.
Remember: your confidence will grow with experience.
The costs of homeschooling
If you have to buy a lot of new books and learning resources or employ a tutor for subjects you struggle to teach, homeschooling can quickly become more expensive than you perhaps anticipated. There’s also the drop in income to consider too if you or your partner is giving up their job to teach.
The secret? Try not to think of these as definitive cons or downsides — they’re just the price you have to pay for making the right choice for your child’s education.
Keep an open dialogue with the whole family, budget accordingly, and think about whether a little extra cost is really the thing that’ll stop you. After all, you can always explore other ways of making a little extra cash if you need it: can you go freelance for a while, or sell some unwanted furniture on eBay, for example?
Very few of the homeschool challenges are unsurmountable. And once you’ve weighed up all these factors — and considered ways to combat the drawbacks — you’ll be ready to make the right decision…
Is homeschooling right for you?
It’s the million-dollar question and, really, the answer depends on you, your child and your personal circumstances.
The best way forward is to work through the pros and cons of homeschooling as highlighted above and reflect on how they’re going to impact everyone involved. This approach will give you the time and space you need to come to a decision that works for everyone.
And if you do choose to homeschool your kids, click here to check out our fantastic selection of ready-to-use worksheets — that’ll get you off to the fast start you’ve been looking for!
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