Should I homeschool my children?

Depending on the neighborhood you live in, you may have access to the best schools in the country or worry that your child will not get the education they need to be admitted to the top universities. One of the options you have if you fall into the latter group of parents is homeschooling. Today more than two million children are homeschooled and these students consistently earn higher marks in national tests than public school children at every grade level. Those above the 5th grade level even work at levels 4 grades above their age group. Considering these statistics what parent wouldn't want to homeschool? Here are the pros and cons of homeschooling.

Advantages of homeschooling

  1. Individualized learning pace. Every child has a different learning curve. Some excel faster in some subjects than others but in a standardized learning environment, they have to stay at the 'level of the class' so these students can get bored and eventually lose interest in subjects where they are in fact gifted. By creating an individualized curriculum for your child, you are able to spend extra time on the areas your child needs more support in but also work at higher grade levels in the subjects that your child masters. This not only helps them academically, but also helps resolve many behavior issues found in the classroom when children are struggling in certain subject areas.
  2. Customized learning plan. Not only do children learn at different tempos, but they also have different learning styles. Some learn best by doing while others by observing and still others by repetition. Parents can get a sense of which learning style suits their children best and adjust the environment to help their children excel.
  3. Freedom of time. The school schedule is very structured from morning to afternoon every day of the year. When students are sick or families plan a vacation, they may miss out on important lessons that other students are receiving. Being able to travel during off season also enables families more freedom and better prices.
  4. Developing family values. Many parents have religious or spiritual preferences that can be incorporated into homeschooled children's daily lessons.
  5. Safety. Parents are able to monitor where their kids are and who they interact with everyday. They don't have to worry about other children or adults influencing their kids in negative ways. They don't have to ensure the right person picks up their child at the right time of day if they are running late from another appointment.
  6. Prioritized work activities. When students come home from a long days worth of school only to have more homework to do, they can often become burned out. Homeschooled children are able to complete their work during school hours and parents have the flexibility to adjust the workload based on their child's pace. This enables the children to grow at their own rate and get the rest they need to focus and make the most of the 'learning hours' of the day.

Disadvantages of homeschooling

  1. Socialization. Most homeschooled children don't have as much opportunity to engage with other children their age. They may not be exposed to the 'outside' of classroom content that students pick up such as kids games, latest trends, or even making best friends. To ease this many homeschooling programs are cropping up in cities that have once a month gatherings or sports and music programs just for homeschooled children.
  2. Time. The parent who stays home with the children must dedicate time not only to raising their kids but to the education their kids will receive. They have to buy materials and prepare lessons on top of doing other daily chores like cooking, cleaning, and shopping. This can be even more demanding than a full time job.
  3. Keeping up with national standards. Although the national averages for homeschooled children on standardized tests are higher than public school students, there are many families who may not be keeping up with standards because the parents are too loose with their children's studies.
  4. Income. The parent who stays at home is foregoing an income from working. Additionally, they have to pay for all their child's educational materials which is normally provided in a public school. Every new book or learning activity requires supplies that costs money.