Children Studying

Familiarizing oneself with the pros and cons of homeschooling is important regardless of any personal views on the subject.  Anyone seriously thinking about homeschooling his or her children most certainly needs to give thought to the ups and downs of a home-based system of education.

1. Pros

The Teacher/Student Enjoys the Luxury of Time

Parents who opt for homeschooling have hopefully considered one of the basic drawbacks to public education, and that is the largish student to teacher ratio in the average classroom.  Public schools are usually short-staffed; as a result, the sheer number of students often overwhelms the teachers. Furthermore, educators have to make do with the limited resources at their disposal.

In contrast, their counterparts at home enjoy the luxury of time and engage fewer students in learning. Therefore, they are able to meet deadlines and address exhaustively any questions that may come up.

Strengthens Family Bonds

Kids need all the attention they can get from their parents, especially when at a tender age. Unfortunately, most parents are usually too busy providing for the family, and the children are always away at school. When they meet at home later, both parents and their offspring may be too tired or otherwise distracted (with homework, class projects, etc.) to socialize.

Stay-at-home parenting and homeschooling bridges this gap; parents spend maximum quality time with their children. Little by little, a strained parent/child relationship will improve.

Children Maintain Consistency Even After Relocating

Relocating is difficult for everyone involved, especially children. Between all the moving out and settling in, kids are likely to experience a sharp decline in their school performances.  The geographical change is just too much for them to cope with sometimes.

When the parent is the teacher, the learning environment does not change much for homeschooled children. It is easy for them to maintain consistency.

It Is Easy to Address Bullying

Bullying inflicts both emotional and physical pain. If not dealt with swiftly, it can set off long-term trauma to the victim. In a secure and controlled learning environment, such as home, the signs are easily noticeable and the guardian can address them effectively. In fact, children will likely feel safer when reporting cases of bullying from the comfort and safety of their homes than elsewhere.

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The Parent Has More Say in the Child's Influences and Beliefs

Private- and public-schooled individuals lay open to all sorts of influences. For example, parents espousing Christianity may take offense if their child learns about evolution. Similarly, parents not inclined to believe in higher supernatural powers may also feel strongly if their children in subjects with religious overtones.

Thus, a home-based system of education is a good alternative for a parent to influence what he or she thinks is the “right” beliefs and values.

It Is Cheaper

The recent recession in the US economy has compelled many to tighten their budgets on superfluous spending.  Along with this is the increasing costs of almost all consumer goods, and “supplies” (such as “school clothes” or a mandated uniform, laptops, book fees, room fees, notepads, etc.) for a single child attending a public school (not to mention tuition costs for those electing to attend private institutions).

Homeschooling can mean cutting these costs to nearly nil.  It is cheaper because the parent is free to cut spending on daily routine costs such as lunch money and bus fare among other things.  With no peer pressure for “name brand” clothing, kids can attend class in their kitchen in their pajamas if they like.  In addition to saving a bundle on a new school wardrobe for each child such informality in garb also goes toward fostering a more fun and relaxed learning environment. 

2. Cons

Low Quality Education

Almost no lay person (particularly a parent who may not be clearly able to assess their child’s progress objectively) possesses the skill sets of a fully qualified and licensed teacher.  Teachers have to handle multiple educational disciplines, something most parents cannot do.  For example, if the parents only have high school diplomas, it is highly unlikely they could present educational materials in the same expert and engaging manner that a teacher with a master’s degree or a doctorate in education could do. 

As a result, the quality of education passed on to a homeschooled child may not always meet the highest standards. Thus, such children may fall short when measured against peers who have been taught by professionals.

Limited Resources at Home

Most schools, except for the very poorest, usually have decent learning materials (PCs, audio-visual equipment, etc.). 

The resources in many homes, in contrast, cannot meet all a student’s needs.  

Some homes may not have internet service or even an extensive collection of books suitable for research (say, a set of encyclopedias).  This obliges the child to move back and forth in search of essential services, such as those found at a library or a learning lab. The parent incurs additional expenses because some of these outside resources are not usually free, and the student wastes time by moving about.

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Negative Implications on Monthly Financial Budget

Unless parents deciding to teach their children at home are independently wealthy, homeschooling usually means at least one parent (almost invariably the mother) must give up his or her job to stay at home for the requisite time necessary each day to tend to educational matters. 

With one partner forgoing employment certain financial obligations, such as the mortgage or a car payment, may become difficult to meet each month.  Homeschooling is, therefore, probably not ideal for a family struggling to make ends meet; every paycheck counts.

It Overburdens the Mother/Father

Navigating between doing chores can take toll on any parent substituting as the teacher. He or she is too exhausted at the end of the day.  Therefore, they will be piling more pressure on themselves if they take up the teaching duties also.  Such additional responsibility also can spill over into the couple’s relationship—they may find it harder to make time for each other as their world now revolves around not only running a household but educating their children, too.

It Disconnects the Student Socially from the Rest of the World

A significant part of attending school outside the home is that it teaches social skills through continual, enforced interactions with others.

Homeschooled children, in contrast, once their schooling is complete are similar to zoo-bred lions released into the wild—such animals, kept in captivity, are not equipped to maneuver the jungle smoothly.  Schooling at home leaves many children socially shortchanged and poorly equipped in skills necessary to face the real world.  

Limited Job Opportunities

Some employers have a very low regard for homeschooled children. They are of the opinion that this home-based system lacks in so many ways. For example, most employers believe the quality of an education offered at home is substandard.  Therefore, when job hunting, children who attended a traditional, outside school will find they have an implied advantage over any child taught at home.

It conclusion, it is obvious that in today’s world proper dispensation of education is vital in ensuring successive gains by the learner. What are the correct methods of acquiring these skills? Is it through homeschooling or via traditional schooling?  Parents need to ask themselves these questions and consider the pros and cons before committing to such an in-house program of learning.