Homeschooling is the process of teaching a specific curriculum to a student while at home. It is a curriculum that must be approved by the student’s local jurisdiction or state and must include documented hours of education. The primary benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility it provides, allowing students to work more at their own pace. On the other hand, homeschooling can sometimes lead to isolation from peers, which can be difficult for students who prefer to be social. These additional homeschooling pros and cons are also important to consider.
What Are the Pros of Homeschooling?
1. Public schools offer homeschooling programs.
Thanks to online educational programs, there are several public K-12 schools that offer homeschooling as an option. This allows the parent to supervise the education instead of being solely responsible for it in some way. The students then gain the opportunity to learn from accredited teachers in a setting that mimics a standard classroom.
2. It offers the chance to pursue specific subjects.
Homeschooling releases students from the peer pressures that sometimes exist in the traditional classroom in regards to personal preferences. A student who prefers to study the violin, for example, can pursue their education without negative peer pressure because the instrument is “silly.”
3. Grading and college placement still happen.
There are independent testing agencies that can supervise students who must take tests as part of their education. This allows the student to have a third-party involved in the supervision of the grading, removing any question of integrity that may come up during the college admissions process.
4. It offers a chance to begin a career early.
High school students who are homeschooled have the opportunity to begin a career earlier than other students because of the structure of their schooling. They can work day hours instead of afternoon or evening hours and then schedule their classes afterward. This flexibility can make it easier to get into college or gain the experience necessary to get a good paying job without the need to take on high levels of student loan debt.
5. There are still social opportunities available to students.
Most communities have homeschooling get-together programs that allow students to have field trips, social gatherings, and other group events. This eliminates a lot of the social isolation that can occur when being homeschooled, although joining these groups may entail a fee and have other added costs that some families may not be able to afford.
6. Students can study at their actual grade level.
Gifted and talented students can use homeschooling to their advantage, studying a curriculum that reflects their current learning level. If a student is at a 12th grade level in reading and mathematics, but their science and social studies is at a 9th grade level, then their educational plan can be easily adjusted to reflect their strengths and weaknesses.
7. Modern homeschooling allows for diplomas to be earned.
Many independent schools offer homeschooling programs in addition to the public schooling options that are available, giving students the chance to earn a real diploma after graduation. This allows homeschooled students the opportunity to avoid the GED process, which in the past could hinder their future vocational efforts.
8. There is much less bureaucracy that must be handled.
Parents who homeschool don’t need to deal with multiple teachers, school administrators, and other forms of bureaucratic red tape.
What Are the Cons of Homeschooling?
1. It costs more than a standard public education.
There will always be costs associated with schooling, but homeschooling is more expensive than attending a standard public school. Even when a public K-12 homeschooling option is being used, families have the added costs of meeting daily needs for the student at home. Formal curricula for homeschooled students that is independent of the public schooling system can range from $600-$10,000, depending on the program and textbooks that are used.
2. It can be difficult for students to have certain questions answered while being homeschooled.
When parents are directly involved in the education of their homeschooled students, it may be difficult to teach specific subjects. This is particularly true in high school when considering subjects like chemistry, calculus, and other advanced materials. For students who excel in these areas, homeschooling households may need to invest into a tutor or other educational professionals for support.
3. There is still a negative stigma associated with homeschooling.
For many students, the first question they get asked about homeschooling involves their religion. “I bet you didn’t have many friends,” is another common comment. Students who are homeschooled are often treated differently by society. Although this doesn’t usually affect their opportunities, it does create its own form of social isolation from time to time.
4. Students must carry required documentation regarding their status at all times.
As students get older and remain in a homeschooling program, they may be required by their jurisdiction to carry a “truancy card” with them. This identification proves that the student is homeschooled and not purposely missing school for some reason if they are in the community during regular school hours. Failing to carry this card and be asked about their status could result in a fine or other consequences for the student and their family.
5. It gets boring.
Many homeschooled students can get through their required daily schoolwork in 2-3 hours. At first, this seems like an advantage because it frees up more of the day for other activities. In reality, it creates high levels of boredom. Many parents who homeschool also work during the day. This leaves the student in a place where they must entertain themselves for sometimes 5-6 hours while their peers are enjoying time with each other at school. It often results in watching more TV, playing more video games, and other forms of screen entertainment.
6. Students miss out on important school activities.
Many jurisdictions do not allow homeschooled students to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities. This means homeschooled students are often not allowed to play any high school sports within a public school setting. They may be excluded from band, chorus, and other arts programs that local schools offer. Going to Prom, the Homecoming dance, and other social events is also more difficult.
7. It is much easier for students to cheat.
Many homeschool textbooks provide the answers to lesson questions at the back of the book. This is done to assist parents or tutors who may be teaching outside of their preferred subjects. The temptation to check the back of the book when someone isn’t looking can be a tough one to resist for many students.
These homeschooling pros and cons show that for certain students with a specific mindset, it can be a very rewarding opportunity that will advance their education. For others, it is a decision that leads to loneliness, boredom, and isolation. Being homeschooled can give families more control over the specifics of their child’s education, however, and that may be the most important consideration.