One of the most controversial topics related to education is homeschooling. Most people have very strong opinions about it, which means they either fully support or dismiss the idea. However, like with so many other issues that polarize the public opinion, the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle.
Namely, homeschooling most certainly has its merits and can be the right option for some, while claiming it is for everyone would be pushing it too far. Let’s take a closer look at what homeschooling really entails and what its advantages and disadvantages are.
Many parents who have opted for homeschooling point out flexibility as one of the most beneficial aspects and there is a good reason for that. With so many online programs and tutors available, offering both tools and curriculum, it’s easy to see why homeschooling is an attractive option. Some parents, on the other hand, have decided to take the best of both worlds by combining homeschooling with traditional schooling, where the student takes some courses at a nearby school. Others have organised groups of homeschool kids to create their own “mini schools”.
Needless to say, a tailor-made approach is always the most efficient and effective, but only if it’s created and implemented by experts. Only then can you expect your kid to be curious about the curriculum and have the opportunity to pursue their own interests. With the option to find experts to help you from all over the world, your chances of making the right decision are significantly higher. This is especially true for traditionally difficult subjects, which is why finding the right maths tutor should be one of your priorities if you’re considering homeschooling. However, some parents might find all these options overwhelming and choose to teach their kid themselves.
One of the strongest arguments of those opposing the idea of homeschooling is the lack of contact with peers, which can have negative effects on the student’s social life and skills. There is no denying that homeschooled kids are deprived of this benefit offered by traditional schools, but the problem can be significantly reduced if the student is engaged in extracurricular activities, such as music, drama or sports classes where they have to interact with peers who share the same interests. Whether this can fully compensate for all the hours spent with classmates is hard to tell, though.
There is another disadvantage of homeschooling, which is very difficult to overcome. Namely, most kids are competitive by nature and like to measure their abilities and skills against those of their peers. If your kid has no-one to compare themselves to, it will be difficult for them (and you, as a parent) to know whether homeschooling is really living up to your expectations.
You’ll save a lot of time by not having to drive your kid to and back from school and you’ll be able to take a holiday when it suits you instead of having to depend on school breaks. Still, you have to realise that you’ll have to take on many responsibilities related to your kid’s education, which can be a problem if you have a full-time job. You’ll have to monitor their work and progress much more closely and make decisions that would otherwise be made by teachers at school. Also, you might find the whole experiment a bit too expensive for you, which is why you have to budget very carefully before deciding to homeschool your kid.
Yes for some, no for others. The right answer depends on many factors, some of which can change from one year to the next. If your school is failing your child, you might give homeschooling a chance. Then, on the other hand, you may see that your kid craves a group to belong to, which is a sure sign you should stick to a regular school. Basically, to make the most of homeschooling, you need to have enough resources (time, money, patience and knowledge) to set up a system that suits your kid. If you’re lacking one of those elements, homeschooling is probably not the best idea.
On the other hand, if your situation is such that your kid can’t fit in the traditional system for any reason and you are able to afford homeschooling, you might realise that you’ve done them a great favour by organising education that is focused solely on them. In a nutshell, you have to weigh the pros and cons carefully and make a decision. Luckily, if you realise that your decision is not bearing fruit, you can always change your mind and opt for a different type of schooling.