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With more schools in limbo during the pandemic, many parents find themselves considering the Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling children right now. Is homeschooling the ideal solution for the ongoing education of children right now? Also, are the additional benefits that might make sense long-term?
In this guide, you will learn more about the pros and cons of homeschooling children – both in regard to the current pandemic and more generally. There will be many parents that see this situation as the perfect excuse to get started on homeschooling.
Homeschooling is no new phenomenon in the US. Families have purposefully withdrawn their children from traditional education for various reasons over the last few decades.
In some cases, this could end up being a great choice and kids could thrive. However, there are some risks involved in taking children out of the school system and committing to this new lifestyle. Many parents see the negative implications of why not to homeschool and opt-out. By the end of this guide, hopefully, you will have a better idea of the right path for you. Is homeschooling better for your family.
Homeschooling In The Era Of Coronavirus
The Coronavirus pandemic has already hit the education system hard all across the world.
As educational institutions shut down to prevent the spread of the virus, lessons ground to a halt, and children were left unsure where they stood. School leavers in the UK are in the midst of a crisis over algorithm-generated results for exams they couldn’t take. School children everywhere are unsure when they will return to the classroom and what that experience will be like.
There is no way of knowing when life will return to normal, so the next academic year is set to be full of disruption too.
It is understandable, therefore, that parents would want to take their children out of school entirely. Some will do so out of fear of them mingling with so many children and catching the virus. Others will want to take charge of their child’s education and get learning back on track to avoid any more uncertainty and disruption. The question is whether a homeschool system with lessons at home is going to offer the best experience right now.
There are benefits in choosing this homeschool education for children right now.
Benefits Of Homeschooling
Let’s start with the pros of homeschooling benefits of choosing this type of education for your child. You may have perfectly valid reasons for choosing this alternative approach based on the health, well-being, and future prospects of your child. Homeschooling could help by providing the following advantages.
1) Greater control over the curriculum and subjects taught
2) More opportunities for life-lessons and experiences outside of the classroom
3) A more flexible schedule that works with your lifestyle
4) The chance to help kids mature and prepare for life outside of school
5) Better support for children with learning difficulties, disabilities, or other conditions
6) Better freedom of religious, emotional, and gender expression
You get greater control over the curriculum.
Greater control means more freedom to learn subjects that are important to the family, or a chance to put a little twist on the lessons.
For example, you might find that most kids in your area learn French or Spanish as a second language. But what about the mother-tongue of your family? Some mainstream schools might struggle to provide an effective arts program but you can go further with the right tools and field-trips.
You can detour from the sterile lesson plans of basic science and history lessons and find topics that are more engaging or relevant.
Homeschooling Means Greater Flexibility.
You might be able to create a more flexible learning schedule around your day. This can then create more opportunities for experiences, life-lessons, and field trips than you might get in a classroom.
It can get pretty boring to learn everything within the same four walls at school. Theoretical lessons become hard to visualize and field-trips are more like mini-holidays than lessons.
At home, you take the lessons out into the garden, the neighborhood, or anywhere else. You can take advantage of museums, galleries, libraries, and other attractions. You can also do this at weekends and during the summer as and when it matches your schedule.
All of these situations allow for one-on-one learning where you can work around learning styles and help them with problem areas. A big problem with mainstream schools these days is the size of the classrooms.
If you have groups of 30 or more students in one grade, all fighting for attention and support, someone will get left behind. Lessons can become broad and simplistic to teach the basic principles to a wider audience. It is harder for kids to raise their hands and ask for clarification.
At home, you can converse and work through ideas and questions at a better pace.
Homeschooling And Adulthood.
There is also the argument that home-schooled kids are better prepared for life outside of school and show more maturity because of their independence and discipline.
This may be a surprise to those that assume that it is harder to get a job or higher education after homeschooling.
Homeschooled kids may see more of the world and how it works through their interactions, civic lessons, and their work in the home or family business. They can then use that to progress with their life choices and careers in adulthood.
Support For Learning Difficulties And Disabilities.
There are also long-term benefits for children that struggle in traditional classrooms because of learning difficulties, ADHD, autism, or a form of disability.
While many schools do their best to integrate kids of different abilities with appropriate support, it isn’t always effective.
Parents that see their children struggling may feel it is best to pull them out of that difficult environment and use that one-on-one learning. This means tailored lessons adapted to their learning style for a more positive outcome.
Kids in this situation may not get masses of top grades across the board, but they may find subjects and disciplines where they shine.
Support For Freedom Of Expression.
Then there are the potential benefits in homeschooling for handing emotional, religious, sexual, and gender freedoms.
Children from religious households, whatever their faith, can often feel that mainstream schools don’t allow for their faith and customs.
Homeschooling can help families blend teaching and religious studies more effectively. Then there are the children and teenagers struggling in school because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Those that can’t “conform” and struggle to fit in may become happier and more confident in homeschooling situations.
In turn, this means that kids aren’t so likely to be subject to bullying. They can grow comfortable in their skins without the social pressure to conform. However, there are potential risks here in taking children away from their peers.
This is where we can now look at some of the disadvantages of homeschooling.
Why Not To Homeschool
When we look at homeschooling in the long-term, without the implications of a pandemic or other short-term factors, there are potential risks and drawbacks. Make sure that you consider the following on why not to homeschool before committing to this for the rest of your child’s education.
1) The potential lack of social interactions.
2) The risk of a loss of structure in the academic week
3) The adjustment period for children who are used to the school system
4) The balance needed for a well-rounded curriculum.
5) The changes to your own lifestyle and routine as you become a teacher
6) The costs involved in beneficial homeschooling
Don’t let your kids become isolated.
Are your children going to get the social interactions they need with their peer group? It is great to remove the threat of bullying, but do you also run the risk of them building friendships and learning social skills from their peers? Some parents get around this by inviting other kids over for study groups or enrolling kids in youth groups and other programs where they can meet like-minded kids. Just make sure they have age-appropriate conversations and fun experienced with more than just their siblings.
Flexibility in a lesson plan can go too far.
Also, you have to weigh up the potential benefits of flexibility with the lack of structure in their week. It might be difficult to stay on top of tasks and lessons without some good organization. Some parents might opt for homeschooling because they can come up with life-lessons and interesting experiences more spontaneously. But, this means running the risk of focusing too much on the fun or niche subjects and neglecting other academic pursuits. Kids could fall behind without structure.
Give kids time to adjust to the new routine.
These issues of flexibility are worsened if you take a child out of a structured school environment.
You have to be aware of the adjustment period. As much as your kids might moan about having to get up every day at a certain time, or the rigid structure of their lesson plans and breaks, it what they know.
When you take them out of this system, it might seem like a bit of a holiday with lots of freedom at first. They might struggle to settle into a pattern of lessons, independent study, chores, extracurricular activities, and social events when it all takes place at home. Give them time.
Finding the right balance.
When it comes to that modified curriculum, you have to find the right balance to make sure kids still have a well-rounded experience.
You can’t go all-in on sports in the hope of a college scholarship and neglect basic math and English skills.
You cant focus 100% on art and humanities subjects with no structure and miss out on other lessons that could help in the real world.
Also, if you build a curriculum entirely around your land or business, with the assumption your kids will follow in your footsteps, you deny them the opportunity to try new things. A well-rounded lesson plan will take you out of your comfort zone. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you embrace the chance to learn something in the process.
Changes to your lifestyle.
From there, you need to consider the pros and cons of this lifestyle from your own perspective.
This isn’t just about how the change will impact your child, their behavior, and their learning. You also have to understand how you will fit the role of the teacher into your own schedule.
Are you going to do this full-time while also taking care of the home? Is it just in your hands while your partner becomes the sole earner outside the home? Or, are you both going to share the teaching, household, and career responsibility in a careful juggling act? Talk to all those in your support circle – family and friends – to see how you can all share the load and make this work without too many sacrifices.
Be aware of the costs involved.
With that in mind, you also have to consider the costs involved. Sure, you aren’t paying to send you child to a school or for all the different resources, kit and other fees that come with that privilege.
However, there are still costs involved in providing educational materials at home, financing trips and dealing with any sort of examinations.
Try and get a financial plan and budget in place for the year with every textbook, online course, field trip expense, and other costs into consideration. If it seems unaffordable, you might have to reconsider.
Is Homeschooling Better
In the end, the only person that can tell you if homeschooling is a good idea is you, your partner, and your child.
Educational professionals may favor traditional school environments without seeing the potential for support and development at home. The potential benefits of homeschooling come down to the effort you put in to provide the best approach possible in a way that keeps children happy, engaged, and well-educated for their age-group and abilities.
It won’t be easy, and the pressures of the timetable, costs, and diversity of lessons may become too much to handle alone. But, those that are committed and flexible could find that their children thrive and get to restart their education in this uncertain time.