Homeschooling has caught the attention of many parents and media in the recent time. From the US census statistics, the number has increased to around 5 million from 2019 to 2022 during the Covid pandemic. This is about twice the number from the previous years.
In this blog, let's learn the benefits and drawbacks. If you are a parent considering homeschooling as the best education system for your child, this post will provide valuable insights into your quest.
What is homeschooling?
It is an educational system also known as home education where the parents take full responsibility for educating their children instead of taking them to private or public school. It doesn't mean all the teaching takes place at home. Teaching can be at museums, parks, or even through road trips. The parent takes full responsibility for the teaching roles but can combine with other tutors or homeschooled parents.
Why is homeschooling popular
Homeschooling is becoming more popular, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the US Census Bureau's Household Pulse survey, the number of homeschoolers has doubled from the spring of the 2019-2020 school year to the autumn of the 2020-2021 school year, reaching 5 million.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), the number of homeschooled students was 2.5 million in 2019 and increased to 3.7 million in 2021. The number of 3.7 million students represents approximately 6% to 7% of K-12 students in the United States.
After the 2019 corona pandemic, the number of homeschooled children increased from 2% to 8% annually. The increase shows more parents are accepting homeschooling as a viable form of education. Before you decide about homeschooling, consider the following advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling.
Advantages of homeschooling
- Individualized learning
Children are different in many aspects. Each one of them has different talents and interests. Homeschooling allows parents to create a curriculum tailored to the child. For example, if your child's learning style is visual, then it will be appropriate for the parent to create more visual aids like images and videos in the lesson. If you find out that your child has more artistic or athletic interests, you can spend more time practicing. Customizing the study to suit a specific student is not feasible in a school setting as the teachers are always busy and barely notice specific attributes of an individual.
- Safe environment
Home education protects the child against social harms such as school violence and racism, especially with the numerous school shooting incidents. The child may get stuck in drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships. Keeping the child away from school can also reduce their risk of contracting diseases like covid 19 due to overcrowding.
- Improve performances in academics
According to researchers, homeschooled students perform significantly better than traditional school students. The homeschooled students tend to perform averagely above those in learning institutions in SAT and ACT exams.
- Customized curriculum and study environment
The primary reason most parents switch from institutional-based learning to homeschooling is to customize their child's curriculum and learning environment. With homeschooling, parents have complete control over the educational content of their children. The opportunity to design a creative and advanced thinking learning environment at home is an added advantage to the child's mental and physical development.
- Schedule flexibility
Learning from home allows for a flexible schedule adapted to your family's needs. You can create a unique curriculum, timetable, and teaching methods that suit your family's needs, and you can travel whenever you see fit. The flexibility is beneficial to your child's mind and body schedule. This allows your child to work when they feel most focused and productive, whether in the morning, afternoon, or evening and it allows you to adapt your day to your child's mental rhythm.
- Strong relationship
Homeschooling enables the parent to have more time with kids, which can help create a strong bond between the parent and the child. This may also enhance the relationship between you and your spouse as you have to support each other in educating the child.
- More family times
To most parents, the major benefit of homeschooling is having more family time. Children grow fast, and our time with them is limited and home education tends to extend that time significantly.
- Protection against negative social elements
Homeschooling provides a safer environment by protecting your child from harmful social elements. Most of it is school violence and other negative behaviors like bullying, racism, and drug use.
- World success
Research indicates that homeschooling students statistically have a higher success rate and perform better in adulthood than those who attend institutional schools. They also tend to be more involved in community service and have an equal or higher rate of attending and succeeding in college than the general population.
Disadvantages of homeschooling
Let me now analyze some of the main homeschool disadvantages:
- Difficulties in socializing
One potential drawback of homeschooling is that it may lead to socialization difficulties for children. Children under homeschooling have little chance of forming bonds or interacting with peers. They can still make friends outside school. It often takes more effort to arrange meetings or activities. Meanwhile, if they attend schools, they can spend over 8 hours with many of their peers, facilitating the natural formation of bonds and contributing to their mental, physical, and social development.
- Limited socializing opportunities
Staying at home offers more time to socialize any time. With anyone, the child chooses but attending a traditional school, the child can socialize with children of the same age group. Schools have been where children make friends. Taking that away from a child is a major disadvantage of homeschooling. Hybrid homeschooling is a potential solution to this issue
- Entails a lot of organization and planning
It is important to have realistic expectations because if you believe homeschooling looks like the online classes you child had during the holidys or pandemic, you will be disappointed. Planning a proper homeschooling education requires a lot of time and planning. As a homeschooling parent, you are responsible for your child's education and an efficient organization at home. Since the parent is responsible for the child's education in homeschooling, that's not a small thing to do. You'll need to choose a curriculum, plan activities, follow a schedule, gather materials, design learning spaces, find educational resources and somehow make it all work in your living room.
- Financial problems
While every US student costs the taxpayer an average of $15,240 yearly, homeschooled students are funded by their own families. This means your child's education costs entirely to the parent. Home education demands that parents spend a lot of money buying stationery, furniture, educational platforms, and other learning materials. For home education to work, at least one parent must stay home to care for the child's education.
- Limited facilities
Even if the parent can create a wonderful learning environment for the child at home, the homeschooled classrooms may lack facilities like a science lab or a well-equipped playground. Parents may not provide all the required chemicals, materials, or chemistry labs for chemistry lessons or make a great effort to do so. Parents like specialized teachers may also not be experts in all subjects to guide their children.
As the children grow and advance in studies where the subjects become more complex, the limitation of space and resources may become more obvious.
- Lack of school related experiences
Homeschool students lose out on experiences only available in institutional schools. Experience includes field trips, talent shows, Christmas concerts, spring festival, seasonal events, and other sports competitions. All these activities happen in schools and have an educational value.
- Limited development of certain skills
Another shortcoming of homeschooling from a teacher's perspective is that it restricts the growth and development of important skills like "sharing, cooperation, and collaboration that are crucial for teamwork in teams and professional success.
- Excessive interaction
Most children attend school for half a day or a full day. Homeschooling involves being with your kids 24/7. Excessive interaction with the kid can make them feel confined since they are always under the parent's control. It can also frustrate the parents when kids misbehave or struggle with learning.
- Changes in family lifestyle
Previously, parents had a simple role of just being parents. With homeschooling, parents have additional responsibilities of being teachers and administrators. The workload be overwhelming as they must teach and carry out other duties, such as designing lesson plans and organizing field trips. As a result, the family's daily schedule can be heavily impacted, leaving parents with less time for personal needs.
Homeschooling affects the family's finances. Parents spend money on learning materials and online courses etc. So they have less time to work and earn money. A decreased income with increased expenses leads to the need for tighter spending.
After reading the pros and cons of homeschooling, it's now upon you to decide if it is a perfect fit and an option for your child's education. Homeschooling is a challenge to many parents, but it also provides many advantages that have prompted many US families to choose it.