Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Should You Homeschool Your child? The Pros and Cons

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 1.5 million homeschooled students in the United States in 2007. Dr. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) estimates there were more than 2 million homeschooled children in 2008. Many parents have decided to homeschool their children, and many others are at least considering it. It's a major decision, so let's look at the pros and cons.

The Pros of Homeschooling

  • Kids are taught based on their own learning styles. They can learn slowly or quickly depending on their abilities. Also, it may be a more productive format for gifted students and kids with special needs. It allows for a two-way dialogue as opposed to lectures in the classroom, which typically adhere to arbitrary scope and sequence.
  • Parents have more control regarding what their kids learn. Decisions are based on parents' concern for their kids.
  • Learning schedules can revolve around the family's schedule, and this frees up more time for kids to be with their parents and siblings. Families can take vacations whenever they want.
  • Parents have more time to instill their values in their kids and build relationships with them. Values taught at school may conflict with the values of the parents.
  • Kids avoid bullying, teasing, and the negative peer pressure that occurs at schools.
  • Homeschooling encourages discovery and the joy of learning.
  • Parents don't have to be college graduates to successfully teach their children. Most homeschool programs provide detailed instructor's guides and lesson plans which show parents how to teach specific subjects.
  • Homeschooled kids find avenues for meeting other kids and developing friendships, such as through playing at the local park, joining sports teams, taking dance lessons, and hanging out with public school kids when they return home from school. Also, many areas have homeschool co-ops which provide field trips and events.

The Cons of Homeschooling

  • Parents have the sole responsibility for their kids' education.
  • Spending extended time together can strain difficult relationships. Some parents enjoy the break they have from their kids while they're attending school.
  • If the teaching parent gets sick, learning can suffer.
  • Homeschooling parents may be asked questions they can't answer.
  • Kids miss out on social opportunities at school. They also miss out on learning how to get along with various types of people.
  • Children may become too dependent on their parents.
  • The homeschooling parent spends a lot of his or her time preparing teaching materials, lessons, and teaching their children.
  • Homeschooled children might deal with fewer authority figures. Children at public schools learn to get along with numerous teachers and principals, librarians, school counselors, and school staff members. These experiences are useful later on in life, especially in the workplace.

If you've decided to homeschool your children, the regulations for homeschooling vary by state. It's vital to learn about your state's requirements. It may be more difficult for your children to be accepted by a college without state recognition.

Homeschooling is a big decision, so research the subject and get advice from former homeschooled students and current and former homeschool teachers.

Guest post by Brian Jenkins. 
He writes about careers in elementary education, among other topics, for BrainTrack.

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