Considering homeschool? It’s worth taking some time to weigh the pros and cons. After all, finding the right learning environment for your child is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a parent.
Luckily, you don’t have to face this hefty choice on your own. We’re here to help. Read on to learn the pros and cons of homeschool, along with some simple ways to figure out if homeschooling is the right solution for your family.
How to Decide If Homeschooling Is Right for You
The first step toward deciding if homeschool is the right fit is examining your own capabilities and resources. It is crucial that you’re honest with yourself at this stage.
Start by identifying the unique demands of homeschool. Then decide if you have the resources to meet those demands, and weigh all of your options. Here are some common questions to consider:
- If you feel underqualified in a particular subject, what are tutoring costs?
- If you can’t make a full-time commitment, are there online options to lighten your load?
- If you’re worried about stunted social experiences, are there extracurriculars your child can pursue?
Once you’ve weighed your costs, capabilities, and resources, be sure to take a long, hard look at the benefits and challenges of homeschooling.
Benefits of Homeschooling
If you’re interested in homeschooling, you’re not alone. In fact, there are around 2.5 million homeschooled K-12 learners in the United States. And those numbers are climbing.
Wondering what’s drawing so many parents and students to homeschooling? Here are a few benefits fueling the decision to homeschool:
Because homeschooling isn’t tied to a specific school district, you have more freedom to choose the educational models and teaching methods that serve your child best.
In a large classroom setting, it is hard for teachers to give full attention to any one student. That’s why homeschooling can be an especially beneficial route for parents who need to provide extra attention to a student with learning disabilities or other additional learning needs.
In-Depth Learning Outcomes
Students learn at different paces, and some learners pick up subjects more quickly than others. When your student needs to catch up or requires extra attention to overcome academic barriers, homeschooling offers the perfect environment to bridge the gap.
Not all subjects are easy to address, and there may be instances when you want to cover sensitive subjects in a way that fits into your family’s religious or moral framework. Homeschooling lets you tackle those sensitive subjects in a way that aligns with your values.
Bullying and at-school violence are a growing concern for parents. Because learning takes place at home, homeschooling allows students to pick up skills in a safer environment.
More Lifestyle Flexibility
Want to go on a family vacation or plan schooling around extracurricular events? You can with homeschooling. Ultimately, homeschool makes it much easier to educate your child on their own time.
More Family Time
Sure, homeschooling isn’t all fun and games, but it does mean your child will be learning in your home. That means you’ll have more quality time and will have the chance to be there for your student throughout the daily ups and downs.
More Classroom Productivity
In the traditional schooling environment, students are often left waiting for others to catch up or finish assignments. Homeschooling lets your student move at their own pace, which means more productivity and more opportunities for accelerated learners to continue learning.
Disadvantages of Homeschooling
Even with all of the advantages homeschooling provides, it’s not for everyone. It comes with distinct disadvantages that can turn off many students and parents. Before jumping into a homeschooling program, make sure you’ve considered the challenges that come along with at-home learning.
As a parent, you’re busy, and teaching can be a full-time job. Although there are online programs to shift the burden of teaching off of you as a parent, homeschooling will require an extra time commitment.
You Need to Be a Teacher
For homeschooling to be successful, parents need to be able to teach their children about subjects they may not be familiar with. In some cases, that might mean picking up extra education yourself or brushing up on subjects you’ve long forgotten.
It Comes with Higher Costs
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) estimates parents spend anywhere from $50-$500 per student per year on homeschooling supplies. On top of those direct costs, it is also important to account for the income you’ll be sacrificing by staying home. Overall, it is safe to assume homeschooling will come with added costs.
There May Be Extracurricular Limits
Although there are options for your child to build social networks as a homeschooler, it will be more difficult than it would be if they were in a school filled with students. In general, homeschooling won’t include access to the many extracurricular programs that traditional schools provide.
You May Face Community Push-Back
Justified or not, homeschooling tends to be met with resistance from other parents who have chosen different educational paths for their students. If you choose homeschooling, be ready to defend your decisions and field questions about your choice.
Tips for Parents on the Fence About Homeschooling
If you’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to homeschool your child, don’t get discouraged. It is natural for you to look for the absolute best option out there. Luckily, there are some ways to dip your toes in the water prior to taking a full-on dive into homeschooling.
One of the simplest ways to see what homeschooling life is like is to embed yourself in homeschooling communities. This could mean getting together with local homeschooling parents for an in-person chat about their experiences. It could also mean exploring online homeschooling groups and messaging parents who are already homeschool veterans.
Remember, parents who are currently homeschooling were in your shoes once upon a time. Reach out to homeschoolers, ask them why they chose to teach from home, question them about the benefits, and inquire about those potential challenges driving your hesitations.
Try It Out
You don’t have to jump into homeschooling right away. Instead, consider testing out teaching at home during the summer or on the weekends. This will help you see if it’s something you can handle or if you need to make extra preparations before you start a full-time regimen.
When you’re facing a decision as hefty as choosing an education path for your child, it is worth gathering every resource you can. Fortunately, there are some lesser-known resources parents can pick up to improve their homeschooling experience. Here are a few to explore:
- Facebook communities: Facebook can be an excellent place to connect with parents who have already experienced the joys and challenges of homeschooling. Not only do Facebook groups give you a peek into what homeschool life is like, but they also provide a good way to ask questions and gather support for your student’s education.
- Twitter: Twitter is another platform that makes it easy to connect with homeschooling parents. By searching relevant hashtags and following prominent homeschooling organizations, you can find the latest information about homeschooling and glean the best tips.
- Online curricula: Before you start educating your child at home, you’ll want to pick out a curriculum that prepares them for life after school. That will take some research. When choosing an online curriculum, make sure it’s engaging, consistent, and accepted by secondary institutions, such as the NCAA or University of California (UC) system.
Method Schools Is Here for You
Hopefully, with a firm grasp on the scope of homeschooling and the resources out there, you’ll have what you need to choose the right learning option for your family. Regardless of your final decision, we’re here to help.
If you do decide to homeschool, we have resources to help you succeed. We provide online homeschooling programs and can supplement your homeschooling efforts. Plus, our curriculum is designed to prepare your student for life well beyond high school. Here are some qualities that set Method Schools apart:
- We provide unlimited online teacher interaction.
- We’re Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)-accredited.
- We use custom SmartFox online coursework to fit your child’s needs.
- We offer parent workshops for at-home teachers.
- Students can choose from more than 140 NCAA and University of California-approved courses.
- We provide small class sizes for more personalized learning.
- We organize field trips and social gatherings.
Want to learn more about Method Schools? Chat with one of our education leaders today.