22 July 2021 (updated)

Is Homeschooling Right for You? Pros and Cons of Homeschool in the US

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average American student spends about 6.5 hours in the classroom each day.

If you're looking for an alternative to the typical education system, homeschooling can be an option that provides a tailored educational experience! Find out the pros and cons of homeschooled education here!

The Benefits of Homeschooling

Most children’s educational experience happens within public schools where they have plenty of structure, expectations, and opportunities to make new friends. But, homeschooling is an alternative option that can provide educational benefits. While it can take work and plenty of dedication, being an exceptional student doesn’t have to involve the traditional classroom! If you’re considering homeschooling your children, there are many factors to consider before you decide.

What Is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling is a pedagogical system in which parents make the choice to educate their children at home. The number of homeschoolers has grown tremendously over the years, with an estimated 55 million homeschool students for the 2017-18 school year. An estimated 2.56% of all school-aged children are homeschool, but those numbers vary depending on state and grade.

There is no one reason why parents choose to homeschool their children. It can be related to anything from religious beliefs and dissatisfaction with local schools to issues with traditional education. Many parents also opt for homeschooling so they can tailor their curriculum to the child's unique learning needs.

Homeschooling is legal all over the country, but the specific legal requirements vary from state to state. Here's a great guide to homeschool laws by state, so be sure to check into these to make sure you can fulfill the different requirements. But at the most basic level, homeschool parents should be dedicated to education and learning and enjoy the time with their child.

What Are the Benefits of Homeschooling?

There are plenty of ways that homeschooling can offer kids an edge. Here are some of the top benefits.

Homeschool Lets You Embrace Different Learning Styles

Whether a child learns differently or has a disability, it can be difficult for them to learn in the classroom. With the homeschooling curriculum, their studies will be adapted to their learning style. Plus, you have more freedom for creativity. Your student can do science experiments or projects to make learning easier. A homeschool education also provides more time and space to prepare kids for life when their parents teach them how to cook or hone a skill. That can mean more success for your homeschooler in the long run!

It can also be a great option for a highly motivated child who might want to complete learning requirements more quickly. It's not uncommon for a homeschooled student to skip ahead a grade or two since they're able to learn at their own pace.

Homeschool Allows More One-on-One Instruction

It can be hard for students to get the teacher’s attention with so many demands put on educators. Fortunately, learning at home means your focus will be on your child and you can help them with any problem. This is one of the huge pros for homeschooled students, especially when they are more introverted.

Homeschool Helps Students Foster Their Talents

As a parent, you’re going to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Luckily, being their teacher means you can center homeschooling activities on their skillset. It can be a surefire way to nurture their natural talent and give it the emphasis it requires. If you have any tips for prioritizing your child’s talent, share them on FamilyApp!

Anywhere Becomes a Classroom

Many parents get frustrated with the limited time kids get to spend outside when they're at school. This is where homeschool can be a great solution. The great outdoors can become much more of a tool in your child's curriculum. Whether it's scavenger hunts, messy science experiments, or just doing their work in the great outdoors, fresh air, sunshine, and exercise are particularly beneficial for kids.

Flexible Schedule

Some parents choose homeschooling because their child has a natural talent or skill that goes above and beyond, and they want a schedule that can cater to nurturing that talent. Whether it's a sport, instrument, or art, having a flexible schedule is helpful if you want your child to focus on a particular skill. Also, if you enjoy going on educational field trips and vacations as a homeschool family, the flexibility means you can travel whenever you want, and avoid all the holiday/weekend crowds!

What Are the Disadvantages of Homeschooling?

While it's great to be able to tailor your curriculum to fit your child, it can sometimes be more difficult to push your child in the areas where they struggle.

Because there’s a comfortable relationship between parent and child, it can be difficult for them to easily transition into the roles of teacher and student. This means that students can sometimes misbehave more for a parent than a traditional teacher. It's also harder to leave the school stress "at school" since school and home are one and the same.

While "setting your own pace" may seem like a positive aspect, for a child who struggles with self-regulation and motivation, the lack of structure in the environment may prove to be a point of contention between you and your child. The child may be inclined to goof off all day, whether that's with TV, tablets, computers, reading, or video games. This could result in your child having to repeat a grade if they fall too far behind.

It can also be pretty challenging to select the appropriate education curriculum for your child while staying up-to-date with lesson plans. Of course, it's not enough to have the curriculum, but you're got to make sure you follow it!

There are lots of wonderful resources to be sure your children don't fall behind their peers at traditional public and private schools, including standardized tests. So if sticking to a schedule is something you struggle with, make sure you have support and accountability before starting to homeschool!

Homeschooling Cons and How to Avoid Them

One of the most common points of criticism you will encounter when you homeschool a child might be that there is a lack of socialization for your child. While it's true that homeschooled kids may not experience that typical school life that students of a public school have every day - but there are also pros and cons to that!

So it's important that your homeschool students interact with peers. Hence, many homeschooling families come together on a regular basis. At these meet-ups, both parents and kids talk about their experience, the curriculum, or exchange homeschooling tips. Sometimes they also set up field trips together. These homeschoolers turn the alleged cons into pros.

What Are Good Tips for Homeschooling?

  • Prioritize Socialization. Most kids also begin to make friends when they start going to school. But if your child is a homeschooler, they won’t have that opportunity. It’s important for them to have these basic life skills though! Whether they join a sports team or a camp, make sure they’re getting in plenty of time with peers. It's great if you can find an activity where they can engage with private school or public school students. That way, they'll be able to comfortably engage with kids from all different backgrounds!
  • Join a Homeschool Community – Whether you want to engage with a neighbor or the online community, having the support of other homeschoolers can help. You may even want to try some homeschooling apps that will provide plenty of tips, tricks, and insights. Having a community or co-op also can help with socialization, especially if you are homeschooling an only child. This way you can get feedback and interaction with other families who are on the same path.
  • Set Goals – It’s very important to begin homeschooling with an idea of what you want to accomplish in mind. If there are certain topics you want your child to focus on, ensure that you consider the knowledge they’ll require according to the curriculum. Share successful tips for goal setting with others on FamilyApp!

Homeschooling might not be for everyone, but it's a wonderful option for millions of families nationwide. Whether you’re a family on-the-go or prefer non-traditional schooling, there are ways to help your children succeed! Do you have any tips or homeschooling resources? Share them with other parents in our comments or on a family app! This educational option may have its own set of challenges, but there are benefits that make it worthwhile.

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