It is true, as with all things, there are positive and negatives sides to homeschooling.
I read an article posted on MiddleSchool.net where the writer outlined the negative aspects of homeschoolingThis post struck a cord in me though, so I am going to address the writer’s points one by one. I can’t promise that there will be a lack of snark. You’ve been warned. This is a republished post from two years ago.
“When parents take the responsibility of educating their children at home, they may need to set aside time to make it work.”
Wait—Do you mean to tell me that I have to spend TIME with my kids and actually TEACH them something? I thought this homeschooling gig was just drag and drop!
Seriously though, of course homeschooling parents need to invest time into teaching their kids, and into creating or putting together a workable curriculum. Homeschooling, like parenting, is a commitment to putting the needs of your children first. Ask any good parent, home educating or not, and they will say the same thing. This isn’t a negative aspect, just a realistic one.
“In comparison to public schools, where education is free, homeschooling can be costly. Purchasing the newest curriculum and teaching tools can be very expensive.”
If public schools are free, why do I spend over $3000 a year of my property taxes on our local schools?! I have never, not in one single school year, spent even close to that much educating my own children. Not even when I was teaching 3 at one time. Considering the government spends between $6,000-19,000 per child, per year in public school, it’s sickens me… and yet somehow we have managed to purchase new curriculum, take field trips, music lessons, play sports, and even buy school supplies—on much less than we spend on our education tax dollars for our local public education system. And that’s in addition to the taxes that we can’t write it off.
Home education can cost as little as nothing, up to thousands of dollars for a “paid homeschooling program” as the writer mentions. If you can afford tuition for a big (overpriced) homeschooling program, more power to you. The vast majority of home educators spend less than $500 per year, no matter how many children they have.
“If home schooled, they may be deprived of the chance to form friendships and may suffer socially.”
Suffering socially is what all children do at one time or another! Military kids who move from one school to another throughout their growing up years suffer far worse, socially, than any homeschooled child I have ever met. Even ultra-sheltered homeschooled kids still end up making friends. I grew up with my Dad in the Coast Guard and attended 13 schools in 12 years, with 5 of those being January transfers, meaning new schools mid-year. I know full well what suffering socially is, and homeschooling doesn’t cause it.
Socialization is such a non-issue, I don’t know why anyone brings it up any more. Homeschooled kids have more time to socialize, less homework, and more social opportunities than kids who sit in school classrooms all day long. I’ve written about how UNSocialized my kids are and it still rings true.
Over our past 17 years of homeschooling, our kids have:
Played Volleyball, Basketball and Soccer on YMCA teams
Played Volleyball on (public) Middle School teams
Belonged to Book Clubs that met monthly
Spent more years on swim teams than I can count
Taken mission trips across the US and to Swaziland.
Sang in Youth Choir and toured with them
Sang on the Worship Team in Youth Group
Participated in Youth Group weekly
- Gone to summer camps, winter camps, and youth conferences across the state.
Done Summer Internship programs with the Youth
Been leaders at Vacation Bible Schools
- Served as voluteers at Coats for Kids
- Attended Running Start (high schoolers in the community college)
Had friends who attended public, private, and home schools
Participated in Civil Air Patrol
- Taken classes at a Parent Partnership Program through the school district
- Taken classes at a homeschool co-op
- Served (many hours) with a homeless ministry downtown
- Gone to the Prom at local high schools
- Taken choir at the middle school
Run soundboard and computers in Children’s Church and Youth Group
- Taken band and learned to play an instrument
- Started a yard cleanup and mowing business with weekly customers
- Played in a local flag football league
…and I’m probably forgetting some things
Socialization? Check. It is actually pretty rare that I arrange a play date with other homeschoolers, as the writer of the article mentioned. More often than not, my kids play with and hang out with the kids in the neighborhood, the kids at youth group (90% of whom go to—gasp—public school!), and the kids on their teams or in their activities.
Lack of Facilities
“For classes that require experiments like physics and chemistry, it can be hard to get all the necessary chemicals, materials, apparatus, and so on.”
Three words: Home Science Tools catalog. Obviously this writer thinks that home educating parents are uneducated dunces who aren’t able to source things. The writer goes on to say that the home would not have things like swimming pools, running tracks, and fields. Again, we must be quite ignorant to be unable to locate such wondrous things for our children.
“One of the reasons why homeschooling is bad is the fact that parents may lose patience when they are trying to educate their children.”
Name one parent who has never lost patience with her child. Just one. In fact, name one teacher who has never lost patience with a child!! I recall situations many times over the years while I was in school that I saw a teacher completely LOSE IT with a kid or with an entire class full of kids. It happens ALL the time.
Patience is like a muscle. The more you practice and exercise it, the better it functions. What I have found from homeschooling is that I have had a chance to develop better patience with my kids and others.
“Some children need to be challenged to excel in their studies. In this sense, they thrive when they are involved in some competition.”
Some children are not all children. The opposite is also true: Some children cannot handle competition at any level. With some kids, adding in a competitive factor causes them to feel as if they aren’t good enough or smart enough. Kids with learning challenges suffer from this especially, and it can be a huge de-motivating situation.
There will never be one-size-fits-all education, because every person, every child, is an individual.
Home education works for many families because we make it work. It isn’t perfect, but it is a far cry from the generalized public education that the majority of us had when we were kids. It takes time, money, patience, and resourcefulness on the parents’ part to make it work. The test scores don’t lie; home education works! But we don’t base our opinions on test scores because if we did that, we would also have to admit that public education is bottom of the barrel. If we were to base it on the test scores.
Some Resources on Homeschooling
Homeschooling: Outstanding Results on National Tests (Washington Times)
Doing the Math Behind Homeschooling (Schools of Thought CNN Blog)
Number of Homeschoolers Growing Nationwide (Education News)
Escaping Government Schools (John Stossel)