Homeschooling refers to the education of children at home, usually with the parents as teachers. Not many people realize that over one million children worldwide receive their schooling in this manner. In some countries of the world, such as Germany, it is illegal and the law requires parents to send their children to a government-approved school.
Although many parents like the idea of educating their children at home where they have control over the material the children are exposed to and the use of different teaching practices, they are reluctant to engage in this type of education for many reasons. They may feel that they are not qualified to do so, they probably cannot afford to have one parent at home and not in the workforce or they may feel that others will look down on them for rejecting the public school system.
Homeschooling is very popular today and is growing every year. Parents who are considering making this choice about their children’s education should carefully evaluate the pros and cons of this method of schooling before making a rash decision to accept or reject it.
Pros of Homeschooling:
- Homeschooling offers children the freedom to study topics of interest to them. Students who excel in the regular school system are often held back because of regulations that prevent them from completing the material for the next grade as soon as they complete the previous one. This restriction does not exist when children are schooled at home. The basics are covered no matter what the age of the child and there is a prescribed curriculum of outcomes that must be covered for each subject area.
- Children who are homeschooled have more physical freedom than those who have to sit in a classroom all day. They are free to move about and eat while they complete their school work. The day does not revolve around the clock with bells ringing to announce the start of classes. Parents can take the children on field trips at any time without having to get permission.
- There is no peer pressure or bullying so students can feel completely at ease and not have to compete with other students or be ridiculed for not doing well. They can dress however they want, such as staying in the PJ’s all day if they want.
- For many families that home school their children, their religious beliefs are important to them and are part of the curriculum, which is not the case in the public school system.
- When the children and parents interact with each other through homeschooling, there is a closer family relationship.
- Families can cope better during times of hardship or emotional instability because all the children are at home and can help share any of the burdens.
- Children don’t have to engage in busy work just to keep occupied. When they finish one subject they can move on to the next subject or even take a break from the school work.
Cons of Homeschooling:
- It is often difficult to set a timetable to cover all the subjects of the curriculum with all the other things that happen at home each day. Parents have to make a concerted effort to set a timetable for the children.
- The parent that decides to take over the schooling of the children will not be able to contribute to the family’s finances. This is one aspect of homeschooling that does hinder many from taking this step.
- It can sometimes be nerve-wracking when parents are with the children 24 hours a day. This may also be detrimental to the children when they don’t have a break from their parents at all.
- Children that are homeschooled do not have interaction with other students as they would in a regular classroom. They do not have the opportunity to work in groups, be involved in discussions, and hear differing points of view. They also have limited opportunities to become involved in team sports.