After tons of reading I think I’ve pinned down the most common pros and cons that home schoolers are faced with. Most of these are also what many have asked us when people find out we home school. I’m starting with the pros and will write another blog post on the cons. So, this is what I got…
1. Home schooling allows children to learn at their own pace.
I never really put too much thought into this one until I realized what level my kids where at.
Mara, my very strong-willed child is very bright but fought me for well over a year. Because of this, she fell behind. I knew she understood the material, she just didn’t want to do it. It took patients, lots of talks, lots of yelling (which didn’t help either of us), and working almost daily to get to her heart. I did, over time, find the reasons behind it all but the fact of it all was she put herself behind. We have been able to work with her on this, and now that she has stopped fighting us, she is blowing through her work.
My boys are at all different levels. Two of the boys cannot read but some are showing signs they are getting interested. Emry has been working hard on teaching himself. He doesn’t want much of our help with this. Adrian and Garrett are pretty much at the level for which they are registered. Emry, on the other hand, will soon pass them both up. Emry is also younger than the other two. It would not be fair to hold him back because he’s younger or because the others my have their feeling hurt. I don’t want to slow them down. Ever.
2. Home schooling encourages a child’s natural curiosity.
Kids are fueled by wanted to know things, not because they have to know things. I see this all the time with my kids. If I try to push a subject on them, most of the time they don’t really want to hear it. But they know I am open to questions whenever and they have excelled in the areas they have come to Dean and I with questions, because they want to know. This is not to say that you should never teach them things they are not interested in. Sometimes you need to. You are still the one in charge. But sometimes putting a bug in their ear a few days before you want to cover something will get them wondering and they will want to know what you have to say when you bring it up.
3. Home schooling promotes strong family bonds.
You see many home schooled families much closer than other families. Why is that? For us, it’s because we are together all the time, from day one – learning together, playing together, shopping together, going places together, doing most everything together. This is all they know, and they like the closeness that this has drawn. They have seen many other families that are not as close, and when they have they’ve asked why they don’t spend much time together, or even seem to not like each other. If you talk to anyone that has been home schooled, this is one thing they bring up. They cherish their family, not hate them.
4. Home schooling allows for a more flexible schedule.
This opens up many doors that are not available to other families. You are not bouned to just the summer months for vacations, field trips, and other family outings. You have the option to go places during quite hours (during the day) and don’t have to rush through activities because others are in line. If there is a serious illness in the family, you can take time off the tend to them and not have the extra stress of having to get the kids off the school.
If you have a child that needs more sleep, they get that. With public schooling you are having to force your kids out of bed and rush through the morning to get them to school. Kids learn better at different parts of the day. A flexible schedule allows time for the child to learn at their peak time. If I tried to start school with my late sleepers, it would be hell, and nothing would get accomplished but fighting and frustration.
5. Home schooling allows for more individual attention to the student.
Yep, because you are only working with a few kids you can answer their questions right away. If you are faced with a question you yourself do not know, you have the time to look it up. You don’t get this in a classroom of 20 to 30 kids.
6. Home schoolers have more free time.
The individualized way that homeschoolers learn lets them complete more work in less time than their traditionally schooled peers. As a result, they have more time to pursue other interests. There are many hours wasted in getting them to school, the bus ride, time between classes, and home work once they get home. You can get all their schooling done in less than 8 hours if they are home. Sometimes as little as an hour and their work could be done for the day.
7. Home schooled kids are better insulated from negative influences.
They are much less likely to suffer the impact of bullying, cliques and peer pressure. I understand it is good for them to see this to a degree – they still need to see the world for what it is – but it can be monitored closely and it gives great opportunities to teach them about these issues without the scars of being engulfed by it. You can watch the fish from the boat without jumping in the water with them.
8. Home schooled kids have more natural social interactions.
Rather than associating only with kids their own age, as in a traditional school setting, home schoolers socialize and interact with people of all ages. I touched on this in my last home schooling blog also. It is good for them to play with kids their own age but there are many benefits to having them around adults too. Home schooled children have the chance to be with their parents during regular day-to-day experiences. For instance, during a trip to the grocery store your child learns how to interact with the stock boy, the cashier, other shoppers, and the jerk that cuts you off in the parking lot. 🙂 All the while, other kids are being told to sit quietly and are not allowed to interact with others.
9. Parents have more control over how and what their children are taught.
You know what they are learning because you are the one teaching them. Because of the forced tolerance of world religions, kids are being taught things that many parents end up fighting with the school system about. By schooling at home you don’t have that issue. You are able to teach them the controversial issues based on your beliefs, not on the world’s.
10. It is cheaper to home school.
You can pick and choose their curriculum. You can put as much or as little into the materials as you want. If you don’t have a lot of money, use the library. It’s free!
I have noticed that the more kids we have the more the cost goes up. We could choose not put so much money into school materials but we chose to get more of the “pre-packaged” curriculum stuff. Without that, we’d have to be a little more creative.
11. Parents can transmit their values to children and shelter them from negative influence.
Here again, you can’t shelter them from everything, but if they don’t know who Brittney Spears is, that’s ok with me.
12. Knowing Your Kid/s.
How often do you hear a parent say to their teenager, “I don’t even know who you are anymore!”? Here’s a question: did you ever? I don’t mean this is an attacking way, but it’s a good question. The schools have your kids more than you do, at least that was the case for us. They learn to go to their friends with their problems rather than their parents. If you are with them all day everyday, you see when they are having a problem and you can work on it with them right away. Therefore you never not know who they are.
I know this is a short list of the pros to home schooling. If you can think of some more, go ahead and post them in the comments. We’d all love to hear your thoughts too. 🙂