Home schooling is a growing trend, with more and more parents making the decision to take charge of their children’s education. Proponents of home schooling say that their children benefit from the one-on-one instruction time, individualised teaching methods, and controlled social environment. While most home schooled children do fare well academically, keeping up with their peers who are schooled traditionally, some people object to the idea that home schooled children can be somewhat isolated from the experiences that a mainstream education provides, believing that the limited exposure to the “real world” may leave these children unprepared to function well as adults.
Parents must make decisions about their children’s welfare every day, and securing a good education is one of the most important gifts that a parent can offer a child since a well rounded education helps prepare a child for a successful future. As with all things, there are some pros and cons about home schooling. Each parent must decide what is best for their children.
Individualised Study: Parents who home school have the freedom to formulate separate plans for each of their children, based on the child’s age, maturity, and interest level in any given subject. The basics must be covered for all children, of course, but when a child shows a special interest or talent in a certain area, the home schooling parent can maximise the child’s exposure and hopefully help to develop and strengthen the child’s potential.
Freedom from Time Constraints: Traditional schooling offers a set schedule for learning. With home schooling, there is considerable freedom in choosing when and where a child’s educational needs can be best met. Home schooling offers children the opportunity to participate in a variety of outings to supplement their book learning. Museums, zoos, nature walks, and other curriculum related locations are available to provide valuable extensions to classroom teaching.
Parental Involvement and Control: By taking a child’s education into their own hands, a parent can supervise and guide the child, both academically and socially. Home schooled children do not have to fear school bullies and are not subjected to ideas and ideals that the parent may find objectionable. Children, especially young children, are very easily influenced. Parents who choose to home school do so for a variety of reasons, but one cited most often is the ability to provide an environment for their children that is safe, relaxed, and nurturing – ideal for fostering learning.
Time Commitment: Choosing to home school requires an enormous amount of time and dedication by the parents. Not only are there all of the hours spent teaching the children, but parents must also do all of the research and preparation for lessons. All outings must be planned, organised and supervised. Additionally, parents must be willing to keep abreast of trends in learning and age/grade standards so that they can be sure that they are meeting or exceeding the requirements for their children’s education.
Too Much Togetherness: As wonderful as it is to spend time with your children, parents who home school rarely get a break. Since they are handling all aspects of their children’s education as well as all of their other parental responsibilities, they are often with their children 24 hours a day. Even the most dedicated parents can feel a bit stressed now and then from the unending responsibilities.
Budget Constraints: Often, when parents choose to home school, one of the parents remains at home rather than earning an income from outside employment, which can put a strain on the family budget. Although the reduction in income can cause hardship, many home schooling families believe that the benefits of overseeing their children’s education far outweigh the financial difficulties.
The Bottom Line
When done well, home schooling can provide children with a high quality education as well as offering the opportunity for wonderful bonding experiences with their parents. Parents who home school their children must be dedicated, extremely well organised, and willing to make an effort to see that their children have plenty of opportunities for socialisation. Home schooling may not be right for every family, but those who succeed at it find it to be a rich and rewarding experience.