Are you considering homeschooling your kids but wondering if it’s the right choice for your family?
Maybe you plan to try the homeschooling route for one school year to see how it goes. Or perhaps you are thinking you want to homeschool indefinitely.
Regardless of your timeline, deciding to homeschool is a HUGE decision that can feel quite terrifying. Even with a Master’s Degree in Education and over ten years of teaching experience, I STILL felt super nervous about being in complete control of my own children’s education.
If you’re new to the homeschooling journey, you probably have tons of questions and absolutely no idea where to begin. And that’s ok! We’ve all been there!
I’m going to start from the very beginning of my family’s journey where I weighed the pros and cons of homeschooling. These advantages and disadvantages I share below will help you determine if it is something your family can successfully implement and even enjoy!
Why do parents homeschool?
During the Covid pandemic, my husband and I decided to homeschool our (then) second grader. This was a really tough decision for us because we absolutely adored the elementary school she had been attending since preschool.
Since I had taught second grade in the public school system for several years, I felt confident that I could prepare my daughter to return to her regular school the following year.
My family wasn’t the only one who turned to homeschooling recently either. According to this article by the National Home Education Research Institute, the population of homeschooling families has been steadily climbing for the past few years with a huge increase during the Covid pandemic.
In addition to the recent pandemic, the reasons parents choose to homeschool can vary greatly. Some of the most common scenerios that entice families to consider teaching at home include:
Students can easily struggle in the classroom if they don’t receive the amount of attention they need. For example, kids with learning disabilities often thrive in a small group or a one-on-one atomosphere. Homeschooling allows you to meet the needs of those children who learn better in small class sizes with less distractions.
Anxiety or Social Concerns
Some kids can find the regular school environment to be stressful. If your child is really shy, the thought of speaking out in a classroom full of peers can seem intimidating. This can even cause excessive worry or anxiety. Similarly, children who are bullied at school or who have a difficult time fitting in may not feel that the regular classroom is a safe and enjoyable learning environment.
If your family moves around a lot due to jobs or other reasons, you may prefer to homeschool your children. This allows for seemless instruction time so that you can continue your child’s studies no matter where you are located. Otherwise, your kids would need to withdraw and then enroll in a new school each time you move, which can cause stress for all involved.
Some families may want to homeschool their kids to provide an education with a religious background. Since the public school system does not include religious education and private institutions can get quite pricey, you may want to teach your children at home.
Disadvantages of Homeschooling
Maybe you see yourself in one of the scenarios listed above. Or maybe you have a completely different reason for wanting to homeschool. Regardless, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making the leap into full time homeschooling.
Maybe this is a bit backwards, but I like to find the reasons NOT to do something before I determine why I SHOULD do it. In other words, when I started researching homeschooling, I sought out the disadvantages to see if they swayed my opinion.
So, I encourage you to read through this list of disadvantages FIRST. If one of them is a deal breaker for you, then you have easily made your decision and further research may not be needed.
So, what are the disadvantages of homeschooling?
My number one biggest concern for homeschooling was that my daughters would not have proper social interactions with peers. Since social development is super important, my husband and I came up with a plan to ensure that our kids would be a part of frequent social experiences.
If your child attends regular school, she will undoubtedly have many more opportunities for social interactions with peers. Thinking back to my days teaching in an elementary classroom, I can recall kids talking and playing during so many different portions of the day including:
- learning centers
- class transition times
As a homeschooling mom, you obviously cannot recreate all of these scenarios for your kids. But you CAN make a conscious effort to put them in as many social situations as possible. To do this, you can sign up your children for sports, day camps, fine arts lessons, or other local classes.
You can also schedule play dates with other families, allow play time with friends in your neighborhood, or spend time with cousins and other family members.
Another disadvantage to homeschooling is that it takes up a lot of YOUR time. Not only do you spend hours a day actually teaching your kids; but, you have to prepare for the lessons. Some of the activities to which I have dedicated significant amounts of time include:
- deciding on a homeschooling program
- choosing which subjects to teach
- finding the curriculum for each subject
- creating an annual overview to make sure all the lessons get covered and fit in to the schedule
- determining how to teach each skill
- preparing the supplies needed
All of this takes time and can easily become overwhelming. If you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to planning and implementing lessons, you can easily struggle with homeschooling successfully.
This is why you need to ensure you choose the correct homeschooling program and curriculum for YOUR family.
My daughter attended a local private school prior to homeschool. When I initially decided to continue to school her at home, I got excited at the prospect of saving money on her regular school tuition.
I planned to purchase a lot of supplies and courses, but they still did not equal the amount we had been spending on school tuition. However, I quickly realized that our family was actually going to be losing money not gaining it. See, I had planned to go back to teaching in the classroom once our younger daughter started kindergarten.
If you are homeschooling your children, you will more than likely find that it is nearly impossible to also work a full time job. Therefore, it’s important to determine whether or not your family can live comfortably off of one parent’s paycheck.
Little Alone Time
Another reason you may find homeschooling to be difficult is that you rarely get time to yourself. In a perfect world, you and your kids love to spend every single second of each day together AND you all get along at all times.
In reality, this is not the case….at least at my house. My kids argue, fight, and just get sick of each other. When you homeschool your kids, you are with them A LOT.
This can become tiring, and it can even drive you a little crazy! This is another reason why signing up your kids for extracurricular activities is a great idea because it gives all of you a break!
This kind of goes along with the social interactions listed above, but your kids will undoubtedly miss out on some of the little events and activities at regular school that are so much fun.
I always loved special days like character parades, 100th day of school activities, field day, sorting valentine’s, field trips, pep rallies, etc.
Sure, you can try to re-create some of these activities in a homeschool environment; however, it just doesn’t seem to provide the same excitement as a schoolwide celebration.
If you read through my entire list of reasons why you should NOT homeschool, you may be wondering:
What are the pros of homeschooling?
Like many other things in life, you have to weigh the pros and cons and determine what works best for YOU.
In the end, the benefits of homeschooling enticed my family to continue teaching our kids at home. That being said, I plan to revisit this post annually to ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the disadvantages for us.
So, what are the pros to homeschooling?
Control over Curriculum
Depending on the homeschooling option you choose, you may be able to pick out the curriculum you use for your kids. My daughter is enrolled at Homelife Academy, which is an umbrella school.
Homelife Academy allows me to choose the subjects, curriculum, and materials I want to use for my kids’ education. You can read more about Homelife Academy and why I chose it as my cover school in this post:
Maybe it is my background in teaching, but having complete control over my daughters’ educational curriculum is such an exciting thing!
Before choosing our curriculum, I was able to think back to all of the different brands and companies I used as a teacher in the classroom. After making a list of the ones that were my absolute favorites, I then decided which ones to implement in my home classroom.
This is also beneficial for your student. Kids learn in different ways, and the strategies that work well for one may not work for another.
No one knows your child better than you do. So, you can easily choose the curriculum that will be enjoyable for all of you.
One of the most convenient benefits of homeschooling is that it’s completely flexible. Depending on the program you implement, you can choose to start the school year at a time that works best for your family.
If you want to push back the start of school to after Labor Day, it’s your decision. Maybe you want to stretch out the year over all twelve month….that’s ok too.
In addition, you can choose the time of day to complete your activities. If your kids wake up at 6:00 AM, you may want to start your lessons super early and finish by lunch time.
Or maybe your kids are night owls and you want to have a late start to the school day. Either way, your schedule is flexible and up to YOU.
If you have read any of my posts on family travel, you know how much we love vacationing with our kids. When you choose to homeschool, it opens up so much flexibility to travel dates. Most places you visit throughout the world are more expensive during peak season when schools are out of session.
If you homeschool, you can take advantage of off season prices and lower crowds. In addition, you can tie in your lessons with places you are planning to visit….kind of like elaborate field trips.
For example, my daughter is studying force and motion during her science unit. One of the lesson’s activities involves creating a rollercoaster to display force. This is a perfect opportunity for us to travel to a nearby amusement park to actually experience the rollercoasters we studied during science class
Homeschooling provides really meaningful one-on-one learning experiences for your kids. If you notice your child is struggling with a specific skill or lesson, you can easily take the time to further explain the strategy.
Final Thoughts on Benefits of Homeschooling
In summary, only you and your family can determine what is best for your kids. If you don’t find any of the disadvantages to be complete deal breakers, I hope you continue to research and gather information on the homeschooling process. You may be surprised at how exciting it can be once you begin!
What are your biggest pros and cons to homeschooling?
Comment below to share with us!