Parents must consider disadvantages before home schooling

Of the hundreds of thousands of parents who have settled the battle of homeschool vs. public school by choosing the former, nearly three-fourths cite dissatisfaction with the American school system as their reason. Specifically, some balk at the low test scores of public school kids, while others object to the curriculum or the way it's taught. But is homeschooling better, really? In their efforts to provide their kids the best possible education, parents may be overlooking some significant cons of homeschooling.

For many, home schooling is a poor choice because the parents fail to provide an atmosphere that is truly conducive to learning. Parents do not take into consideration the irreversible injustice they can place upon their children. There are significant disadvantages of home schooling that outweigh the benefits. After having direct contact with five people who have been home schooled, I have been able to identify some serious disadvantages to home schooling. And after consulting with employers, public and private school teachers, college instructors, church leaders and a host of other professionals, I found that my findings are not uncommon.

Some of the most significant disadvantages to home schooling are cost, time, parents' inability to instruct, lack of contact with other children (learning how to socialize), interpersonal skills, communication skills and being overprotected from the real world.

Cost

One disadvantage is the financial burden or hardship it can impose upon a family. It is the responsibility of the parents to purchase the curriculum needed for home schooling where the public school provides it at no charge.

This means parents must purchase books, materials, computer software and other resources in order to teach the lessons. Parents must fund all field trips, outings or special activities. One informal survey of homeschooling parents in the San Francisco Bay area found the average cost of homeschooling one student was nearly $3,200 per year, and that was in 1995.

And often, one of the parents must give up his or her job to home school. The loss of a second income in a two-income household can be detrimental. This can be a significant disadvantage and it can disrupt the harmony of the home.

Time

Another disadvantage of home schooling is the amount of time it drains from parents who perform the task. Many parents don't realize the time constraints involved with teaching. Teaching can be emotionally and physically draining.

A parent must be motivated and exercise laser focus when instructing. It can be very challenging to create a schedule that the children as well as the parent can follow. It becomes even more challenging when parents try to balance everyday chores with home schooling.

Just like teachers, parents need time to prepare lessons, plan activities, organize and keep the children on task. They must also learn how to balance their time while still being able to maintain the home. It's not easy.

Parents' Inability to Teach Effectively

It has been my finding that a large number of parents are not equipped to be home school instructors. Many parents don't have any formal training, lack discipline, or lack organization skills. Without structure and consistency, children can be easily distracted.

Children should have an area in the home specifically dedicated to schooling. Most of the time, there is not a set routine. In public school, children must report to school at a certain time and their day is mapped out. They are held accountable for their actions.

Lack of Outside Contact

The biggest disadvantage to home schooling is the child's lack of socialization which does not provide them the opportunity to interact with other children. For some children, especially children in early years, this can affect their development of social skills. It can also hamper interpersonal and communication skills. This will result in children feeling isolated, passive, lethargic and alone or ill-equipped to handle situations where interaction is required.

The lack of a counselor, guide or mentor can also be a serious disadvantage. Sometimes, children have issues or concerns that they don't feel comfortable talking to their parents about. In public schools, they provide qualified counselors as a resource for students. Children also have their teachers to talk to and provide support. It is important for children to have someone safe they can confide in when necessary.

Friday

June 12th, 2009

The Olympian

(Washington)

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