Whether you’re new to homeschooling or have been homeschooling for any length of time or even if you’re just inquiring to explore your options, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling. In our present day we are faced with many issues regarding the future and whether or not it will be a secure one to pass on to our children.
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton
One way to make a significant difference in the life of a child, and ultimately the world, is through education. As we face present-day issues with the decline and breakdown of public education, it’s not only a responsibility of each parent but a necessity that all parents consider their options when their school-age children. As a parent you should keep in mind that you have the option to select the education that best honors your child and his particular uniqueness.
Even if you have been homeschooling your children, over time it’s important that you keep abreast of the issues and keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages as you move through your day. We must not forget what a privilege it is to homeschool and what advantages we are privy to. On the same note we have to be aware that there are disadvantages, and remain consciously aware of ways to make the homeschool experience positive and most successful for all involved. When you’re aware of the disadvantages, then you can take preventative measures rather than fall victim to the statistics. Today I’m going to review the most common disadvantages that come to mind when people talk in a social setting about homeschooling. I will also share the solution for this perceived disadvantage and how to turn it around into an advantage.
Did you know that homeschooling is currently the fastest growing form of education in the United States? Over the years my international client base continues to grow and reports indicate that it will continue to grow to greater proportions as public education continues to decline.
1. The belief that socialization is a problem for the homeschooler. One of the first topics to rise in the discussion of disadvantages on homeschooling is socialization. While this can become a problem and is something all parents have to consider when homeschooling, the only way it’s a problem is if you isolate yourself from all of civilization. Homeschooling is perceived by the general public as something that happens in the home, all closed up and disconnected from the world, where the child is left to sit all by himself at the kitchen table doing his workbooks and textbooks, having to follow the parent’s teaching and instruction without any interaction or connection to other children or the world outside of the home. While this can be the scenario that some parents choose, this is not the average profile of a homeschooling family. In fact I just met a lady on my business trip who was homeschooled and she had the fondest memories of it. She said she absolutely loved it. She actually worked for a corporation two years ago, and like many was downsized, but now is creatively building her own six-figure business by offering her HR services to small businesses. She’s very savvy, creative, innovative, service oriented and active in her community.
When you homeschool there are so many opportunities for learning, groups that gather for socialization, field trips, projects and community service. In fact, now there are so many opportunities that if we took advantage of more of what are available we would have no time for academics. Not only do the children get to interact with children their own age but they are also interacting with people of all ages, young and old. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you worked with people all your exact same age year? Having children divided by age and moving from class to class day in and day out in a school setting is not natural at all and in fact separated from real world experience.
Solution for socialization disadvantage: Realize that it’s really an advantage because children at school are not in a natural setting being segregated by age. They’ve also been cut off from real world experience that you can take advantage of as a homeschooler. Take time to be at home as a family, have quiet time to study, expand your time together and then find a homeschool group that is like-minded with your family beliefs and values. Be active with other families as you see fit but also honor your time together as a family. Children do not have to have social interaction with other children their age every single day for eight or more hours a day. By the same token, you as a parent do not have to “entertain” your children nor do you have to stand in front of them teaching. With my systems your child can obtain an excellent education from the masters themselves, live in family harmony, have an active and healthy social life and be involved in the community. By homeschooling you will be providing the healthiest form of socialization that will fully support your child with their own particular needs.
2. The belief that academic excellence depends on the parents’ education. Parents very quickly get overwhelmed by the task of having to secure the academic materials for their child’s education. How do you know what is the best, or what will work over time to provide an education that will enable them to move into college and whole life success? With so much material out there it’s very confusing, to say the least. The very first thought that comes to mind about teaching one’s own children is the thought of having to teach your child algebra or advanced mathematics. I don’t blame you, because for many who struggled in public school math, math is a four-letter word. If that’s the case you’re not likely to be enthusiastic about thinking through it again, much less teaching it. I will be honest with you here; I’m not a math whiz, but I love math and I see its place in everything throughout life. However, I would never ask a parent to “teach” math if they don’t want to or don’t feel confident in that area. That is why I have created my system of self-education and employ the math expert to work directly with your child.
Solution for dependence on parent’s education level: Let go of the belief immediately that your child can’t be smarter than you, and here’s the proof. Read the latest research and see how it reveals that the child’s level of learning is not controlled by the parents’ level of education. Basically, if you can read you can homeschool. Setting all legal and state requirements aside (we need to take care of this responsibly elsewhere), you don’t have to know anything other than how to read, want the best for your child and be open to securing a mentor. In fact, I have to say to parents before they begin using our system that they have to be comfortable with the fact that their children will very quickly surpass the parents’ level of education. But isn’t that what we want for our children, to give them the best chance for a better future?
3. The belief that you could not get your child to do what you ask or behave at home to learn. Let’s be honest. We are with our children all the time, so we see their good side as well as their bad side. Most parents admit that they feel like they couldn’t spend every day with their child, much less get them to sit still to do their studies. And what do you do if your child refuses to do the work or just won’t learn an important subject? You might be surprised to learn that they are being trained in distraction at public school. If you haven’t read my special report “Were You Taught to Fail?” it’s a must read. By homeschooling you will actually cure many of the problems and relationship discord they are currently experiencing.
Solution for getting your children to learn at home: This challenge is a call to action for you to be clear about your parenting, live according to your values and be open to learn alongside your children. As parents you don’t have to know it all or be the perfect parent to homeschool; what happens is you’re perfected through the process. When your child changes environments from a public school to an environment that is conducive to learning and thriving, you will see many of the old habits simply fall away. As I work with parents making the transition, we take the child through a decompression process. Ironically, while I was writing this I had to stop and check on my 3-year old because she was screaming at the top of her lungs at her brother because he was opening the door for her and she wanted to. Was it an interruption in my work? Yes, but by taking just a moment to talk with her and point out how we treat and respect others she is on the path to honoring others in the way she wants to be honored herself. Be sure and read the report I talked about earlier because it also includes the research gathered about homeschool children’s maturity and development.
Homeschooling is for the whole family, and most disadvantages can be either dispelled or turned around. The pros outweigh the cons simply by a change in beliefs or perspective. Whether you’ve homeschooled for years, have only begun, or may just be looking into it keep in mind there are not only significant benefits academically but also benefits that encompass the whole life of the child and all those involved.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain
Parents Inspired to Action
Read the recommended articles above. Explore your beliefs on the three disadvantages listed above and think through how turning around those beliefs may help change a disadvantage into an advantage. If any of these concern you, or you need help working through them, be sure to seek advice of a mentor. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers for your children, but through the process you will become their model. They will learn from an early age that you can’t know everything, but when we know how to find out what we need to know, that creates self-reliance. Self-reliant children become successful adults, and that’s the kind of education that lasts a lifetime.
Children Inspired to Action
Take time to sit and talk with your children. Really listen to what they are saying. Are there other families you can gather with and ask questions? Are there other children your kids can talk to and bring up their concerns? What are their concerns and do they see these as disadvantages? Share with them how you will be working together, and as a team you will be able to solve and accomplish more. Giving them the secure feeling you’re in it with them for the long haul will build trust between you and them, adding to your relationships. Spending time with your children in an honest and authentic way will be appreciated more than all the entertainment and gifts you could ever give. Make it count.