Arguments Against Homeschooling

If you're considering homeschooling, it's worth taking the time to evaluate what the critics have to say. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, and it takes a very honest self-assessment by parents of finances, time and qualifications to understand if it will work. That self-assessment can be tough, because anything involving children gets caught up in emotion, and parents naturally feel that they know what's best for their kids.

Before you decide to start homeschooling, think about the following questions, which represent some strong arguments against homeschooling.

  • Do you have the time? Education isn't a simple matter of memorizing the contents of books. It's an ongoing process that takes several years. The basics of arithmetic and penmanship are simple enough to teach, so you might sail through the first years with ease. What happens when your child needs to learn advanced mathematics, researching or critical thinking skills?
  • Are you smart enough? Take this question very seriously, because you'll pass on any gaps in your eduction to your child if you simply assume you can get the job done. Are you a capable writer? Are you fluent in a foreign language? Do you have a high-school-level grasp of chemistry and biology? In a public school system, there's no shortage of specialized teachers to help kids master the tough subjects. In a homeschool environment, it all comes down to you. There are ways to fill the gaps, such as trading off teaching with other parents or signing your child up for advanced classes offered at learning centers.
  • Is one teaching style enough? Unless you're working with other parents, your kids will only experience one teaching style: yours. Many people have fond memories of a favorite teacher who helped make a subject interesting and relevant, or who helped them discover a hidden talent. Exposure to several different teachers also teaches kids how to deal with different sets of expectations and work with different types of personalities, experiences that are invauable in the working world.
  • Will your child miss social opportunities? The sheltered, naive homeschooled child is a popular myth. Homeschooled kids have friends, play sports and get plenty of social interaction. At the same time, they do miss out on the day-to-day interactions that are a part of public school life. Not all of these interactions are positive, but they do help a child learn to navigate the difficult choices that come with adult life.
  • Can you afford it? Books and other school supplies are just the beginning. The real cost of homeschooling is the time that must be invested in teaching your child. That means a parent staying at home with the kids during the day rather than working. With some lifestyle adjustments, many families can make this work, but you'll need to make sacrifices or work part-time if one spouse can't support the family.

By answering these questions honestly and thinking about how your kids will best be prepared for the future, you'll make the decision of whether or not homeschooling is right for you.

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