Is Homeschooling for YOU? (9 Reasons It may NOT Be)

As more parents become concerned about the quality of education that their children are receiving, homeschooling is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence.

young girl studying at home

About 1.2 million families switched to homeschooling in 2020, comprising about 11% of the school-aged population (an increase of more than 5%).

But is homeschooling right for you?

Maybe. Homeschooling is a good choice for you and your family if you have the passion, time, and drive to be successful. However, homeschooling doesn’t take as much time, money, or effort as you might think.

There are things you will need to consider, but ultimately, this is a lifestyle that practically anyone can pursue – and you’ll find that there are tons of benefits to doing so!

Here’s what you need to know about homeschooling so that you can decide whether it’s something that will work well for your family’s unique situation.

What is Homeschooling? A Quick History

First, what exactly is homeschooling? It’s just about as simple as it sounds from the name alone.

Homeschooling is a progressive system of education in which parents teach their children at home instead of sending them to school. It can be done with children of any age and is an educational style that is followed all around the world.

If you’re thinking about homeschooling your kids, here’s a brief history so you can understand exactly what it is.

Homeschooling is on an upward trend from when it was first really pioneered in the 1980’s.

It started with a group of parents who felt that they could do a much better job than the state in educating their children. It is estimated that over 1.5 million children are currently being homeschooled, mainly counting the age ranges of 5-17, which is the customary compulsory age. {source}

There are misconceptions out there about homeschooled kids. Some people say that they lack social skills or that they don’t perform as well on standardized tests. That’s far from the truth!

In fact, kids who are homeschooled excel in college, do well on standardized tests, and are successful, self-directed learners and adults.

9 Challenges to Overcome When Homeschooling

People tend to talk mostly about the benefits of homeschooling – and to give it its fair share of respect, I will discuss those a bit later in the article.

However, I’m a realist – and so I think it’s also important to note that there are some challenges to combat as well. Here’s what you need to know.

Increased Stress Levels, and Less Time

The biggest challenge of homeschooling? It’s pretty obvious – it can increase your stress as a parent, especially if you are already working.

It goes without saying that you’ll be adding more commitments on top of your likely already-packed plate – and for some parents, adding homeschooling on to everything else simply is not feasible.

It’s not just instruction that you will need to provide your children – you’ll also need to provide them with hands-on activities, field trips, and learning experiences, homework assignments, and more.

You’ll have to grade those assignments, adjust your instruction, and so on and so forth. Being a homeschool teacher requires a lot more work than you might think!

Homeschooling is Costly

In some cases, homeschooling can also be expensive. Not only will you be taking time away from your current job, if you’re working, which means lost wages, but you’ll also have to buy books and supplies.

Homeschooling, unlike public school, isn’t subsidized by taxpayer dollars in any way. You must assume all the costs of all the resources as a homeschooling parent.

Limited Opportunities

Extracurricular activities can also be more limited when you homeschool, though there are certainly ways around this.

In most cities and towns, there are local homeschool groups you can enroll your child in to connect them with sporting events, clubs, and other activities. Some public schools will also allow homeschooled kids to participate.

That said, it will be up to YOU, the parent AND the teacher, to find and enroll your child in these activities. You’ll often have to pay for the “privilege” of enrolling your kid in these, too. If your child was attending public school, it would likely be free.

Your Kids – 24/7

And the most obvious – yet least talked about – challenge of homeschooling? Your kids.

As much as you love your kids – that’s probably why you’re thinking about homeschooling in the first place – the reality is that being with them all the time can be exhausting. If you decide to homeschool your kids, you will be around them 24/7 (for better or for worse!).

Legal and Logistical Hurdles

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and in most countries. The requirements vary from place to place.

There are some states that have no formal requirements while others request that children sit through standardized tests or submit project portfolios on a regular basis. You’ll need to research the laws and regulations in your area to find out if these apply.

Fortunately, most places don’t require parents to have any specific educational credentials – just a love for being with their children at all times!

Your Kids Might Not Buy Into It

You might be passionate about all the reasons you have for homeschooling your kids – but if they aren’t feeling it, you probably aren’t going to be successful.

In order for homeschooling to work, everyone in the family needs to have some buy-in.

You will probably be more successful if you start homeschooling your child when he’s young (versus when he’s a teen, surrounded by his friends already) but you might be met with resistance regardless of the age.

Not All Kids Learn the Same Way

Even if you’re someone with an educator’s background, this one might catch you off guard. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to figure out how each individual kid learns best.

You need to pay close attention to your kids when you’re homeschooling to find out what works.

Your House Will Be A Mess

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably gathered that your life is going to be ten times busier when you’re a homeschooling parent! Because of that, you can probably say goodbye to the spotless house, too.

You might think that, since you’re home all day, you’ll have plenty of time to get the housework done. Think again!

When you’re homeschooling, your main priority will be to educate your kids – not to run that dishwasher again. And with kids home 24/7, keeping your house clean is going to be an uphill battle.

You Have to Be Willing to Learn

We all can be a little bit stubborn – but if you’re one of those people who thinks she knows everything and vehemently digs her heels in at every confrontation, then I hate to break it to you – but homeschooling might not be the best fit for you.

You have to be willing to learn – just as your kids need to learn, the homeschooling experience should be a learning opportunity for you as well.

8 Good Reasons to Homeschool

There are as many different reasons WHY to homeschool as there are children being homeschooled.

We are going to explore some of these on today’s postt, highlighting some of the most popular.

From wanting an individualized education for their child, to having a special needs child, to a child that wants to be far more advanced than traditional education will allow, what I have found is that homeschooling helps parents to feel they are serving their children best.

Scheduling Limitations

Our first, and most popular reason for homeschooling, was scheduling.

Parents wanted to be with their kids more, instead of having them gone 7-10 hours a day with traditional schooling. They wanted more control over when the school “year” started and stopped, as well as being able to travel and take advantage of different activities during the off season.

For example, being able to visit national parks later in the fall when other kids were in school and the parks were not as busy.

Essentially, you can set up a routine that mirrors that of the local school system, if you choose – or one that better matches your own family’s routine. You can set up your schedule to meet the needs of your own life, rather than the other way around.

The Joy of Learning

Another popular reason was that parents wanted to be with their children when they “got it”

Referring, of course, to understanding a concept. They enjoyed the idea of seeing the spark in their child’s eyes as fractions were finally understood, or when a science experiment came to life.

When you homeschool your kids, you gain the ability to teach them whatever you want, whenever you want. You can design the curriculum to meet the needs of your child and your family. After all, nobody knows your child better than you do!

If you want to spend more time focusing on math, go for it. If your child is interested in art or science, you can give them more time to dedicate to those subjects – rather than being constricted by the restraints of the traditional school system.

There are certain guidelines and standards you’ll have to meet when homeschooling, of course. However, you’ll have more freedom to do what you want with the curriculum versus being limited by what the school says has to be taught.

Lack of Creativity in Conventional Schooling

Many expressed concern that their children would have their creativity “sucked dry” from them in a traditional school experience and they wanted to avoid that however possible.

Homeschooling will allow you to be more creative in the curriculum, tailoring it to meet your child’s interests, goals, learning style, and unique needs.

Religion

A fourth popular reason for homeschooling was, and still is, religious.

Parents wanted to feel in control of what their child was learning, with regards to morals, religion and how they felt best to live. Not all the parents I talked to were “Christian”, as some were of other religions, or claimed no religion at all.

But, they wanted to be the ones to share with their children their own ideas of the universe, life and death, and controversial issues like abortion, birth control, homosexuality and so on.

Physical and Emotional Safety

It’s no secret that schools aren’t always safe places for kids to be. With school shootings on the rise – not to mention bullying – many parents wonder if their kids would simply be safer at home.

Bullying is one “act of violence” in schools that can have devastating consequences. Not only is it emotionally damaging, making it hard for kids to focus and actually learn, but it can lead to issues like substance abuse and gang violence later on, too. With homeschooling, there’s no more bullies for homeschooled kids.

When your child is homeschooled, he will be able to avoid peer pressure and the self-esteem issues that go along with conventional schooling. There’s just no more of that issue of “not being able to fit in” that you get with the regular school.

More Productivity

If you’ve ever had the ability to work from home, you are probably already aware of how much more productive you can be when you aren’t forced to commute to work – and sit at a desk surrounded by chatty coworkers all day!

When you homeschool your kids, they get the same sort of benefits.

In most classrooms in American public schools and even private schools, kids are taught at a ratio of one teacher for every 20 to 30 children.

Your child will receive very little one-on-one attention (not a good thing, to say the least, especially if your child has unique learning needs) but this also means that your child will end up doing a lot of unnecessary busywork.

If your child is gifted and talented, that will likely be even more true.

Homeschooling can help improve your child’s productivity. It eliminates distractions and also allows you to give dedicated attention to your child.

If your kid attends public school, he will likely have a lot of homework – as you can see from the example above, the classroom setting isn’t always conducive to getting a lot of work done!

When you homeschool your kids, you’ll be able to get through twice the amount of material in half the time – and with little to no homework at the end of the day.

Stronger Relationships

Opponents of homeschooling often argue that homeschooled kids are more introverted and less social than kids educated at public school. Again, that is a myth.

Not only are homeschooled kids just as smart and capable as public school kids but they also tend to be more emotionally stable and exhibit less destructive behavior than them, too. That’s especially true if you go out of your way to provide them with opportunities for socialization.

Adults who were homeschooled are successful both in their personal and professional lives later on.

Plus, homeschooling offers more stability. Kids who are homeschooled are often more resilient in the face of challenges or changes. Since they aren’t switching schools constantly, moving to a new state or city will be far less traumatic.

More Rest

It’s no secret that kids need sleep in order to be successful in life and in school. Unfortunately, the way that the public school schedule is set up is not conducive to this need. Early morning sleep is beneficial, particularly for kids that aren’t morning people.

When you homeschool your kids, you provide them with the freedom of flexibility. If they need to sleep in a bit later one day, then you can do that – there’s no worries about missing the bus.

Is Homeschooling Right For You?

So is homeschooling right for you? Although I can give you plenty of good reasons to consider homeschooling – as well as challenges you might need to overcome – only you can decide whether this is a lifestyle that will be a good fit for you and your children.

I’ll be talking with some homeschooling parents and letting them share their own stories in future weeks.

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last update by Rebekah Pierce on November 22nd 2021

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5 thoughts on “Is Homeschooling for YOU? (9 Reasons It may NOT Be)”

  1. Dude, I did NOT know you were doing a podcast–good for you!!! I’m nearly done homeschooling–2015/16 will be my last year, but I’m listening anyway! Good to hear your voice, friend! 🙂

    1. Loved it–great job! We started homeschooling to protect our children–from bullies, from modern ideologies that we didn’t agree with, and so that we could teach them what we believe. For the most part it has worked out, but the internet peer groups tended to work against us the same way that school peer groups and the school system would have. It was hard to find that out after 19 years or so of homeschooling. Not that I’m saying that kids shouldn’t be using the internet–sometimes that’s the socialization that they are getting at certain times in the year, and it’s important because this is how we are communicating with each other largely. I’m just saying that keeping in mind that there is still a peer group that we don’t control, per se, when we allow them on the net is a good thing. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your next podcast! 😀

      1. It’s crazy how quickly technology has grown to allow for more bullies and such, right? When I was a kid, you could hide from a bully at home or with your parents. Now, they are everywhere, on social media or even your phone! I am grateful for the chance to protect my kids until they are old enough to start working toward changing that and the world they live in!

  2. Great points! I see so much home school information now….it was not like that when my kids were young!

    Thanks again for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you’ll stop back this week!

    Lisa

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