Homeschooling can be the most wonderful experience of your life, or it can make you want to pull out all of your hair. In most instances, it is both. How do you know if homeschooling is for you? What are the pros and cons of homeschooling? As someone who was homeschooled for most of my education and then put into the public school system in high school, I have experienced first hand the benefits that homeschooling had on my life as well as the struggles I faced because of it. As a homeschool mom of five, I have also come to appreciate just how challenging it is! Plus my hubby weighs in to share the pros and cons of homeschooling from a dad’s perspective. If you are seriously considering homeschooling your children, I recommend getting a pen and paper and following along with me. Add your own pros and cons that you see for your family or pin this for later so you don’t lose it!
Pros and cons of homeschooling from a homeschool kid’s perspective
Before I share what the pros and cons of homeschooling are for YOU as the parents I want to take a minute to discuss what they are from the perspective of someone who was homeschooled. What did I love? What challenges did I face? I think this can really help you see not only the impact it will have on you and your family, but on your child specifically.
Pros of being a homeschooled kid
- Feeling Safe: as a homeschooled child, I felt safe every day. I was surrounded by people who loved me and believed in me and I never felt fear. Fear of failure, fear of my peers, or fear of the unknown.
- Confidence Building: when you are homeschooled, you have the unique opportunity to find what you are good and and run with it. You can learn the way you earn best, you can explore who you are and where you fit in the world without being put down or mocked. I could pursue my passions so that even if I was lacking in some areas of my life, I had confidence in what I could do WELL.
- Relationship: I never thought my family was weird or dumb or beneath me. I loved my brothers and sisters fiercely and have an incredible relationship with them. I often spent more time sharing my heart and dreams and ideas around the kitchen table with my parents than doing workbooks. I had and still have an incredible relationship with my family that would not be the same if we had all been separated by grade.
- Learning Discipline: being in school where your teachers tell you exactly what to do and then watch you do it doesn’t teach self-discipline. But let me tell you, being given assignments and total freedom to accomplish them in your own time DEFINITELY does! I learned to do my work not because a teacher was watching me or checking in on me, but because I saw the end goal. I was motivated and this was just another step in the process.
- Unique Experiences: People who say that homeschool children miss out have never been homeschooled! I had unique experiences I would never have had in school. I went exploring and adventuring and learned through life. As I got older I did job shadowing, had jobs, and became quite self-reliant. If I had an interest, we pursued it. There was no working around schedules, it just happened!
- Working at my own pace: I graduated when I had just turned 16 years old because I wasn’t restricted to a grade level. Some years I would do 2 books in a year, other years I’d go a little slower. I had the freedom to be inspired and motivated and run with it rather than becoming bored and stagnant.
- Real-life socialization: Rather than being segregated with people the exact same age as me, I learned how to be confident in myself when talking with people younger than me, older than me, adults, and the elderly. I could start a conversation with anyone with ease.
- No Drama: When I did eventually go to school, the drama nearly did me in. I wasn’t used to it, it didn’t make sense to me. Being homeschooled means you don’t have to live in the constant ebb and flow of the latest dramatic event that is going on.
- More Mature: Homeschooled kids are more mature for their age. They just are! When you think about it, their role models are adults rather than a group of their peers. Maybe that’s why I married a man 7.5 years my senior? 😉
Cons of being a homeschooled kid
- Being Misunderstood: A lot of people just don’t understand homeschooling and that can be really frustrating for a homeschooled child. I remember feeling like people were completely ignorant, wanting to explain myself all the time.
- Lack of Exposure: Although I had the opportunity to choose my interests and run with them, I didn’t have the same exposure to “everything” to find interests outside of myself. For example, I have recently discovered that I love art and yet I had very little exposure to that growing up for me to learn that earlier.
- Less Friends: I definitely had less friends to invite to a birthday party, however this wasn’t really a con for me, it is just a fact that I think needs to be stated. It wasn’t really a con because I still had friends, instead of 20 acquaintance type friends, I had 2 or 3 solid best friends that I could depend on (and I’m still friends with to this day I might add).
Other kids would probably have a different list, but these were the pros and cons of homeschooling for me. As you can see, the pros list CLEARLY outweighs the cons, and it did for me as a kid as well. I LOVED being homeschooled, I cried when I had to go to school in grade 2, every day actually until my mom pulled me back out. I was bullied when I tried school in grade 6 for a year and hated it. And don’t even get me started on high school, a combination of being so much younger than everyone else and feeling like a total fish out of water made high school very difficult for me. But I still had my good friends, my church youth group, and my home where I could be myself and that is really what got me through.
The pros and cons of homeschooling from a homeschool mom’s perspective
As a homeschool mom, my perspective changed DRASTICALLY! Now I had the opportunity to find out the sacrifice and some of the challenges that my mother faced! I am sure this list will change over the years, but in the last 5 or 6 years, this is what I have found so far.
Pros of homeschooling
- You don’t miss a thing: One of the number 1 joys of homeschooling for me is not missing a moment. I get to be there when they read their first word, I don’t have to hear about it in a report card. I get to watch the breakthrough when they FINALLY (thank God) understand that math concept you’ve been struggling through. I get to journey with my kids in the peaks and valleys of their education and development and it is one of the greatest privileges of my life.
- Relationship: I don’t get to just see my kids in the afternoons and evenings, competing with friends and homework and bedtime. Instead, I get to spend all day with my kids, filled with discussion and exploration as a family.
- Character: I get to really know my kids and have the time to help them when they are struggling. If my child is struggling with being bossy and controlling or lying, we can take the time to address it in our daily lives.
- Values: One of our main motivators for homeschooling is sharing our values in a society whose values are rapidly diminishing. We get to model and talk about kindness, love, being polite, showing empathy and compassion to their younger siblings, etc. We can share our faith and beliefs with our children.
- Freedom: When you homeschool you have the ability to teach what you want to teach, to follow their interests or what is relevant to them. You are not bound to read “that particular book” but can choose what your child is passionate about.
- Learning WITH my Kids: I love this one. If anyone has watched the show “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader” you’ll recognize that we really don’t remember most of what we learn in school. But when you teach your kids, you are learning right with them all over again. I sometimes choose topics that I am interested in or what to learn more about because I learn so much more through teaching it than I did through hearing or reading it the first time. Plus, when I am interested in something, my kids can sense my enthusiasm and our lessons are SO much more fun!
- A Better Education: Though grades are not my main focus, I know that I can offer my children a better education than the school system. My children are getting one-on-one tailored education instead of being just one in a crowd. We can gently work on the areas they struggle in, approach it differently, we can skip things that are boring to them or too easy.
- Sleeping in: For real, I don’t know why this isn’t on every list. I don’t HAVE to get up and get dressed and take the kids to the 7am bus stop. I don’t have to pack all the kids in the car to take them to school. I don’t have to pack school lunches the night before. I mean, this is a HUGE benefit to homeschooling!
- More Free Time: Because my kids don’t have to wait for a class of 30 other kids to finish or ask questions or stop goofing off, lessons are WAY faster! We can often finish our school in the morning and have all afternoon to play. We are way more productive with our time and the lessons are more beneficial because they can be tailored to my kids.
- See Daddy More: For our family, homeschooling means they see their dad a lot more. With shift work and Monday’s off, if they weren’t homeschooled, they wouldn’t see him when he popped home for lunch or before he left for work in the morning. They would just see him in passing, which is a huge reason homeschooling works so well for us.
Cons of Homeschooling
- A Clean House is Dead to Me: My house is never clean. While I do school downstairs with my preschooler, my other children methodically make a mess in the bathroom, pour out all the Lego, get into the coloring books, etc. When I come upstairs it is a mess. When I tidy and go back down it is a mess. No matter how much I do or how hard I work, my house is ALWAYS a mess. This is my life with 5 kids, this is my reality. I have come to accept it as a necessary evil, but it is frustrating.
- Homeschooling can be expensive: It doesn’t have to be expensive but often when you are starting out and want all the planning done for you, you choose programs that are all laid out and they are pricey. You now pay for every sport, every music lesson, every interest your child has.
- Goodbye Freedom: I miss friends. I miss having a day full of potential. I miss my hobbies. I always have a list of things I could and should be doing. There is no real free time for me anymore unless I get up at 5am.
- Homeschooling is a Weight: For better or worse, no matter how much I love it or how many benefits it has for all of us… Homeschooling is a HUGE responsibility! I feel pulled in so many different directions. I often feel like a total failure. When I lose my patience or my child is in tears because they don’t want to do it. There is a lot of pressure to perform.
- Lack of Support: while there are support groups out there and co-ops, we have always lived in small towns where that isn’t available to us. There is a lot of negativity around homeschooling. People think we are weird, people judge us, people quiz our kids thinking they must be dumb or super smart. It can feel lonely at times to homeschool, you have to grow a tough skin and just brush off the comments and looks that you get.
For me the pros outweigh the cons. I can live with a messy house, I can find online support groups, I can find ways to homeschool for free OR we can just be willing to invest more in our children’s education. It’s cheaper than private school! I like the challenge *most* days, and I am a better person because I have little opportunity to be lazy (because I can be a total slacker). And above all else, homeschooling is FUN! So much fun! It isn’t just a list of pros and cons for me, it is a lifestyle that I am in love with and I can’t imagine giving that up anytime soon!
Pros and cons of Homeschooling from a homeschool dad’s perspective
Pros of homeschooling
- Homeschooling makes my wife more attractive: there is an appeal to your woman taking care of the kids and committing to her family so wholly.
- Brag worthy: I love bragging that my wife homeschools to my co-workers. I know my kids are getting a better education and I am proud of it.
- Flexibility:When I’m off, my kids are there, no matter when that is. My days off are more satisfying, they aren’t complicated by running kids around and we aren’t housebound. We’re ready to go at a moment’s notice!
- Less Stress: I am not worried about my children’s education, safety, or emotional well being. I know where they are at all times and don’t have to wait for a report card to tell me if there is trouble.
- I know Where My Wife Is: I don’t have to worry about where Rebecca is or if she is okay. She doesn’t spend as much money and I feel confident and at ease knowing she is at home, or adventuring, with the kids.
- Home is Alive: our home is a constant buzz of activity, a hub. When kids are in school, everything is pulling you away from the home: school, after school activities and events. With homeschooling our home is being used everywhere, in every way (I can clearly see that by the total mess when I walk in the door).
- Routine vs. Schedule: We aren’t slaves to a schedule where if we are late, something doesn’t get done. My kids do chores, clean their rooms, and participate in our home every day, whether they get up at 6 or 9am.
- Accessibility: Growing up in a family where my mom and dad divorced when I was young, she was often unavailable. If I wanted to participate in an activity or missed the bus or was sick or got in trouble, I would have to call someone else because my mom was working and going to school. In fact, I could not really depend on my parents. It was important to me that my kids had a parent who was available for them if they needed them. I know that Rebecca is always there, even if I am not.
Cons of Homeschooling
- I Miss Alone Time with my Wife: If my kids were in school we would only have one kid at home during the day as opposed to 5. I miss just having her to myself. She is always busy doing something.
- My Wife is Exhausted: ALL the time. She is tired. She spends her evenings planning, her days schooling, she is always parenting or cleaning or cooking or teaching. She never get’s a break and I don’t like it.
- A Babysitter is Expensive, School is Free: No free childcare, ’nuff said.
- Homeschooling is a Big Responsibility: We take sole responsibility for our children’s education. There is no one to blame if something isn’t working. it’s easy to criticize teachers and the “system” when things aren’t going right, it is a lot harder to take responsibility.