When we send our children to school then essentially we are passing them over to someone else and letting them take over the role of parent in many ways. For instance, when you are a parent you teach your children right and wrong, and you try to get them to share your views – but when you send them to school then suddenly they are taught right and wrong by the institution and they are opened up to more views.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well that depends on who you talk to – and if you choose to homeschool your own children then you will find there are a range of other issues to contend with – the difficulty of actually teaching them, the huge lifestyle change it involves and the lack of social interaction to name a few. Here we will look at some of the pros and cons of homeschooling to help you decide if it’s a good idea for your child.
One to One Time
If your child is in a class of thirty children then that’s thirty children to one teacher. This doesn’t give them much one-to-one interaction with the child and it means the teacher will be pushed for time to answer their questions, read their homework and generally help them out. Conversely though your child has your undivided attention at home and this allows you to ensure that they fully grasp every subject. At the same time because there aren’t other children in the class to consider, you don’t need to move on to the next subject at the end of term and you can instead make sure your child is happy with everything you’ve taught them first.
This also allows you to tailor lessons more to your child. If they are a very visual learner then you can use posters, maps and graphs for instance. Furthermore it will allow you to focus on the areas that your child excels most in and finds most interesting – though do note you will still legally have to follow the curriculum and give your child the same tests as everyone else.
Views and Philosophies
As mentioned, sending your child to school opens them up to a lot of other influences which you might not always agree with. Christian parents are often unhappy to hear their children are being taught evolution in science for instance, while atheist parents might be equally upset to hear their children learning the creation story in RE. If you homeschool your child then it’s up to you what you want them to believe and how you want to influence their learning (best of all though is to not influence them at all and let them develop their own ideas).
Similarly many people don’t like the ‘institution’ of schooling in the way that it teaches children to bow down to authority. Ultimately at school the teacher makes the law and the child obeys, and some parents will prefer their children to remain more free thinking and not to be subordinate which is a motivation for some to look into homeschooling.
If your child gets home taught then they don’t need to worry about being bullied by other children or about getting teased, or about the difficulties of young relationships. If your child has been bullied, or has a disability that makes them a target, then homeschooling is often a ‘safer’ alternative.
There are many practical bonuses of homeschooling – for instance the fact you won’t have to drive them or give them lunch money makes it cheaper and quicker, and often you will find your ‘school days’ are over much quicker allowing you both to get on with other things. Another common reason for homeschooling is that there are no nearby schools or that the parents move around a lot, and in these cases it is an easy alternative.
Being able to teach your children your own views might sound like a great thing for a parent but the reality can be quite different. One of the great benefits of a traditional school is that it broadens your child’s mind to multiple possibilities and ideas, and this is aided by the mixture of other children they meet in school. Homeschool them instead and they will have but one set of views – yours – and there will be whole groups of people they haven’t even met.
A lot of what you learn from school isn’t taught in lessons – it’s learned in the playground and this is where we form our relationship models that we take into our adult lives. Being home taught can be very isolating if it means your children don’t interact as much with other children and it might prevent them from making friends. This is a real shame when for many of us the friendships we form at school stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Quality of Teaching
While you might make a fantastic teacher and your child is likely to benefit from the more one-to-one nature of homeschooling, you are still not a professional and you won’t have the same in-depth knowledge for each subject. When your child is at school they are taught by teachers with a wealth of experience and with degrees in their specialist subjects. The quality will vary, but as a rule they will all likely have a better handle on the subjects than you do and more idea of how to teach them.
While it’s more practical in some ways to teach your own children, in other ways it is far less practicality. In particular it’s less practical because you will have to teach the children and this takes a lot of time and effort and can be highly frustrating. If both parents work, or one is very busy around the house, then there may simply not be time for homeschooling.