I remember several years ago entering the words “Should I homeschool” in Google, hoping it would give me some great insight. The truth is, I didn’t find out anything new, just some really extreme opinions on both sides. There are advantages to homeschooling, but there are real negatives to consider.
1. In many cases you are with your kids all the time. I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids. I love teaching my kids, but every once in a while it would be nice to go to the grocery store alone or actually hear what is said on the radio in the car. I wouldn’t even dare to dream about a lunch out with a friend (or even alone!). Do summers drive you crazy? Do you feel like you can’t wait for the kids to go back to school? Homeschooling is probably not for you (although everyone needs a break sometime). (See exhibit A, B and C below. P climbs on my lap while I work on the PC 🙂 )
2. You don’t want to be the teacher. I have had several moms tell me that they think about homeschooling, but they don’t want to be their child’s teacher. They just want to be mom. This one is valid too. Homeschooling causes an increase in conflicts because you have more to ask of your children. Not only do they have to clean up their room and take out their garbage, they have to read and do writing assignments and practice their multiplication facts. As a matter of fact, much of the reason that I sent D back to school part way into second grade was because I was just tired of arguing. I thought, “We just moved into this great new district with excellent schools. Why am I fighting with him all day?” Going to school was okay, but now I see how coming back home allowed us to actually deal with the issue of disobedience head on rather than pushing it off and in our case, we are better of for it.
3. You don’t really want to learn. Some people are just done with school and don’t want to repeat the experience with their kids. You should remember that school is not necessarily what you remember. It can be the school of your dreams where you pursue the things your kids are curious about and eliminate the busywork and help them through the rough spots. Still, you probably will have to re-learn dividing fractions and how to divide syllables and read all the novels first, so if you are just not curious and don’t want to learn anything else with your children, you should not homeschool.
4. Your child(ren) are happy at school and learning well. No one should feel like they are doing their child a disservice by sending them to school. No one should feel that they have to teach their kids at home. If your children like their school and you think that they are getting a good education, why take them out? I find many homeschooling families that feel like the best decision is always homeschool. In reality, the best decision you can make educating your children in an environment where they are thriving.
5. Your child requires help that you cannot give them. This is what many of us with children who have disabilities have believed. Maybe your child is autistic, like mine, or dyslexic or has an IEP at school for some other reason. It can seem like only the “experts” can help him and that public school is the only option. You should know, however, that if you want to teach your child at home, you probably can. Most of us have become mini-experts on our child’s condition(s) and we are certainly the expert on our child as an individual. Armed with that information, you may be able to address the issues at home and in many cases, that is just what the child needs. Schools also have funds set asides for students in private school or homeschool. They would not receive the exact same services that they would at school, but if they qualify for special education services, they will probably have access to some services as a homeschooled child. That can range from direct services (such as one on one speech therapy for the child) or just consultation with therapists. There is also the option, in most states, for dual-enrollment. For example, if your child is dyslexic, you can enroll them in school for Language Arts only and he/she would receive services to support their success in that subject. In some cases private insurance pays for therapy also and in that case you can choose a therapist that allows you to be present at the therapy to observe and then implement the same techniques during the week at home.