30 Jun The Pros & Cons Of Home Schooling Your Children
The Pros & Cons Of Home Schooling Your Children
Homeschooling is becoming an increasingly popular education choice for many parents, not least after the COVID-19 Pandemic where almost all parents had to get used to the idea of educating their children from home.
But, with lockdowns and school closures now well and truly out of the way, more and more parents are making the decision to keep home schooling their children. Information gathered from 145 councils throughout England suggests that as many as 122,000 pupils missed at least 50% of school in the 2021 Autumn term. This is backed up by recent research on behalf of the UK government which explains that there is evidence of an increase in homeschooling in recent years and that this has accelerated during the pandemic.
With more and more parents making the decision to home educate their children, it is important to ensure that you can make homeschooling work for you and your family. In the below article we are going to take a deeper look into home education, some of the pros and cons of home schooling your child and what you can do to make sure that homeschooling can work for you.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of Homeschooling?
Home educating your child comes with its advantages and disadvantages. We have compiled a list of some of the most common pros & cons parents have faced when making the decision to home educate their children:
Pros of homeschooling your children:
Focus on your child’s strengths/interests
Many parents’ decision for home schooling their child is so that they have the flexibility to focus on their child’s individual strengths, weaknesses and interests. As there is no formal curriculum when it comes to home education, parents have the flexibility to target their child’s studies around what they do and don’t already know, what they would like to know more about, and what interests them. Although you are not bound by a curriculum when home educating your child, it is still a good idea to keep studies reasonably close in line with the UK’s national curriculum, so that you can be confident your child is still receiving a well-rounded education.
Home schooling provides your child with the flexibility of personalised learning, without the stresses of performance-based or social anxiety. It also means your child can learn at their own place.
Flexibility/transient nature of home schooling
Home schooling provides a really flexible approach to your child’s education! Anywhere can be their classroom and you are not just bound by the school day. Your child can constantly be learning at any time of the day and anywhere in the world! You are also not bound by traditional school holidays, which means you can travel anytime and anywhere without the worry of it impacting on your child’s education. You can simply make up for any missed learning the next week or take your child’s studies with you.
No risk of bullying/peer pressure
Perhaps one of the most common reasons for making the decision to educate your child at home is to avoid the risk of bullying or peer pressure which can be common place in schools. Many parents have chosen to home school their child as a result of bullying. However, with the rise of technology and social media, making the decision to home school your child doesn’t completely protect them from the risk of bullying or peer pressure these days.
Choose what you want to teach/learn
When it comes to home education, you have full control over what you do and don’t want to teach your child as well as what they would like to learn. Empowering your child to choose what they do and don’t want to learn is a major benefit of home education, although it is wise to make sure that your child still receives a well-rounded education where they develop competency in core subjects such as Maths, English and Science.
Individual & focused attention
Home schooling your child means that they can benefit from one-to-one attention or smaller group teaching. This means that your child receives more individual attention focused around their unique strengths, weaknesses and interests. On the flip side, if you do not have ample time to give your child all of the attention they require, then they could end up getting even less individual attention than they may have otherwise received in a traditional classroom setting. Although individual and focused attention is a major benefit of home schooling your child, it can only work if you have the time and resources to do so.
Home education community
The home education community is collaborative, understanding and supporting. They have all been in the same position and have the benefit of experience on their side. An increasingly popular community, others in the home-ed world can help to guide you on what does and doesn’t work, how to make the most out of home schooling and how to appease local authorities and your elective home education officer.
The home education community will often form a collaborative approach to their childrens’ education too. For example, if one parent in the community is particularly strong at teaching a specific subject, then they may decide to put on a small class for others in the community to benefit from. Home ed networks and groups can really help to transform your approach to home schooling.
More family time
By home schooling your child you will have more time to spend with your family/children. It won’t be a case of just spending time with the family during evenings and weekends or whenever else you can. You will be there for all of your child’s key education milestones and they will be there for you! Gone are the days of early morning school runs, although this increased family time may also have its drawbacks.
Learning from real life/day to day living
By home educating your child, they are not bound by a classroom and can keep up their learning any time and any place! What better place to have an addition and subtraction lesson than in a supermarket (estimating your shipping bill) or learning about volume and weights while cooking and baking. Learning from real-life, day-to-day experiences will set your child up well for later in life.
Cons of homeschooling your children:
Socialising/lack of friends
Choosing to home educate your child does come with a set of disadvantages too. One of the biggest disadvantages of home schooling your child is their lack of socialising. Although many home educators would argue that home education is more sociable and that children benefit from socialising with children of different ages from all different backgrounds, this is dependent on you forming or joining a community beyond the school gates.
If you are making the decision to remove your child from school to home educate them, then hopefully your child will already have some friends and a support network around them. However, if your child has never set foot in a school then there can be some challenges when it comes to making friends and forming relationships with people of the same age.
Money & finances?
The costs involved with home schooling your child can also be a major disadvantage. You may not have considered the costs of home educating your child already, but if one parent has to stop work or cut their hours to home school your child, that can pose a financial problem. Even small things like the increase in electricity and energy bills or the lack of affordable school dinners could negatively impact your finances. There is also understandably a lack of funding available for those who choose home schooling.
If your home is also going to become your child’s “school” or education setting, then there could be some potential problems with a school/home imbalance. Your child will be spending increasing amounts of time at home which can present issues. Equally, there will also be a loss of experiences such as organised school trips, sports days and seasonal holiday events, although many would argue that children benefit from more experiences when home educated.
Whilst you are more than likely capable of educating your child at home, the lack of any formal teaching credentials does also pose potential problems when it comes to your child’s education and development.
Home schooling relies on good discipline, not just that of your child but also the discipline of you as a parent-come-teacher. Your child’s education will depend on your discipline as a home educator and requires careful planning and preparation. Preparing a timetable or education planner can help you to be more disciplined. Children can miss out academically if you do not have the discipline to plan a suitable home-schooling approach for your child and this can become even more of an issue if you ever change your mind and decide that traditional classroom teaching is a better option and send your child back to school.
When home schooling your child, you are 100% responsible for your child’s education. But your other responsibilities (whether as a parent or at work) do not just disappear. Striking the right work/life/teacher balance can be a real struggle for many parents and many home educators find that some of their other responsibilities start to slip. Getting the right work/life/teacher balance can be a strain for even the most organised parent.
Judgement from those at school/outsiders/family/friends
Although home schooling has increased in popularity in recent years, it is still a relatively unique, unknown and un-talked about approach to your child’s education. As such, there can be some judgement from outsiders and even those closer to you such as friends and family. It is simply a fear or uncertainty of the unknown and as long as you are confident that you can provide your child with the education they deserve, other people’s judgements or perceptions are irrelevant.
Understandably, the government and local authorities would prefer to see your child in a formal education setting, where they can be confident that they are receiving the education they deserve. Just because your child isn’t at school doesn’t mean that they are getting any less of an education, however the Government and local authorities will want to verify this. When home schooling your child, you should expect government intervention in the form of visits from your elective home education officer and in serious cases, school attendance orders can be served.
Access to higher/further education
Another disadvantage of home schooling your child is that it can make it a little more difficult to access higher education (I.e A-levels, Vocational & BTEC courses). It certainly isn’t impossible and with good grades, a strong personal statement and a willingness and eagerness to learn, your child should still have access to all of the same higher education opportunities they would get versus if they were still in school.
How Homeschooling Can Benefit Your Child?
Although there are disadvantages to home schooling your child, there are numerous benefits too. The flexibility of home schooling as well as the ability for your child to learn exactly what they want, where they want and when they want can really benefit your child in their development.
Focusing on your child’s unique strengths and weaknesses and giving them individual attention and focus can really benefit their studies and the extra family time is an extra bonus!
The important thing is to weigh up the pros and cons of educating your child at home and how it could benefit or disadvantage them as an individual as well as you as a family.
Can Homeschooling Be Done Online?
The great thing about homeschooling in today’s world is that you have endless resources and educational material available to you online! Whether it’s free websites such as BBC Bitesize and Wikipedia, education forums, instant answers to questions from Google or educational video content, the resources available to you online really are endless.
Private online tutors are an excellent option when looking to home educate your child. However, sessions are expensive and the costs soon add up.
Online tutoring programmes such as Tutorwiz are one of the best approaches for home educated students. The programme is centered around your child, their learning pace and individual needs and is a much more affordable option vs private tuition. There is no competitive element and the beauty of technology is that Tutorwiz can be taken anywhere with you. Tutorwiz complements home learning and has digitalised the UK’s national curriculum, making it familiar for every child in the UK.
Whether primary or secondary education, Tutorwiz can work with home educated students of all ages and abilities. To find out some more information about how Tutorwiz can benefit you in your home-schooling journey please contact us on 0800 181 4221 or via email at email@example.com.