Edited by Eunice Tan
Homeschooling can either be a wonderful thing, or it could be a major cause of stress in your household. Most of the time, it’s both. Is homeschooling right for your child? What are the pros and cons? As someone who has been in the public school system and then placed into the unfamiliar territory of homeschooling, I have experienced all the benefits and struggles firsthand. Although both systems of education are drastically different, I have come to appreciate the challenges and flexibility of homeschooling. If you are seriously considering homeschooling and wondering what it would be like for your child, I believe this article will be helpful. Here, I will go through the pros and cons of homeschooling from the perspective of the child.
Homeschooling for your Child:
While many other articles tend to talk about how homeschooling is like for Mom and Dad, let’s take into consideration the effects this will have on the child. Will he/she have any friends? Will he/she get a proper education? When homeschooling, the ones most directly affected are the children being homeschooled. Let’s take a look at this.
Pros of being a homeschooled child:
- Less Stress: The biggest change for me when I was first homeschooled was the freedom from overpowering stress. I didn’t have to deal with the impending fear of being inferior to my peers. The fear of failure is also greatly minimized. Freedom from the competitiveness of everyday life at school was a major relief for me. Instead of worrying about my place on the school social map, I could finally pay attention to my school work. This is could lead to major improvements in the mental health of your child.
- Confidence: Homeschoolers have the opportunity to learn the way they do best and at their own pace. They can find what they do best and have time to develop their skills in it. This helps them build confidence and their ability to do things well.
- Discipline: Knowing they have to do work by a certain date instills a strong sense of responsibility in homeschoolers. This plays a part in helping them learn discipline. Homeschooled children can learn how to do work not because a teacher instructed them to, but because they know they are working towards a goal. This aspect of homeschooling has helped me feel motivated to complete my own work on time!
- Experience: Some may argue that homeschoolers lose out on experience as they have no opportunity to go to school. On the contrary, children who go to school lose out on experiences only homeschoolers get. I have had the opportunity to explore and learn more about life. Instead of rushing through the Science Centre with the whole class, I was allowed to walk at my own pace and read the information panels one by one. Instead of buying food from the school cafeteria and eating food my parents made earlier, I was learning how to cook and make my own meals at home.
- Working at your own pace: Occasionally, your child may come across a concept they don’t understand. Homeschoolers can take the time to understand it slowly! Homeschooling provides students the freedom to work at their own pace. Your child would not be restricted to work at a specific level. This system allows them to be motivated and work ahead, or take the time to understand the material at their own pace.
- Actual socialization: Rather than being placed with a group of students the same age as them, homeschoolers learn how to talk with people from different age groups. One thing I have learned from being homeschooled is how to talk to adults and talk to children younger than me. I have learned how to start conversations with ease, and this is an important aspect of life after school. In addition to this, it is something I did not get the opportunity to learn when surrounded by like-minded peers.
- Maturity: I have noticed that homeschooled children tend to be more mature for their age. This could be due to the fact that their role models are adults and their parents rather than their peers. This allows the students to learn from their elders and more experienced people rather than from often inexperienced and immature peers.
- Flexibility: If your family tends to travel a lot, homeschooling offers flexibility unrivaled by any other education system.
Cons of being a homeschooled child:
- Questions: As a lot of people tend to be unfamiliar with homeschooling, children who are homeschooled have the habit of constantly being asked many questions. Having to constantly explain yourself can be frustrating for your child.
- Fewer Friends: While this may not necessarily be a drawback for me, those who find themselves extremely extroverted may miss their friends from school. I have a few close friends whom I know very well and can always rely on. Unlike many of my old friends from school, I do not lose contact with them after a year or two. To me, the number of friends you have does not matter as much as the quality of friends you have. On the contrary, other children may find that the more people there are, the merrier. It all depends on preference.
While other homeschoolers may have a different list, these are the pros and cons of homeschooling for me. While there may be drawbacks in the idea of being homeschooled, I personally love homeschooling. To me, it is a major but positive change in my life, and a decision I would never change. Something you need to remember though is that homeschooling is a huge responsibility for the parents and can be overwhelming at times. Parents have to take the sole responsibility for their children’s education, and 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, but it is a lot harder to take responsibility. Nonetheless, if done right, it can have a positive impact on the whole family, especially the child.