Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

I read the previous threads about homeschooling, but they don’t really address the issues I’m interested in.

In you experience or opinion, what are the biggest advantages of homeschooling?

What are the biggest disadvantages of homeschooling?

I am considering homeschooling my 3 (so far) children, and I’m looking for an intellegent debate as to its merits. The homeschooling info on the web is all very pro, and doesn’t discuss the downside.

We aren’t religious, so that side of it is irrelevant to me.

Socialization: This issues is dismissed as silly on most homeschooling web sites that I’ve seen. They say that it is unnatural for children to socialize with only their own age and homeschooled children do better in dealing with adults, babies etc. But don’t kids need a lot of time with other kids their own age?

Tolerance: Kids in public school have the blessing and curse of dealing with others from all backgrounds. On the one hand these other kids bring in bad habits, obnoxious ideas, and undesireable influences. On the other hand, my kids might grow stronger by being challanged. Or they might just end up in trouble.
Should homeschools be more regulated, like have the kids pass yearly exams? Or maybe the parents should have to demonstrate that they have the ability to adequately teach the children?

If you are capable and qualified (in your own opinion), I highly recommend that you homeschool your children. You can certainly teach them tolerance by example, and socialization by whatever careful measure you desire. You can take them to a homeless shelter and work for a day as a volunteer. You can take them to parks, where you can supervise their time with other children. In other words, the one thing that you get that makes it all worthwhile is control. Given your love and the comittment to your children that you obviously have, if you have the means to educate them yourself, then you have the opportunity to make all kinds of difference in their lives that you otherwise would not.

Well, for one thing, it’s a heck of a lot easier to breastfeed your children (that is, if you can’t afford the formula prescription) until they hit puberty if you don’t have to ship them off to school. :rolleyes:

I think homeschooling needs to be very regulated, just as non-home schools are. We can’t be so concerned about what children are learning only if they leave the house to do it.

The biggest advantage I see is having more control over what your children learn. For some people, that can mean limiting their exposure to things you consider evil (sex, homosexuality, religions other than your own, etc.) To others, it means exposing them to more things than they would going to outside school (art, music, unlimited (“banned”) books, etc.)

The biggest disadvantage is that the education could end up as limited as the teacher’s experience. Also, the families economics are limited because the teacher is limited in outside employment choices.

For those of us addicted to the past who, unlike the OP, didn’t read it the first time around:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=76482

I more or less support homeschooling by a capable adult/parent, but the socializing element does bother me to some degree. Many of the contacts we make in life are formed through being thrust into similar situations together.

[hijack] wow, that indirectly leads to my pit-battle with Spiritus! Good times. [/hijack]

I did want to add, though, this:

I find this comment to sound very reasonable, but do you have any ideas about how to implement it?

If you’re going to home-school, just make sure you get your child one of those tinkertoy-like kits for building organic molecules. Those are way cool.

I think what disturbs me is people like my neighbor-sick of being called to the school because her two criminals in the making weren’t behaving, she simply pulled them out and claimed to be homeschooling them. She simply let them run wild (the youngest was eleven at the time).

Yuck yuck yuck.

Unfortunately, no. I can’t think of any completely reliable ways to do this without infringing on what you can and cannot teach your own child in your own home. Standardized testing being what it is, I don’t think that’s really the way to go.

Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head either which wouldn’t be overbearing or inappropriate.

You know, hmm. How do private schools go about getting accredited?

That’s a good question. Unfortunately, I have to get off-line now and can’t check. But I’ll either look into it or see if someone has come back and posted it when I get back.

Home schooling:

Pro:

Direct contact between the student and the person most likely to know the most about that student.

Flexibility to adjust pace in each subject to the specific needs of the student, at the specific moment that that adjustment is needed.

Potential to reward the application of effort, and incremental achievements in real time with familial approval, a very powerful motivator.

Scheduling in conjunction with personal and familial needs can reduce lost time, without interruption of either consideration.

Con:

Greatly reduced level of interaction with peers, and external authorities, which can reduce total socialization, and emotional development, in some cases.

Reduced access to resources, and encouragement in areas not of interest to that particular Home educator.

Logistical difficulty in assessing the total progress from outside of the family. While not a problem in most cases, where homeschoolers are highly motivated to help their children, it is very damaging to wait until serious deficits develop in a child’s education before implementing remedial strategies.

Loss of experiences common to children in centralized educational models. While not inevitably harmful, the absence of common social matrices is a potential barrier to later social relationships.

Tris

Here, since the school programms are standardized at a national level, an inspector would just come from time to time to check if the kid roughly knows what he would be supposed to be taught at school.

Some other cons:

** Not as easy to participate in extracurriculars, such as sports

** May have a slightly higher burden of proof for college admission

I think both of these can be overcome, so they’re not biggies, but in interest of listing all cons, I throw them out there.

FWIW, I know some homeschooling families get together to do some common activities like field trips to museums.

My niece is being home-schooled, and we were very worried about this possible problem. But it turned out not to be a big deal at all. As it happens, there are LOTS of kids being home-schooled within a few miles of where my sister lives, and they get together to socialize very often. She’s now one of the most socially outgoing children I’ve ever met.

Ed

I, too, have never understood the socializing complaint. Your homeschooled children will socialize to whatever extent and in whatever manner you allow.

I did not say that it was inevitable that a child would be hurt by the reduced level of contact. But that the potential was there, and in some cases children might fail to gain the skills needed to live in a society of varied and different people. In some cases, like one of my nephews, limiting the number of peers and authorities with whom he had to deal was one of the primary advantages to home schooling.

But the realities are that hundreds of people are present in public schools, and in public workplaces. Learning how you relate to those masses of strangers is a skill you might need. Failing to provide some outside approximation to those experiences is a possible source of inadequate socialization particular to home schooling. It is not unreasonable to make note of it in a evaluation of factors pro and con.

Tris

Thanks for your comments.

Most people seem to feel it’s not a bad idea.

I actually would love to hear from someone who is totally against it and thinks it is a terrible idea, just to get that point of view.

I’m pretty sure my husband will be against it, and at least I’d like to think about the anti-homeschooling side before I discuss it with him.

I may not be the brightest light around here, but neither am I a dumbie. I cannot understand how any large sector of society could think they were able to teach their children:
[ul][li] English and literature[/li][li] Math (including algebra, geometry and trigonometry).[/li][li] Science[/li][li] History, government, geology (not social science*).[/li][li] Languages[/ul][/li]better than persons that have been trained in these disciplines.

I am not saying it is not possible or that public schools are doing a tremendous job. However, on a large scale I think homeschooling is a dangerous concept considering the general level of intelligence.

*[sup]On second thought if homeschooling could get away from the idea of social science it just might be worthwhile[/sup]

I would imagine that children that are homeschooled may quickly catch up to the parent’s level of ability, after which an external tutor would probably have to come it for many parents.

But any parent who has enough money to stay home with their child probably has a decent education (since wealth and education (not intelligence!) are often associated).

I am not totally against it, but I do have serious reservations, including some that have been poo-pooed here. One that hasn’t been touched on I will call togetherness.

I have heard the story of how the husband comes home from a long day at work and wants a little peace and quiet. The wife on the other hand has been at home with the children and wants to talk to an adult. This is true especially in cases where the children are pre-school, but not exclusively. My wife and I raised 5 children (including 3 adopted) so I am not the type that avoids a commitment to children. On the other hand, I think some thought needs to be taken about the commitment that the mother is making and how in an effort to save her sanity the father will need to support her in an inordinate manner.

For those who do it right and are committed “God bless you”. To those that do it in any other way or for the wrong reasons “God save us”.