Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Homeschooling Pros and Cons

It's been a while since I've written anything about the pros and cons of homeschooling, which is kind of weird since I'm often asked about them.

 I know I often spout off about the pros of homeschooling but there are some definite downsides too.

 I often joke that the pros and cons are just flip sides of the same coin.  Don't know what I mean??

Here is what I mean:


1. Pro: I get to spend everyday all day long with my boys
Con: I spend everyday all day looong with my boys.

See how that works?  I'm blessed that I get to spend a lot of time with my boys.  We make memories and have so much together.  But there are days and times when spending so much time together seems like torture instead of fun.


2. Pro:  I am their teacher and I know everything they are learning.
Con: I am their teacher so if there's something they don't know it's my fault that I haven't taught them yet. 

 I love knowing what my kids are learning about and learning alongside them.  It's great that we never run out of things to talk about and we have a broader base of common things to relate to; however it can be extremely daunting to realize that I am their teacher and am responsible for teaching them everything they need to know in order to become successful, functional, members of society.

3. Pro: Homeschooling is extremely flexible
Con: If you're not a flexible person (like me!) you will need to learn to become more flexible.

When we started homeschooling I kept trying to plan our day, week, and months out.  I'd decide what lessons to cover on which days, which books we'd need, etc... but life would get in the way.  A doctor appointment would crop up or we'd need to run to the grocery store because we ran out of milk.  I quickly learned that no matter how well I planned our days would not always go according to schedule.  I had to learn to be flexible.  It was difficult for me but necessary!

4. Pro: We get to pick what we want to learn about
Con: Much of my "free time" is now spent curriculum/ lesson planning.... and we rely a lot on unschooling! 

One thing that really appealed to me about homeschooling was that my kids could follow their passions and learn about what they were interested in.  Of course that meant boxed curricula were not going to work for us either.  I often spend my free time at night after the kids are in bed perusing Pinterest for fun schooling ideas, wonderful picture books to introduce them to, and new topics to introduce.  It's time consuming, sure.  But it's a labor of love and totally worth it when I get to see their eyes light up with some of my suggestions.


5. Pro: There is NO one telling me/ us what to do!
Con: There is no one to tell us what to do.

While I found it extremely daunting at first that there were no guidelines for what to teach when, no one to tell us what to do or how to do it; it is extremely freeing to know that we don't have to follow anyone's orders.  We get to decide what we want to cover, when we want to cover it and how to go about learning it.  We can sleep in, stay up late, take off on vacation whenever we want.... it's nice to have no one else dictating our lives.

6. Pro:  We get to go on a lot of field trips!  There are so many wonderful events and opportunities for learning everywhere.
Con:  We're on the go so much it can be hard to find time to do our book work.

It may sound funny but this can actually be a genuine problem.  There have been so many wonderful opportunities that opened up to us through homeschooling.  Businesses that are geared towards kids are often empty and unused during the school days and they open up to a groups of homeschoolers at tremendous discounts.  We've had the opportunity to take trampoline lessons, karate lessons (at a hugely discounted rate!), learned glass fusion, indoor rock climbing, and indoor obstacle courses.  We often find that we have to pick and choose because there is always something being offered.  Always!  It's great to see how much we've expanded our interests and activities but we can't forget to make time for reading, math and traditional school subjects too.


7.  Pro: My kids are free to be themselves and don't have to worry about wearing the "right" clothes or liking the same activities and events as their peers.
Con: My kids sometimes feel like don't fit in when we're hanging out with groups of public/ private school kids. 

I love that my kids are free to express themselves, be themselves, and develop their own set of interests and activities.  Sometimes this can cause them to feel a little left out when they're hanging out with public/ private school kids who don't share their same interests but overall my kids are happy with who they are and aren't overly concerned with fitting in.  They exude confidence and they're happy.  Plus they have found that no matter what their interests are if they work hard enough and talk to enough people they'll find someone who shares their passions even if it's not someone the exact same age as them.  ( I specifically mentioned public/ private school kids because as a group homeschoolers are all about being unique and therefor they tend to be more widely accepting of quirky clothing styles, activities or ideas).

8.  Pro: We get to save money on back to school gear, enjoy discounts to many places, and spend less money on "stuff" that they feel they need to ask for just because everyone else has one.
Con: With only one income and three boys to raise money can feel tight at times; especially when we're paying for all those discounted trips and classes or buying new curriculum books.

I have found that while we can save lots of money as homeschoolers it's often just a trade off.  Instead of spending money on new clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies we spend money on field trips, experiences and curriculum.  While I'm much happier spending our money on new experiences rather than the latest pair of must have sneakers it really is just the flip side of the same coin and a new way to look at budgeting our money.


9.  Pro: We are preparing for life and not a test.  My kids don't have to worry about tests that compare them to other students or schools and feel like they aren't measuring up.  
Con: Sometimes it's hard for me to gauge how well I'm doing as a teacher and if I'm adequately preparing my kids for life.  

It's hard not to compare my kids to their peers; whether they're public schooled, private schooled, or homeschooled!  I know that ALL kids have different skills, strengths and weaknesses and my kids are no different but I still worry a lot about how much they're learning, if they're learning enough, if they're learning the "right" things they need to become successful, functional adults.  Yet when they are struggling with a new skill they don't feel signaled out in a class of their peers either and we can take our time working together plugging away at the skill until they have mastered it.

10:  Pro: My kids have time to learn so much more than just reading, writing, math and traditional school subjects. 
Con: We often have so much free time the boys are bored or overwhelmed with how to spend it. 

Our school day usually only lasts an hour or two and we have the rest of the day to pursue our own interests.  My kids have plenty of time to learn how to clean the house, do their laundry, make meals, and learn all sorts of wonderful life skills.  Much of the time the boys are left on their own though to play and fill the hours in their day.  I do hear a lot of complaints of boredom and they often look like they are floundering trying to find something to do.  I think it's a good thing though that they have so much downtime.  It helps them to figure out who they are and what they are interested in.  I don't believe in over scheduling my kids life and they have all the time in the world to just be kids.


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2 comments :

  1. I love your reasons! It's so true, what you say about teaching: Preparing for life, not a test!

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