Some of you know that I was a homeschool mom for many years. My kids did attend school for a few years as well. I’ve posted a few times about that here at my blog.
Now that my “kids” are grown and both are college graduates, I’ve had some time to reflect upon that time of our lives and think about the pros and cons of homeschooling. At the time, it was a blur.
My daughter, at her college graduation, with her dad
When I was in the thick of it, I often thought about the cons of homeschooling. For one, the high school years were stressful for me. Looking back, I realize that the stress was mostly a result of the responsibility I felt. (Also, both of my kids were chronically ill… That upped the stress level a lot.)
It’s not a small thing to have to make sure all of the credits that are needed for college admission are actually completed. But, if you’re considering homeschooling through high school, don’t stress! It is an achievable goal! And a wonderful lifestyle.
Some Cons of Homeschooling
- As I already mentioned, it can be stressful. Honestly, though, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as I made it. I just wish someone could have spoken from the future and told me, “Relax! It will be fine!”
- Choosing curricula can be confusing for the new homeschool parent. There are so many choices. I have an education background, so it was fun for me. But it can be difficult.
- Homeschooling also requires that parents make sure there are plenty of (and here comes that dreaded word…) socialization opportunities. This one makes me laugh a little, though. From my experiences with many other homeschool parents, it seems that homeschool parents are so concerned that their kids have plenty of good social experiences, that sometimes it can border on too many activities. It is definitely another responsibility on the parents, though, because the socialization opportunities have to be sought out. If you homeschool, you will probably be driving your kids around a lot until they are old enough to drive.
- Also, you might be profiled, judged, or criticized. None of that will matter much. Homeschool families come in many forms and flavors, and who knows, you might help shape someone’s opinion about homeschooling!
Some Pros of Homeschooling (from our own experiences)
- During the early years, my kids had time to develop their interests and strengths, to go into depth on one subject while not wasting time on something they had already mastered. My daughter could read and read to her heart’s content. My son could draw and draw and get really good at pitching a baseball. His writing skills flourished.
- The flexibility, both in time and curricula, took a lot of stress off of each day, especially through middle school. You create your own school schedule (which was particularly good when my kids were very ill.) So, yes, homeschooling can prevent stress too!
- No homework in the evenings! (Because it was all done during the day.)
- I loved our walks on the trails, our time spent at the bookstore and library, and the discovery of wonderful books to read aloud.
- And, I loved how much history I personally learned. How I didn’t learn so much of this through my education that included a bachelor’s degree, I don’t know. Historical fiction was a really enjoyable way to learn history.
Over their school years, my kids took wonderful Science, Math, Writing, Photography, and Spanish classes, among many other classes, from gifted teachers. We had great tutors, online classes, and a wonderful hybrid homeschool program in the early years. My son was also dual enrolled in university classes from his junior year of high school. Those classes were perfect for us (and many others!) He got both high school and college credits at the same time.
So, as you can see, I wasn’t their only teacher. (Which was an especially good thing when it came to Chemistry, Advanced Algebra, etc…)
But not even all of those things are the thing I liked the most.
My son at his college graduation
What I Liked Most about Homeschooling
As I look back, when I think about our homeschooling days, what comes to mind more than anything, is the thing I liked the most about homeschooling — the amount of time we had to talk about things.
I’m a talker, and I have a lot of opinions. (People who don’t know me well might be surprised to hear me say that I’m a talker. I’m an introvert with a bit of, (o.k, a lot of), social anxiety in groups, so if you’ve not been in a one-on-one conversation with me, you would say I’m very, very quiet…)
Conversations are great opportunities to develop critical thinking skills, to develop values and ideals, and to explore ideas. I can tell you this — I know I’ve developed as a person from those conversations with my kids as much as I’ve helped them develop.
Of course, you don’t have to be a homeschool parent to talk with your kids! If they are school aged, you just may have to get creative about finding the right times. (Which is totally doable.) It’s worth the effort! Also, I just had to look up doable to see if it was an actual word. I do that a lot…
Homeschooling definitely isn’t for everybody. But it can be a great lifestyle for some. Are you thinking about homeschooling? If you have any questions, I’m happy to help!