What are the disadvantages of home schooling?
Despite the many benefits of educating one's children at home, there are some disadvantages to home schooling. The most significant disadvantage is the amount of sacrifice it takes, physically, emotionally, and financially. Time is needed to prepare and teach lessons, organize outside activities and field trips, and schedule opportunities for the home schooled child to nurture his friendships and develop his interests. Home schooling parents do not have the luxury of having time for themselves while their children are at school. This almost-constant time together can at times seem suffocating, and may not work for some families.
Another disadvantage of home schooling is the cost. Parents who choose to home school, as opposed to free public schooling, are primarily responsible for purchasing the curriculum needed, which can cost, on average, approximately $400 per child each year. This includes costs for field trips, computer software, and materials for projects, as well as the many other resources available to parents. The cost is even higher for those families in which one parent has given up his or her full-time job to home school. For those families who had previously relied on two incomes, this can be a serious disadvantage.
In addition to the additional financial burden of home schooling, another disadvantage of home schooling involves the development of social skills. Most home schooling parents are glad to get their children out of the not-so-positive social environment of age-segregated classrooms, but this means that they are now responsible for the social development of their children. Social skills are learned through everyday interactions, such as trips to the supermarket, libraries, malls, parks, church, field trips, and visiting with neighbors. These ways alone are not completely sufficient for teaching a child proper social skills. All children need to learn how to have relationships with their peers, and home schoolers are sometimes at a disadvantage in this area because they do not have as many opportunities for forming friendships. This is not necessarily a problem for most families, but it takes more effort for home schooling parents to be diligent in making sure their children have ample opportunities to be with other children. Most communities today offer home school support groups within driving distance for almost all home schoolers; these groups usually schedule times weekly or monthly to get together for "park days," home school skate groups, and even gymnastics or swimming classes designed especially for home schoolers.
Many communities also offer co-ops for home schoolers, giving children the opportunity to learn from a variety of adults in addition to their parents. Sunday School, dance classes, 4-H clubs, sports teams, Scouts, and other organized activities like these offer children the time to learn side-by-side and socialize with other children. A disadvantage to this, however, is that some of these groups can be costly.
Because the majority of children attend public or private school, home schooled children might have the desire to start attending school. They may wonder what they are missing out on, especially if their parents don't take the time to make sure they are involved in outside activities. This is difficult for parents who are committed to home schooling and are convinced that this is God's plan for their family.
The most important factor in deciding whether or not to educate one's children at home is trusting in God's leading. Most home schooling parents find that the disadvantages of home schooling are somewhat insignificant in comparison to the benefits of raising and educating their own children.
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