Homeschooling refers to the concept of educating children at home instead of sending them to public or private schools. The concept is not new. Earlier, most children were educated at home because not everyone could afford to send their children to schools. Nowadays, homeschooling has become popular in many countries for various reasons.
Reasons for Homeschooling
One of the prime reasons why some prefer homeschooling is the questionable quality of education in public schools. Also, many prefer educating their children at home due to the costs involved in traditional schooling. Some parents believe that they know their child’s strengths and weaknesses best and hence, are in a better position to teach him. Some prefer it so as to keep their child away from bad company. There are people who opt to educate their children at home because they want them to absorb the morals and values of their family, and follow their religious beliefs. Some parents think that homeschooling helps build stronger family bonds.
It has been observed that homeschooling, when undertaken meticulously has benefited many. However, every coin has two sides and even homeschooling has its share of demerits. Let us look at its negative impact on parents and students.
Absence of Certified Educational Professionals
A parent may have good educational qualifications, but that does not make him or her a good teacher. Teaching is an art, which requires the ability to understand children’s needs. Parents may find it difficult to adjust to the curriculum. Unlike professional teachers, parents may not be trained to teach, thus making homeschooling difficult for them.
Special Needs May Not be Met
Some children require special learning aids and tutors, and cannot be home-schooled. Lack of proper guidance might impact their education. Similarly, certain subjects require different methods of teaching or certain specialized teaching aids. Homeschooling may not be able to meet these needs of education.
Many parents may eventually become tired and stressed due to teaching for long hours at a stretch. Parents having to manage work and household responsibilities while also devoting time to the education of their children, may have to follow a very hectic schedule. This may take a toll on their health or hamper their efficiency as teachers. This may lead to a homeschool burnout and cause the parents to temporarily lose interest in teaching.
Parents have to sacrifice a lot in terms of other priorities. Home-schooling children is a full-time job and may not be suitable for parents who want to concentrate on their careers. On choosing to teach children at home, career aspirations of parents might have to take a backseat. It takes a lot of time and dedication from the parents’ side to make homeschooling successful.
Though homeschooling may cost less than $1000 per year for parents, inevitable expenses like textbooks, basic stationery, a computer, Internet, educational software, seating arrangement, field and educational trips, audio-visual aids, hobby classes, sports classes, library, legal fees, memberships and newsletters of support groups may also have to be added to the budget. In many states, homeschooling does not receive any kind of financial aid other than making the cost of school supplies tax-deductible.
Parents who home-school their children may have to face social pressure from proponents of traditional education.
This might lead the parents of homeschoolers to feel discouraged and diffident about their decision. They are oftentimes ridiculed by others for their decision and deemed incapable of educating their children at home. They have to face social flak for preferring homeschooling.
Children who are home-schooled may feel lonely, friendless and isolated, especially so if they don’t have siblings. Friendships in school help them learn the importance of sharing and being there for one another. Often, homeschoolers become increasingly dependent on their parents. Being schooled at home, they are isolated from the exposure traditional education gives.
One of the most critical impacts of homeschooling on children is limited social interaction. In a traditional school, students are exposed to children coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. Homeschooling lacks this aspect, and hence may prove to be detrimental to the development of children’s interpersonal skills. Schools give children, the opportunity to participate in debates, sports and other competitions. They expose children to the real world. In homeschooling, school remains confined to the home, thus limiting the social, emotional and psychological development of children.
Homeschoolers have to take an annual assessment test before proceeding to the next level. In traditional schools, children are given periodic tests, which prepare them for the next level. This may not be the case with homeschooling, thus leading to tremendous mental pressure on children when appearing for the annual assessment exams.
Lack of Competition
Schools prepare children to face the fierce competition that one is exposed to, in real life. However, homeschooling does not give them a chance to compete with other kids. They are also unaware of where they stand among their peers. The competitive spirit that is developed in traditional schooling is more or less absent in a homeschooling environment. This may affect the future lives and careers of children.
Though homeschooling has its benefits, it does not match up to the positive influence of schools on the overall development of children.