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If there’s one thing that parents learned during the pandemic, it’s that teaching is hard. When government restrictions were in full force and we were all stuck at home in lockdown, ensuring our children could continue their education as seamlessly as possible proved to be a monumental challenge. Homeschooling became the norm.
Why would you consider homeschooling?
Teachers conducted their lessons over Zoom to classrooms of children spread over a hundred-mile radius, struggling to enforce discipline and order while battling with faulty microphones and stuttering internet connections.
Much more of the burden of education transferred to the parents, who now had a clearer view of the work their children were – and weren’t – doing.
Many parents decided to supplement their kids’ learning with a little homeschooling, which is an extremely difficult job for someone who is not trained as a teacher.
You not only have to understand each topic yourself but also come up with lesson plans and assignments, all while trying to deal with your own professional and personal commitments.
In light of all this evidence, you might come to the conclusion that homeschooling is a bad idea, but this is not necessarily the case.
The global pandemic was an unexpected force of nature that came out of nowhere and disrupted all of our lives. There was little time for preparation before we were told to stay at home and isolate ourselves from our loved ones, so it’s no wonder that many childrens’ education suffered.
But with the right resources and planning, homeschooling a child can be a very effective way of preparing them for adulthood. There are around 2.5 million homeschooled children in the United States alone, and many more in the other countries in which it is legal, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. And it is increasing in popularity too, seeing a 40% growth in the last three years.
It’s understandable that many people feel uneasy at the idea of taking a child out of school and having them taught at home by their parents who have no formal training. But if done well, there is no cause for concern, and it can be even more effective than traditional education.
If you are unsure of the right cause of action, it is useful to understand all the facts. To help you make the correct decision for you and your family, here are the pros and cons of homeschooling your child.
Educational establishments are generally required to adhere to a fixed curriculum. Although this enables the majority of children to be assessed in the same way, it does mean that different learning styles and complex needs are often not taken into account. In addition, many schools are understaffed and low on resources and many children are not given the deeper attention and focus that they need to thrive.
Conversely, homeschooling your child means you can put all your focus on their learning, adapting your teaching style to meet their needs. Some children learn better in a visual way, while others are more suited to listening and absorbing information. There are plenty of resources available online to help your education, such as these tips for teaching vocabulary outside of the classroom.
Teaching a large class of students can be time-consuming, as you are constantly answering questions and dealing with bad behaviour.
It means teachers often have to brush over certain topics so they have time to get through the whole curriculum. But at home, time is something you have in plentiful supply and you can devote a lot more energy to the subjects that are most important.
You can ensure your child gains a sufficient understanding of complex concepts and is in a better position to succeed in their exams.
Children who are homeschooled still have to follow a rough curriculum and take exams just like everyone else, and studies show that they actually do a lot better than kids who go to school.
There are plenty of factors that could lead to these results, including fewer distractions, more attention, and better-customized learning.
Stronger family relationships
You will be spending a lot more time with your child, working closely with them each and every day and gaining a deeper understanding of who they are as a person.
Although you may still have to discipline poor behaviour or lack of effort, your relationship will most likely flourish as a result of your new circumstances.
Since you will both be at home for the majority of the week, your entire family will form a stronger bond and flourish together
Better life balance
When you and your child don’t have to go to work or to school every day, you have a lot more free time in your life.
There is no time spent commuting, sitting in pointless meetings, or wandering from classroom to classroom.
You can use your time wisely and get through the working day a lot quicker as a result.
This gives you more time to focus on your family, hobbies and passions, and your quality of life will be greatly improved.
As a teacher, you are still subject to education standards whether you teach in a classroom or at home. And as a homeschooler, you may be under more pressure to produce good results.
Local authorities or education standards officers will want to know you are providing your child with a good education so you need to ensure you are up to the task.
Make sure you are fully au fait with the curriculum and consider gaining qualifications or hiring a private tutor to enhance your child’s learning.
Although there are plenty of educational resources online that you can use, being homeschooled is just not the same as going to school.
At school, your child will get the added benefits of library books, class discussions, career advice, and sports facilities. You will have to spend a lot more money if you want these for your own home.
Access to higher education is a lot harder for your child too. Although they can take the same exams as everyone else, it is a lot easier to apply to colleges by going down the traditional route.
The main drawback for your child will be a lack of friends and classmates around them.
Although they may have neighbours or other friends they play with after school or on weekends, their education won’t have the same social element.
They won’t be making memories and getting into scrapes with their peers in the playground. Their ability to interact with others could suffer if they aren’t careful.
Homeschooling gets a bad reputation from people who don’t really understand it. Naysayers often shout about the drawbacks but rarely see the benefits.
Be prepared to face a lot of scrutiny and negativity from family and friends, which could also be directed at your child.
You’d probably expect homeschooling to be a lot cheaper than traditional education as you don’t have to pay the school fees, but there are a lot of extra costs to consider.
You will still have to pay for your child’s exams, as well as absorb the cost of any textbooks, stationery, and computer software they may need.
Working from home you’ll be paying higher energy bills, and you won’t be able to earn a full-time income either.
On the plus side, many museums and other learning establishments offer discounts for homeschooling families so you can save money in some areas.
In light of all the facts, it is up to you to decide whether or not homeschooling is right for you. Weigh up the pros and cons and work out the best course of action for you and your child.