Pros and Cons of Home Schooling

Pros–Benefits of Homeschooling

  • 1.Spend more time together as a family.
  • 2.Spend more time with children when they are rested and fresh rather than tired and cranky from school.
  • 3.Superior academic achievement through individual tutoring.
  • 4.Parents can ensure that their children master the subjects.
  • 5.Children can be daily instructed and vitally involved in the realities and responsibilities of life in the everyday real world context of the home, the community, the workplace and the marketplace.
  • 6.The world is the classroom.
  • 7.Tutoring provides vast amounts of individual attention.
  • 8.Curriculum can be tailor made to suit child’s interests, learning style, aptitudes, special needs, etc.
  • 9.Quieter, more secure, loving and committed environment of home builds stronger foundation for child’s security.
  • 10.Builds stronger family ties as everyone is involved in a 24-hour-a-day project of great importance and vast implications.
  • 11.Parents feel more fulfilled in themselves, and are continually challenged to a higher standard of excellence. Their own potentials are more fully developed.
  • 12.Parents are most committed to the child’s success. No one else will spend the blood, sweat, toil, tears, time and money parents routinely invest in their own children.
  • 13.Children receive superior socialisation through the parents’ positive role models and consistent training. Parents’ standards are not constantly contradicted as can happen in the classroom and on the playground.
  • 14.The child’s learning, rather than the teacher’s teaching, is the focus of the whole exercise.
  • 15.The child’s education will not conflict with or contradict the philosophy and world view of the parents and/or the family’s church.
  • 16.Homeschooled children generally demand a higher standard of excellence in radio and TV programming, theatre, the arts, books, magazines, movies, etc. As more and more such individuals abound, they will not only create a market for better goods in these areas, but may also signal the demise of the NZ porn and sleeze merchants for lack of patronage.
  • 17.Independent, individual, original thinkers, as homeschoolers tend to be, may develop into NZ’s own Shakespeares, Einsteins and Beethovens. Consider the South Island’s own C.W.F. Hamilton, the inventor of the jet boat and revolutionary earthmoving equipment. He declared that his two years in school interrupted his education.
  • 18.Independent homeschooling is a must if we are to preserve our civil liberties from the totalitarian tendencies of the social welfare state. As the Presbyterian scholar of Princeton and Westminster Theological Seminaries, Professor J. Gresham Machen, warned way back in 1926, “If liberty is not maintained with regard to education, there is no use trying to maintain it in any other sphere. If you give the bureaucrats the children you might just as well give them everything else.”
  • 19.Children and parents are able to form deeper friendships and more intimate relationships with each other….the family unit is thereby drawn closer together and strengthened.
  • 20.Children learn respect for their parents as teachers in all areas of life. They will look to their parents and to those adults whom the parents respect for advice and guidance rather than to whatever teachers, social workers, and peers happen to be immediately available. The Generation Gap is closed.
  • 21.Your child is removed from a peer-dominated environment in which he or she is exposed to countless potential failure situations, damaging both self esteem and love of learning.
  • 22.The parents’ commitment to and intimate knowledge of the child, the individualised attention, the increased flexibility to even follow the child’s individual preferences in study and the parents’ enthusiasm and excitement about learning themselves will more than make up for any perceived lack of a paper teaching qualification.
  • 23.Avoid having to struggle to get children to do the tedious busy work that is so often sent home as homework.
  • 24.Allow children time to learn subjects not usually taught in their school.
  • 25.Allow children to have time for more in-depth study than what is allowed in school.
  • 26.Allow children to learn at their own pace, not too slow or too fast.
    Allow children to work at a level that is appropriate to their own developmental stage. Skills and concepts can be introduced at the right time for that child.
  • 27.Provide long, uninterrupted blocks of time for writing, reading, playing, thinking, or working so that the child is able to engage in sophisticated, complex activities and thought processes.
  • 28.Encourage concentration and focus – which are discouraged in crowded classrooms with too many distractions.
  • 29.Encourage the child to develop the ability to pace her/himself – this is prevented in a classroom where the schedule is designed to keep every child busy all the time.
  • 30.Spend a lot of time out-of-doors. This is more healthy than spending most weekdays indoors in a crowded, and often over heated, classroom.
  • 31.Spending more time out-of-doors results in feeling more in touch with the changing of the seasons and with the small and often overlooked miracles of nature.
  • 32.Children learn to help more with household chores, developing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • 33.Children learn life skills, such as cooking, in a natural way, by spending time with adults who are engaged in those activities.
  • 34.More time spent on household responsibilities strengthens family bonds because people become more committed to things they have invested in (in this case, by working for the family).
  • 35.Time is available for more non-academic pursuits such as art or music. This leads to a richer, happier life.
  • 36.Children will not feel like passive recipients of subject matter selected by their teachers. They will learn to design their own education and take responsibility for it.
  • 37.Children will realize that learning can take place in a large variety of ways.
  • 38.Children will learn to seek out assistance from many alternative sources, rather than relying on a classroom teacher to provide all the answers.
  • 39.A more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle is possible when families do not feel the necessity to supplement school during after-school and week-end hours.
  • 40.Busy work can be avoided.
  • 41.Children will avoid being forced to work in “co-operative learning groups” which include children who have very unco-operative attitudes.
  • 42.Children can learn to work for internal satisfaction rather than for external rewards.
  • 43.Children will not be motivated to “take the easy way out” by doing just enough work to satisfy their teacher. They will learn to be their own judge of the quality of their own work.
  • 44.Children will be more willing to take risks and be creative since they do not have to worry about being embarrassed in front of peers.
  • 45.Children will be more confident since they are not subject to constant fear of criticism from teachers.
  • 46.Peer pressure will be reduced. There will be less pressure to grow up as quickly in terms of clothing styles, music, language, interest in the opposite sex.
  • 47.Social interactions will be by choice and based on common interests.
  • 48.Friends can be more varied, not just with the child’s chronological age peer group who happen to go to the same school.
  • 49.Field trips can be taken on a much more frequent basis.
  • 50.Field trips can be much more enjoyable and more productive when not done with a large school group which usually involves moving too quickly and dealing with too many distractions.
  • 51.Field trips can be directly tied into the child’s own curriculum.
  • 52.Volunteer service activities can be included in the family’s regular schedule. Community service can be of tremendous importance in a child’s development and can be a great learning experience.
  • 53.Scheduling can be flexible, allowing travel during less expensive and less crowded off-peak times. This can allow for more travel than otherwise, which is a wonderful learning experience.
  • 54.Children will be less likely to compare their own knowledge or intelligence with other children and will be less likely to become either conceited or feel inferior.
  • 55.Religious and special family days can be planned and celebrated.
  • 56.More time will be spent with people (friends and family) who really love and care about the children. Children will bond more with siblings and parents since they will spend more time together playing, working, and helping each other.
  • 57.Feedback on children’s work will be immediate and appropriate. They won’t have to wait for a teacher to grade and return their work later to find out if they understood it.
  • 58.Feedback can be much more useful than just marking answers incorrect or giving grades.
  • 59.Testing is optional. Time doesn’t have to be spent on testing or preparing for testing unless the parent and/or child desires it.
  • 60.Observation and discussion are ongoing at home and additional assessment methods are often redundant. Testing, if used, is best used to indicate areas for further work.
  • 61.Grading is usually unnecessary and learning is seen as motivating in and of itself. Understanding and knowledge are the rewards for studying, rather than grades (or stickers, or teacher’s approval, etc.).
  • 62.Children can be consistently guided in a family’s values and can learn them by seeing and participating in parents’ daily lives.
  • 63.Children will learn to devote their energy and time to activities that THEY think are worthwhile.
  • 64.Children will be able to learn about their ethnicities in a manner that will not demean. Children will be able to understand multiculturalism in its true sense and not from the pseudo-multicultural materials presented in schools which tend to depict others from a dominant culture perspective.
  • 65.Children will not learn to “fit into society,” but will, instead, value morality and love more than status and money.
  • 66.Children do not have to wait until they are grown to begin to seriously explore their passions; they can start living now.
  • 67.Children’s education can be more complete than what schools offer.
  • 68.Children who are “different” in any way can avoid being subjected to the constant and merciless teasing, taunting, and bullying which so often occurs in school.
  • 69.Children with special needs will be encouraged to reach their full potential and not be limited by the use of “cookie cutter” educational methods used in schools.
  • 70.Low standards or expectations of school personnel will not influence or limit children’s ability to learn and excel.
  • 71.Children will be safer from gangs, drugs, and guns.
  • 72.Parents will decide what is important for the children to learn, rather than a government bureaucracy.
  • 73.Family will not be forced to work within school’s traditional hours if it does not fit well with their job schedules and sleep needs.

Cons–Drawbacks of Conventional Schooling

  • 1. Political motivation of curricula content.
  • 2.Susceptibility to radical philosophical overtones of pressure groups: relativism, feminism, mysticism, socialism, the worst of the Family Planning Association, homosexual activism.
  • 3.Bright children often bored and unchallenged.
  • 4.Slow, SPELD or handicapped children often left behind or under-attended.
  • 5.Many children subjected to bullying, teasing, victimisation, manipulation and the many negative aspects of peer pressure.
  • 6.The peer pressure often leads to peer dependency wherein a child will look to his peers for acceptance, standards, morals and guidance.
  • 7.Danger from dense traffic, kidnappers and perverts while travelling to and from school.
  • 8.Exposure to unhealthy, unrighteous and immoral lifestyles as well as infectious diseases, epidemics, head lice, etc.
  • 9.Some children suffer the insecurity of psychological rejection at being sent away from home by parents who often unwittingly give the children the impression they are glad to have the children off their hands.
  • 10.Because the children are away from home for most of the day, Mum or Dad may both tend to focus their attention and look for personal fulfillment outside of the family.
  • 11.Children often develop a split personality in order to deal with one set of authority, values and standards at school and a completely different set at home.
  • 12.The instruction tends to be like mass treatment of children on the classroom dosing strip. No time for individualised tuition.
  • 13.Classroom environment is artificial and contrived and shelters children from the reality of everyday life in the home, the community and the workplace/marketplace. The classroom is also often overcrowded, too cluttered, too noisy and unruly.
  • 14.Necessary academic subjects are skimmed over for lack of time. Unnecessary and sometimes controversial subjects are shoehorned into the programme wasting precious time.
  • 15.There is the added costs of fees, uniforms, committee meetings, transportation. There are hassles with timetables, personality conflicts with teachers, administrators, other parents. There is worry about the competency of some teachers, the influence of certain other students, and rumours of unsavoury “goings on” at school.

Cons–Drawbacks to Homeschooling

  • 1.There may be fewer opportunities for playing team sports.
  • 2.The house begins to resemble a research station rather than an immaculate showhome.
  • 3.Research and learning opportunities begin to spring up in your mind and can even dominate all other activities.
  • 4.There may be hassles in transferring back into the school system. Because you have been studying along a different stream, and even though your child may know a lot more about a lot more subjects, because he hasn’t done “Insects” and “Trains” as did his school peers, your child may be thought of as “behind” and the teachers will complain about having to spend extra time bringing your child up to speed.
  • 5.Parents may find they have less free time to themselves.
  • 6.Homeschooled students tend to miss out on the trendy and experimental educational philosophies and methodologies instigated by the MoE from time to time. They also tend to miss out on those units which are “pushed” into schools by government policies, special interest lobby groups, trustee boards, headmasters and even individual teachers.
  • 7.Homeschooled students may lack the stimulation which academic competition can provide.
  • 8.Homeschoolers tend to be less knowledgeable and sophisticated in the areas of swearing, dirty joke telling, finger signs, alcohol and drug abuse, illicit sexual activity and gang dynamics.
  • 9.Parents may face some opposition from relatives, friends, neighbours and school personnel.

12 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Home Schooling

  1. Wow…. I am currently faced with the decision to push my 7yr old back to the slow return to “integrate” into mainstream schooling, or, follow my gut instinct as a Mum, who knows her son best, and homeschool him.
    I can not thankyou enough for your excellent pros and cons.
    My decision is now easy…. I have a boy who is thriving at home, and as a family we see the biggest difference in him.
    Homeschooling gets the two thumbs up.

  2. my boys mum wants to unschool, i am not totally against the idea. i believe that there are always pros and cons with any system.
    all the research i have been doing brings me to two main cons with unschooling, they are team sports and socail interaction.
    i know this is also improving with alot more community “get togethers”
    however, i would really like to talk with adults who have been unschooled or homeschooled.
    if anybody could help in any way would be much appriciated as the next few steps we take with our beautiful wee fella will be very important.

  3. I am a homeschool graduate with children of my own. My parents didn’t follow a strict curriculum and we fell somewhere towards the homeschooling end of the spectrum rather than the unschooling end. With socialisation, it is not too difficult to join support groups, library groups, and other community groups although it does take a lot of effort, travel, and time. Some parents struggle with that more than others. I didn’t play sports bit many schools particularly I think in smaller areas are happy to consider taking on homeschoolers to top up their teams. Ask around.
    One other “con” I would add is thinking towards bridging unschooling to university or employment. If the child is hoping towards a pre-apprenticeship course, he is not likely to have many difficulties getting in so long as basic numeracy and literacy have been learned. If however he is tending towards a university degree I would suggest having a formal curriculum for the high school years at least. Sorry, I’m not sure how old the child is and how long you are thinking ahead at this stage. I have an unqualified desk job and was fortunate enough to work my way up from offfice junior but those roles are not as easily available as they once were. Assisting in community groups for working bees can also be beneficial in obtaining references for job-hunting.
    The best advice I ever had for schooling/homeschooling was to review it on a regular basis, say once a year, as people are unique and circumstances can change.

  4. Chris, I was home educated and I can honestly say I never missed out on social interaction or team activities at all. There are opportunities EVERYWHERE for social interaction, with other home educators or with school students. We were never interested in the sports opportunities that came up, as our team interest was music, and as young adults we continue to be a part of local ensembles, performing in concerts and competing. There was simply no trouble accessing these opportunities.

    Unschooling or home educating gives your children WAY more time for these extracurricular activities or social interaction, whenever you’d like them to take part. Your options are limited only by your imagination. For one example, my sisters and I got together with some friends to make a short film from an Agatha Christie novel a few years ago, which required us to work together under significant pressure as a team. At the age of 14, one of my brothers was starting his own web design business, which required him to negotiate with local businesses.

    As someone who was home educated, I can tell you that home education and unschooling are about living a normal life in the REAL world, around REAL people, and doing what we wanted in that context. It’s a much more mature and responsible position, and I’m so glad to have had the benefit of it.

  5. Hi Chris

    My children were brought up watching their father playing soccer each weekend. I guess because they were around it so much they couldn’t wait to join a team.
    Then again team sports don’t suit every child and yours might prefer something like swimming or tennis where they train as a group but compete as an individual. The cons with organised sport in particular team sports is that you are then tied in for months on end being at practise once a week and the game every Saturday morning.

    We have unschooling friends who choose not to do team sports but instead do skiing. Not that expensive if you buy an early bird season tickets. If it something you might be interested in doing getting second hand skis at the end of the season for the next year is one way of saving money. That then reduces your biggest expenses, lift passes and hiring skis.

    Socialisation is actually a reason *not* to send your children to school in my opinion. Putting a big group of children together the same age and expecting them to have the skills to play nicely is like getting the blind to lead the blind.

    My husband and I as parents model the behaviour we want our children to learn. We believe socialisation is learning how to be a part of society. How do you behave when you are out. We have been taking them to restaurants, cafes since they were born with no issues of them being too loud running around or deliberately being messy.

    I chose homeschooling before I knew about unschooling and made the effort even when they were young to find a group where they could play with children of all age groups. They don’t understand when we visit their older cousins and their cousins would rather go play with their friends than with my children. My children don’t seem to care about age as much as what some schooled children seem to.

    I guess the difference isn’t if children go to school or not but do the children have any say in going to school or staying home. Mine are happy at home not having someone else telling them what they are allowed to do and when to stop an activity. Believe or not some unschooling families actually have children who go to school.

    Just remember unschooling does not equal hands off do nothing parents, it takes lots of energy staying plugged into your childrens lives and making sure everyone in the family has their needs met.

  6. What sports does your wee fella want to play ? Its been my experience that most sports clubs have nipper, age group and junior divisions. Usually the only criteria is to pay the appropriate fees and turn up .. Our local boat club offers 2 week learn to sail lessons all ages both in and out of school time. Check out local museums, zoo’s (in wellington they run a junior zoo keeper programme – cool) .. Local swimming pools offer lessons, wave raves and squad training . If you want to venture into the arts – there are music lessons, language lessons, choirs, photography clubs and so on .. My daughter loves the airport – we are regulars there .. LOL .. Following your sons interests will mean you will meet and talk to people (in real life, on skype, in internet forums, at the market, at a club, playing sport) all of these are fantastic, fun, interesting social interactions. Good luck dad *excited dance*

  7. We are also planning to unschool when my eldest turns 5 at the end of the year. From what I have learned from talking with other home schoolers and reading blogs, the social question is not a worry at all. However we are not living in our home city and don’t have social networks or family, so I have been making a big effort to get involved in the community to make it easier for my kids to make friends. We go to Playcentre, which has been excellent for making friends. Most areas have homeschool support groups. We went to the South Island Unschool camp this year, which was brilliant and we can’t wait to go to the next one. We also go to various coffee groups to meet like-minded people and we get involved with community projects such as through the Environment Centre. We go to workshops, working bees, volunteering. Basically, I think if the parents have a full, active life that the kids can be part of, then they have plenty of social opportunities. And having solitary time is good for everyone too… good for kids to have a chance to direct their own time.
    As for sports, regional sports associations have great holiday programmes that anyone can attend… it’s a good chance to try out different sports. And anyone can join a club.

  8. Chris, our older children played in sports teams all through their home education. They played representative softball for the Manawatu. One son was on three teams one year- under 19, under 17 and under 15. They have also played soccor for clubs. One daughter did a lot of Highland Dancing.

    Our younger children are into music more and have played in the Youth orchestra here in Palmerston North.

    The Manawatu Home Educators, and also most other Home Education Support groups, have plenty of opportunity to get involved in sports, athletics and music along with heaps of field trips etc.

    There were two fantastic unschooling camps this year – one in the North Island and one in the South Island – I believe that they are both going to be yearly from now on.

  9. There are plenty of sports teams that operate in the aftanoons/evenings or weekends so being homeschooled isnt relevant.sum schools even welcome homeschoolers into sports teams if they cant make up numbers.our 6 year old has done athletics,cricket and has signed up for hockey nxt term.gymnastics and swimin are other great options and they are mixing with other kids as they play.our unschooln group meets weekly and sumone is always throwing a ball round,playing rounders,tiggy,cricket,badminton etc.also take advantage of other neighbourhood kids.our son plays with neighbours in the afternoons,biking,playing touch and other games.

  10. chris child, my teenager has just last year gone back to school now at high school after 4 years of home ed/unschooling shes now top of almost all her classes and has thanked me saying it was the one on one the freedom to learn out of her own desire and about things she loves is now setting her up well in subjects like science and agriculture which she is aceing! shes not happy i have her back at school and her younger sister is homeschooled now lol if your kids have the hunger to learn and natural curiosity all they need is guidence although i did use some “formal ” homeschooling with her as well but that was her choice and shes now using the holidays as a chance to homeschool again 🙂 not bad at 13 i was doing far worse! good luck

  11. oh didnt add the social factor took care of itself with hobbies friends kids and her own friends its really something else that comes naturally esp if they play sport etc

  12. From Patricia Byers
    “We home schooled. We kept our children involved socially with involvement in a home school group locally, 4’H club membership, and church youth groups. All were very helpful, in fact, the 4’H group enabled my 3 girls to travel to several different state events. They are all college grads now and one is a Dr. They also served as teachers to their younger brother, and had him reading before the age of three, and consequently, also home schooled, and college grad.”

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