Today I want to focus and share some insight on a topic that I receive SO many emails, personal messages, comments and questions on, and that is the pros and cons of homeschooling. Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular each year with a growth rate of about 7 – 15 percent. Homeschool children do exceptionally well on standardized tests, are welcomed at colleges and universities, and as adults, have a reputation for being self-directed learners, humanitarians, philanthropists, community activists and reliable employees, as well as accomplished business owners and huge participants in community service and philanthropy. The demographics of homeschooling are quickly changing, as Black Americans are becoming one of the fastest growing segments of the US population that is deciding to teach their own. Of course, there are many reasons parents decide to homeschool, and many are similar and some have additional reasons. For us, we wanted to ensure that our children received lessons of morals, high levels of critical thinking, lessons in history that educate beyond slavery and the likes, as there’s so much to Black and African History that is simply not covered in many schools today. As well as the removal of many of the music and arts in non private schools. Another reason for us, we felt that the school system has an overtone of assimilation, teaching in manners where they feel everyone learns the same and that’s simply not accurate. With homeschooling, we get to see how each one of our children are different and how well they learn in their own manner.
Again, these are some of the pros and cons we have considered being that my husband and I have homeschooled our 4 little ones for a few years now. As always, I hope this list is helpful so you can make informed decisions best for you and your family.
EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM and PERSONALIZED LEARNING
Most homeschooled students have the choice to study and learn what they want, when they want, for as long as they want. This is not to say that all the basics (and more!) aren't covered. But those basics may be covered at age six for one child, and at age ten for another, depending on ability, maturity, and interest levels.
After the initial shock of leaving the school system has passed, parents who homeschool say they experience a real sense of freedom. With their lives no longer revolving around school hours, homework, and the school calendar, these families plan off-season vacations, visit parks and museums during the week, and live their lives according to what works for them.
As parents, we all understand that our children will be exposed to other children. And with that comes peer pressure. Sadly, peer pressure, competition, boredom, and bullies — are all part of a typical school day. This can be a particular problem for girls. According to studies, self-esteem plummets in middle-school girls. However, similar studies of homeschooled girls have shown that self-esteem remains intact and that these girls continue to thrive. (ReadA Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls by Susannah Sheffer.) Homeschooled kids can dress and act and think the way they want, without fear of ridicule or a need to "fit in." They live in the real world, where lives aren't dictated by adolescent trends and dangerous experimentation.
Many families feel their religious and spiritual beliefs are an important part of who they are. Homeschooling provides the opportunity for parents to incorporate their beliefs into their daily lives.
CLOSER FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Just about every family stressed the important role that homeschooling played in helping them find time to foster loving ties between all family members. Teens seem to benefit enormously from this interaction, and rebellious, destructive behavior often begins to diminish soon after homeschooling begins.
WELL RESTED CHILDREN
As more and more studies are illustrating, sleep is vital to the emotional and physical well-being of kids,especially teens and preteens. The effects of early morning classes can be devastating to many children, especially those who are not morning people. What we've found is that our kids are definitely more alert being allowed to sleep in a bit longer in the morning.
FLEXIBILITY WITH CURRICULUM
With flexibility of curriculum comes flexibility of time and vacation. You have more freedom over choosing vacation times, whether planned or spontaneous. Families can go on vacation when it’s less expensive because you don’t have to worry about interrupting school time and important school dates. Another great thing we've found is that being entrepreneurs, we are able to have lessons throughout the day, not only at scheduled times. So, we set a time of day that works for our family and that may vary from day to day. And..don't forget to take field trips!! These are the icing on the chocolate cupcake. Field trips are great for you to have a small break and for the kids to interact with other children. Each Wednesday, we have family field trip day and take the kids to various kid friendly places, such as The Creative Discovery, The Tennessee Aquarium, Kid Zone (rock climbing), The Public Library, Jump Park, Hiking Trails, Parks, Lakes, etc. And be sure to save by getting a year membership (that's the best option for a family of 6 like ours). And, many of these places offer homeschool courses, such as ecology and STEM courses, so be sure to check with your local kid friendly places.
SOLID SENSE OF IDENTITY
It's amazing how much our kids identify with who they are. They are allowed respectable free expression without feelings of hindrance or shame..or the feelings of wanting to belong or fit in.
Some parents may run into the issue of not being as advanced on a particular subject, especially during high school years. The benefit is there are a plethora of programs, videos (especially YouTube) and other homeschooling parents there to help. If possible, get with another parent who may be advanced in a particular subject and speak with them on a community homeschool environment. Also, many colleges and universities offer specific courses as well. And there are some kid friendly places that offer courses for homeschool children, for example, art museums, zoos, etc. (mention TN Aquarium offers homeschool course on marine ecology). You can opt to connect with other homeschooling parents and/or families.
There's no way around it: learning outside of a school environment can consume a lot of mom or dad's time. Most folks visualize that time being spent at the kitchen table with textbooks and worksheets, but for most families, that's not the case. My family has never gone that route, choosing hands-on experiences and interesting activities as learning tools, instead. However, planning, driving to, and participating in those activities (or waiting for them to be over) constitute the bulk of my day. And that can be very draining.
SACRIFICIAL FINANCIAL RESTRAINT
For married parents, one partner often foregoes full-time employment out of the home in order to homeschool. This can be a big sacrifice for families who are struggling to balance their budget. Surprisingly, most homeschooling families believe that the brief loss of income is well worth the satisfaction of watching their kids grow and learn in freedom. What we've found is that operating our business in a manner that helps us in not becoming so overwhelmed with day to day business has truly worked in our favor. And, if you are fellow entrepreneurs like my husband and I, it's great to look into hiring help for the busy times with your business.
WITH THE KIDS PRETTY MUCH ALL DAY
There's no denying it — if you choose to homeschool, you're going to be with your kids most of the time. If you don't enjoy being together, then homeschooling is not for you. While it can sometimes be difficult, most homeschool parents view their daily interactions with their kids — the ups as well as the downs — as opportunities for personal and familial growth. With us operating a business, we also take the opportunity to bring the kids to our boutique to help with packaging or learn little insights about the business.
MAY BE VIEWED AS LIVING OUTSIDE OF THE NORM
Like any activity that challenges mainstream thinking, homeschooling may be seen as an oddity at best, or even as a threat to those who are unable to accept ordinary parents succeeding where trained professionals often fail. My family has developed a bit of a tough exterior over the years, but cynical comments and criticisms still filter in occasionally (it's pretty rare though). If you are unable to live "outside of the box," then homeschooling is not for you.
SOME APPS WE LOVE:
Stack the States (great for learning geography)
Stack the Countries (great for learning geography)
Pet Bingo (awesome math app)
Panda Preschool Activities
Kids Shapes and Colors
Toddler Preschool Activities
Amazing Alex (great enegineering app)
Nick Jr Draw & Play
Squeebles Times Tables
Squeebles Spelling Tes
Multiplication Table Kids
OMG I can Meditate (amazing meditation app)
and many more but these are some of our favorites!
SOME WEBSITES WE LOVE
Youtube (great for teaching subjects such as algebra, calculus, multiplication, how to write essays, etc)
and many more!
TAKE A MOMENT TO VIEW SOME OF OUR HOMESCHOOL FAMILY FUN!