Monday, November 14, 2011

A Case Against Homeschooling, Really

against homeschool, considering homeschool, why we homeschool
The post that brings the most people to my blog site is called "The Case Against Homeschooling". 
Are these folks coming here looking for a case against homeschooling?
I'm happy to provide!

I'm not the slightest bit afraid to talk about those subjects that might expose the negatives of homeschooling.  Because, in spite of them, after all, it's always a choice.  Parents who send their children are choosing, alternative education options are choices, home schooling is a choice.  For goodness sake, parenting is rife with choices from morning until night!  Also, I have found, after nine years of homeschooling, that almost every single thing on the "con" list below, somehow becomes a "pro" of homeschooling!

I'm going to offer this little expose' in honor of all of those children and families who are about to begin and who want the total, unhidden, balanced truth.

This is my writing and I offer it as such, my story.
  • We live in a neighborhood with elderly neighbors, most of whom have lived in the same home since having it built forty years ago.  We have no children in our neighborhood except for the unkind kid who verbally attacks John every time they get together.  The other kid is the drinker, smoker down the street.  We care about this boy alot, but the kids don't want to hang out with him.  This means that we are ALONE.  We don't have a single neighborhood friend to play with.  While this isn't, specifically, a homeschool issue, it does effect our homeschooling experience.  Unless we leave the house and drive we don't get to hang out with kids daily.  I mention this one first because we've all been sick lately and are, quite honestly, needing to get out!
  • The kids don't see other kids every day.  We see them often, maybe 2-3 times per week, on average.  Much more some weeks, less others.  This is not "socialization", this is "socializing".
  • Our house is a mess.  We are here far more than most families.  Messes multiply around here.  We have more books and games and stuff than we need.  Mostly books.  Activities are spread all over my house as I type.  Several people are involved in several different activities that require space and time.
  • Homeschooling takes time.  Your time.  As the mother and major homeschooling parent in the house, I spend a great deal of time on planning, researching, and more planning.  It takes organization and a great computer.  There is no way around the need for planning.   Being a homeschool parent requires constant footwork to find what’s available in the community. Knowing how to get information on your own, knowing how to access people who can answer your questions, and knowing how to communicate well are essentials skills of being a homeschooling parent. Being resourceful is essential.
  •  Can you support your child as they are?  They will be with you 24/7.  Can you honestly embrace the person that they truly are?  Homeschooling is like putting every problem into a pan and boiling it down.  Soon the problems are all that you can see...unless you find a way to commit yourself the the children that you have.  You have to accept them so that they can accept themselves and move successfully into life.
  • I don't know everything about every subject.  Again, planning, researching, planning.  Time well spent, but time, nonetheless.
  • Not everyone approves.  Can you remain dedicated to a lifestyle that often takes hits from family and friends and media?   People will disapprove without having the slightest understanding of it.  It is a lifestyle choice that people feel the need to give their two cents on.  Overall, people are very supportive and admire us.  But there are those folks who can't accept it.
  • Some learning objectives work best in group environments.  Homeschool groups and co ops are useful for many different types of these objectives, but there is still organization and planning involved.
  •  Did I mention cost?  Some homeschool families spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on materials and optional experiences.  This type of cash outlay is not necessary.  I know very frugal families who homeschool extremely successfully.  But, as we all know, some great activities cost money.
  • When the kids are unwilling to work, this shows itself in many different ways, little gets done.  Lessons require a certain amount of willingness on the part of the child.  If your child is less-than-motivated, it's not much fun.
  • Homeschooling parents have less free time or child-free time.  Privacy?  I get some, but I have to create it.  It's all about balance.  As a homeschooling parent, you will have to figure this one out.  Not just so you don't lose your mind, but so you can be a whole and healthy person!
  • Homeschooling through high school requires some more...YEP, research and organization and creativity.  People homeschool through high school every day, including my daughter!  It works.
  •  Homeschool families can be marginalized, demonized, and, generally, be treated oddly.  Living "outside of the box" is an honest expectation for families who choose this lifestyle.  Homeschooling parents learn to cheerlead whenever the need arises.  It's unfair, but there you are.
  • For some parents, the doubt comes and goes, but never really disappears.  It's the nature of the individual that matters.  I know of several parents who are constantly on edge about homeschooling while other parents I know are the freaking paragons of placidity!  Homeschooler's angst is like having the world's worst friend in your own head!
  • There are no overseeing bodies to reprimand, guide, or support you.  So, you are, truly, on your own.  This can freak some folks out.  For others, it is a comfort.  I love it, but as first I was frightened.  Having other homeschoolers to talk with made all of the difference.
  •  Accepting the fact that children learn at different levels and different speeds.  They actually do.  Even when they are in school.  But it's more obvious in homeschooling.
  •  And, it is up to YOU, to your family, what gets into their lives.  Talk about a panic sandwich with guilt on top.  Very often you are going where there are no roads.  Get ready to steam your way down a path of your own construction. homeschooling.

That's my honest list AGAINST.  Being a parent means being constantly on the look out for the best thing for your child.  I hope this list helps.  I hope you realize that this list is intended to let you know, up front, some of what you will have on your place if you homeschool.  I hope the list doesn't turn you off...just be more informed! 

What About Socialization?  
Nope, I don't think that's a problem.  
Honestly.  When we get with kids, we experience the exact same things every group of kids does.  
The kids learn sharing, what a bully looks like, conflict resolution, etc. and the kids are just...normal.

Have I missed anything?
What "negs" would you add to this list?


  1. Love this! With the move kiddo is doing better with BF is very supportive and a great teacher! Once I finally get unpacked fully and find the main book I was to base on I will be much more organized. However, it is amazing how we have been able to turn a set of geography fact cards into a geography, English, grammar and spelling lesson all in one. We can also add math to that soon. Some days we wish we could hide, some days are painfully hard, but when he "gets it" it is amazing to know you are the one that got him there. Good Job Karen!

  2. We are odd period. We make no excuses and shouldn't have to. We are outdoors people, armchair naturalists, artists, and we are nerds--and proud of it.

    I don't have it in me, to watch the ps school system beat that, and every ounce of compassion out of my kids an inch at a time while forcing them to comform to a society, that to me is highly dysfunction. {America is having a bad hair century--there I said it}.

    We are probably not nearly as organized as you are, but we get our work done. I am more interested in the quality of their education rather than forcing them to move up in grades just to keep moving along. That means when concepts are not grasped immediately, we have the time and space to revisit them from different perspectives, til they stick. And what a wonderful concept that is.

    We don't have kids to play with either. I don't have other grown ups to play with. It is due to several issues, but the main one seems that it is because we are not sedentary and we do not attend church/ are secular homeschoolers.

    I don't care for that part, but I seriously doubt it would be that different in PS setting. We wouldn't go to church with those people, we would still be secular, and still be active in things that do not revolve around organized sports. We would still be nerds too.

    So we cut the torture out and opted for embracing the lives we were meant to have. Rather than forcing ourselves to embrace someone else's twisted ideal.

    That's how I see it.

  3. I should have put my glasses on before I started typing.

    :C getting old sucks.

    I meant dysfunctional. There are probably other typos. oops!

  4. Thank you both for your words. We have decided to go this secular homeschooling route when the time comes for our now 4 year old son. We have also decided after 18 years of marriage and me at the ripe old age of 37, to have another child. My husband will homeschool both children. I am scared, I am thrilled, I am thankful for others who have made this journey before me and will undoubtedly serve as my guides in the future.

  5. THANK YOU lou lou and jph! I hope to hear from you again soon!

  6. There are a lot of different ways to homeschool and a lot of different options which might or might not work for some people. There are also a range or reasons why people do it. It's grown in popularity in the US due to the massive deterioration in public schools. Not sure what it's like in Australia.

    1. Of course, you are absolutely right!!!!
      Thanks for dropping by!


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