Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nine Disadvantages of Homeschooling

I've been homeschooling my kids for ten years now and I think I'm pretty well-versed in the positives and negatives of homeschooling as they impact our family. So let's look at a few of them. And I'm working hard to just list the "negative" and let it stand without explaining or offering positives to argue them...

1. The Duggars - I can not deny that families exist who give homeschooling a truly bad name. Some families DO truly shelter their kids. Some families DO hide various types of abusive dynamics. Some families don't educate their children well. We have to battle the stigma of these public few. Homeschooling has a public, albeit uninformed and stereotyped, bad rep. So, it's not really the Duggars, or any family in particular, but the public's willingness to buy into the bad rep that is generally portrayed about homeschoolers. 
Besides, public schools have their negative family experiences too...our society has a tendency to just lump that into the public school experience, give it a pass, and call it a day.
2. Socialization - I can't say that I had good "socialization" in public school, and my daughter was heartily dissatisfied with public schools now, but some people might find the socialization in homeschooling different than they expect it to be. Homeschoolers tend to find their friendships and socializing opportunities more deliberately. As there is not a ready-made, consistent group of kids that a classroom would provide (sometimes good experiences, sometimes bad in public/private/ other school settings) a homeschooler generally looks for friends. Most homeschoolers never have to deal with bullying. Some would consider that a problem... 
As it happens, the worst part of this one for us is that there are no friends in our neighborhood to play with. YES, there are kids. Sadly, they don't have the ability to play with NON-Christian friends. And that's a different blog post.
My experience with homeschool co ops is that the kids get together, get all socializing, and completely forget the parents are there because of their time with their own creativity, projects, and fun-having.
3. Cooperation - I know that my daughter was constantly trying to "please" her teachers on those rare forays into pubic school...that doesn't happen much at home.
4. Burn out and Parental Self-Doubt - This probably happens to all homeschooling parents at some point. Feeling frustrated, exhausted, doubtful, fearful, or overwhelmed can happen. I'm somewhat prone to this, so it happens to me every couple of years for a variety of reasons in the process. It may start happening slowly, but I only finally notice it when I talk to my friends, crying that I feel inadequate...  Eventually I do see the wonders that we are accomplishing and the rightness of homeschooling for our family. But while I am going through this, everyone in the fam is affected.
5. Finding good atheist Science Resources - Every secular parent that I know looks and looks for good secular science materials for their kids. Publishers really haven't come through on this one. In fact, all secular resources are pretty lacking.
I worked around this by realizing that the public library offers excellent books on every aspect of science. I also bought textbooks. And the offers amazing science!  😉
For the most part I have created our own science units and I think that they have been fantastic. Remember, there are amazing online resources you can tap into anytime.
6. Busy Schedules - I know, I know, public schoolers are very busy too. I'm just saying...there are times when just looking at my calendar can give me hives...
7. Our house can hit a seriously CHAOTIC state. We are here more often and for longer stretches than schooling kids, so our messes can get a bit...out of hand. This moment, as we prepare to move, I can't even adequately describe the disaster.  LOL
8. Algebra - not only do I not know Algebra, I see no need to know Algebra. (OK, I have to chime in here by saying that, in spite of my total abhorrence of all things math, my kids are exceptionally capable of learning math...)
Remember, one of the basic tenets of homeschooling is the idea of teaching our children to learn how to learn. My kids have both, with my help at times, taught themselves aspects of algebra and geometry. Additionally, online resources abound. Have you checked out Khan Academy to start?
9. The Derision of Others - To be honest, this is the worst one for me. The number of people who have no idea what they are talking about but who still feel qualified or passionate enough to denigrate homeschooling. So, not without its own irony, the uninformed are the worst of the mouthy naysayers.

So, that 's all I could come up with. I asked the kids what they view as negative about homeschooling and they couldn't come up with anything...
So.  There.
Could you come up 
with some disadvantages to homeschooling?
I found this pretty hard to do!  LOL 


  1. I have heard some people make a pretty passionate case for how over-controlling and stifling many kids' socialization is (in public school, private school, or homeschool) because it is so parent-controlled. This is more a middle class problem, critics say, than it is a homeschool problem.

    The critics say that parents should not know all of their kids' friends. Parents should not control their kids' contact with friends (by arranging play dates, say, and driving kids to and from activities with their friends). Instead, kids should be allowed to make their own friends, see their friends without adult supervision, and so forth.

    These critics often grew up in urban areas at a place and time when kids were allowed to leave the house or apartment on their own, unsupervised, and often ran around the neighborhood with packs of other kids. I have to admit that, although I see some good aspects of all that freedom, I wasn't AT ALL like the old-fashioned parent who "kicks the kids out of the house" right after breakfast and assumes they will be gone until just before dinner. I enjoyed their company too much, for one thing, but also, I would worry about their safety too much, I am probably just too darned middle class to allow that much freedom.

    Although I didn't wholly agree with this criticism, hearing it did give me some stuff to think about, and I ended up allowing a bit more freedom to my kids a bit earlier than I might have if I hadn't heard it.

    1) I thought I would supervise kids in mixed-age groups in parks more than I did, but during our homeschool meet-ups, the kids were often playing in streams, say, quite far from us adults. One time an older man told us that there had been mountain lion sightings right where our kids were, so we brought them closer to us...but mostly we allowed the kids to range around (in pairs and groups).
    2) I never thought I would let my teenagers run around a foreign country without adult supervision, but when our homeschool "field trip" group went to England and France, there were a few times when we let a group of teenagers go someplace by themselves. Once we were there, had seen the kids' quick mastery of the subway system, and had assessed the safety of the communities, it didn't seem like a problem. The kids rehearsed what to do if they got separated or lost, and we ended up giving them the freedom to go specific places at specific times...

    Anyway, I thought that criticism spoke to your item #2, at least peripherally...

    1. Yeah, Cathy, I know that "over controlling" is a common criticism aimed at homeschoolers. My sister accuses me of that one all of the time!!!!
      It's not true and all of the evidence to the negative don't convince a person who is determined to disapprove.

      Thanks so much for your posting thoughts!

  2. Howdy, I recently found your blog. I have been debating whether or not to homeschool my daughter. Shes incredibly bright and well behaved. I just haven't decided. I am going to homeschool her this year (preschool). I have doubts about sending her and doubts about homeschooling. Your list is something to think about especially the socialization thing. Thanks!

  3. Love the understatement of #3!

  4. OMG I spit tea on my computer!! I love #1 of your list because I cringe EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT NAME!

  5. #3 is definitely true. I know that some of the problems we have here would be cured if they were not at home- I know they wouldn't argue with a public school teacher like they do me.

    #5 is why I have to write all of my own science units

  6. The biggest disadvantage that I could come up with is teaching writing! Nearly every single FRUSTRATION that we run into here revolves around writing and KM's PTSD-like response, but really this is the fault of the school teachers that she had, if only I had saved her earlier!

  7. Nice site... Picked it up from the carnival. I love that in so many peoples eyes you must be walking contradiction (since so many think that religious fervor is a prereq for homeschooling) Keep up the good work. I teach Science so if you ever need any advise or resources for anything in particular let me know. Also Khan academy has lots of videos on solving Algebra.

  8. I think that one disadvantage would be financial. I would LOVE to step into your realm, but I am not sure financially how to make it work. Any suggestions?

    1. Yes, I DO have some suggestions.
      Give me a few days and I'll write a blog post just for you, Lou Lou.

  9. I WILL NOT tolerate slander of Algebra! LOL said the math nerd. Just finding your blog through the Secular Homeschool forum...I am sure I will be back. Good stuff so far!


    1. So happy to have you here! I will try very hard to NOT dis algebra...


  11. I have to write a speech 5 mins long on the disadvantages of home schooling, I am struggling with reasons and this site/blog has helped me so much. Any ideas for writing a speech

    1. I'm glad you are finding this blog post helpful.
      Does your speech have to be AGAINST homeschooling?
      Are you against it? I'm very open to your opinions.

      How to write a speech:
      Write a basic outline of each of the points mentioned above and other points that you have found in your research.

      You might also check out these links for more information on homeschooling:

      Good luck with your speech!

    2. Here's another link for you:

    3. And another:

      Too much? ;)


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