Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Very Damaging List Against Homeschooling

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.  

For goodness sake, parenting is rife with choices from morning until night!  How to educate, feed, raise, discipline, guide, let go of, hold on to.  ...Decisions all over the place that each parent must make somehow. As for the negatives below, I have found, after twelve years of homeschooling, that almost every single thing on the con list below, somehow becomes a pro of homeschooling at some point!

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 (isn't that boy nicely socialized?) and the other kid down the street who is the drinker and smoker. We care about this second boy boy alot, but the kids don't want to hang out with him much; sometimes they still do. 

    But my point is that 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 because, unless we leave the house and drive, we don't get to hang out with kids daily.
  • 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. However, this is not socialization, this is socializing. When we do get together with friends the time spent together is very in-depth and meaningful, usually.

    As for socialization, my daughter is in her first year as a dually-enrolled homeschooler at the local community college and her instructors have all commented on how mature and dedicated of a student she is AND she has made some fun friends quite easily. Today, TODAY she asked a guy for his phone number and he gave it to her.  ;)
  • Our house is a mess. We are here in our home 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. So it's messy, but busy.
  • Homeschooling takes time. Your time, parental 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  footwork to find what’s available in the community, figuring out how to get information on your own, knowing how to access people who can answer your questions, and knowing how to communicate well. These are 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.

    For many parents, this is the exact reason why they do homeschool, so that their children can experience acceptance and encouragement for who they truly are.
  • I don't know everything about every subject. Again, planning, researching, planning. Time well spent, but time, nonetheless.

    AND my kids can do math in spite of me.
  • 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. With a little initiative your kids can and will have some of the most wonderfully meaningful group experiences ever.
  •  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. Just like if they were in school.
  • 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. Parents always need to figure this one out no matter how their children are educated!
  • 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 cheer lead whenever the need arises. At some point this outside of the box experience will become a point of pride...once you can let go of needing approval from those around you.
  • 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 can be like having the world's worst friend in your own head!

    I'm pretty sure that this is more a personality issue than a homeschool one, specifically. But I mention it because our own personalities are very much a part of our family lifestyle.
  • 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. It took me about a year to truly appreciate this part of homeschooling; having other homeschoolers to talk with made all of the difference. Now this is one of my favorite things about homeschooling, knowing that our decisions are our own and that our children are being educated with sense and reason rather than the fear that school standards reflect.
  •  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. Believe me, you will be empowered!

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, 
popularity, peer pressure, etc. 
and the kids are just...normal.

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

This post is an encore post
and, as it happens, not very damaging at all!


  1. My biggest critic is my boss who is 95 years old. He cannot understand that things have changed at school. He said his children were advanced up in grades and the schools were excellent. Well, that was 60 plus years ago! My children are held back because they teach to the lowest people in the class to try and bring up MAP testing. At home, they can advance as fast as they choose. They also have time to pursue other interests. Thanks for putting this together!

    1. I know this post is over a year old but I just have to say your comment about teachers teaching to the lowest in the class is spot on! My son is only 5 so he's in primary (we're in Nova Scotia, Canada so that's what we call kindergarten) but in reading, math and science he is already grades ahead of the others in his class. It's very frustrating for him and us but he loves the social aspect of school so my husband and I said we would give it a year and reassess then. As of right now though we're treating school as a social activity and are basically (in an unstructured way) homeschooling him at the levels he is currently at for the subjects he is interested in.

  2. This is a very accurate list. I'm constantly startled by the number of people (moms) who tell me they "could never homeschool." I think I'll bring this list and ask them to pick out the reasons they feel this way, instead of just thinking "yeah, yeah."

  3. That seems to be right on target. Yet, despite the challenges with homeschooling, I would - without question - continue on this path. The "negatives" are far outweighed by so many positives we gain in the process.

  4. This is a good list of homeschool realities. I can gush about homeschooling because we love it, but that doesn't mean there aren't challenges. I sometimes claim to homeschool because I am too lazy to undo all the damage the public school classroom dynamic and peer segregation would do to my kids. But it's the truth - no matter what educational method you choose, there are going to be problems to overcome. What's so new and different about that?

    The objection to homeschooling that puzzles me is the hypocrisy of those who claim they support diversity. They only acknowledge diversity when it is THEIR definition of it - the idea that parents have decided to do something so out-of-the-box as educating their own child is offensive to them. And then without knowing anything about homeschooling, they decry it as a practice that shelters kids and turns them into zombies.

    In the immortal words of Cher Horowitz, "Whatever."


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