The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
Homeschooling is a deeply personal decision for a family to make, but it’s one that can be incredibly rewarding for your and your child.
Homeschooling has grown in popularity in recent years. The latest data from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) found that as of October 2021, there are 81,200 children registered in homeschooling in the UK.
Some parents swear by homeschooling as the reason for their children’s success. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into homeschooling for your child, our guide can help you make a decision on whether it’s best for you as a family.
Pros of homeschooling children
There are many benefits to teaching your kids at home if you want to choose an alternative path for their education. We’ll walk you through some of the many positives below.
Total flexibility in the curriculum
Homeschooling has the fantastic opportunity to let a child pursue their own interests and passions. As long as you have maths, English and science covered, everything else is up to you rather than a teacher using a one-size-fits-all approach.
If you know your child has a natural aptitude for one subject over another, you can focus on this learning so they can explore their interests.
In UK classrooms there’s an average of 30 children assigned to one teacher. If your child has special educational needs or struggles with mental health, then they would greatly benefit from a one-on-one teaching environment that homeschooling provides.
You would have much greater control over how your child learns and go at a pace they’re comfortable with, which they may not get in a traditional classroom setting. Spending more time to fully grasp a subject will give them more confidence in that area, too.
You choose the structure of the day
There’s no need to stick to a rigid schedule like a school would. If you know your child’s energy levels are higher in the mornings or afternoons, you could focus on more knowledge-intensive learning for that portion of the day.
Equally, if you have other commitments like clubs and activities you can work around these more easily. This can make your life easier as well as your children’s when it comes to juggling commitments.
Tailor learning to your child’s strengths
Learning comes in many different forms. With homeschooling, you have the opportunity to make everything a teaching moment and branch out into learning methods a teacher would be too restricted to do with a full class.
Your child might be outdoorsy – in which case you could focus learning on the great outdoors and do trips to museums as a way of making the learning process much more interactive. If you know your child loves to read, you could allocate some time in the day to read together and discuss the book afterwards.
Cons of homeschooling children
It’s inevitable that with the upside of homeschooling, there are some aspects of it parents and children could find challenging. We’ve run through them and potential solutions below.
Time and money commitment
There’s no denying homeschooling would be a full-time job. You’ll be in charge of everything: the topics for each day, whether you want to hire tutors to help and preparing your children for exams. If you work, it’s very likely homeschooling will affect your financial situation if you want to take on your child’s learning yourself. You’d also need to pay out for textbooks and other supplies to build out your home ‘classroom’.
You’ll need to work out whether homeschooling is the right thing for you as well as your children. It’s a long-term commitment that can be a wonderful experience, as long as you have the proper time and resources. Hiring a qualified tutor can be a great help and give you back some time.
Just like adults who work from home, some children might find it difficult to separate their school life from their home life. This can affect their concentration and make them feel more stressed than they would have with the delineation of school being in another building.
Try eliminating distractions, like family pets and toys, if your child is growing restless. If it’s available to you, a good solution could be to have a makeshift ‘classroom’ in the garden – or choose an alternative place for studying altogether, like a hall or another homeschooled friend’s house. The change in environment might be just the ticket.
Lack of socialisation
One often-cited criticism of homeschooling children is that they miss out on valuable socialising opportunities if they’re at home all of the time. This is a common misconception, but if you’re worried about your child missing out on making friends there’s plenty you can do to counteract this.
There are often thriving homeschooling communities you might not be aware of before you start your homeschooling journey. These groups help children interact regularly with their peers, and provide guidance to other parents. Joining in gives you a ready-made support network with a friendly face.
Gaps in education
While it’s not compulsory for children to take exams, if they want to apply to university later on, not having any formal qualifications could make the process more difficult. Teachers are helpful with personal statements, advice and guidance for the applications, which homeschooled children could miss out on.
Hiring an admissions tutor can be a great help to children looking to get into higher education. While they can be costly, their expert support is often invaluable in helping older children with their university applications.
While there are drawbacks to homeschooling, these are easily counteracted and the positives outweigh them considerably. Teaching children at home might not be the best choice for all, but if you’re curious about the process then our guide should help you in making the right decision.
Here at Fleet Tutors we can find you a home school tutor to suit your family’s lifestyle. Whether you’re after online support or in-person learning, we have over 45 years’ experience in one-on-one tuition.