If you are considering homeschooling, you likely want to know the negative effects of homeschooling. Can homeschooling harm your child? What should you know before you make your decision?
Are there Negative Effects of Homeschooling?
One thing you will notice when you start to research homeschooling: there are studies on the benefits of homeschooling but conspicuously absent are studies showing negative effects of homeschooling. So this means homeschooling is perfect, right?
Well, according to some psychologists, homeschooling can have a few harmful effects. They point to things like not enough exposure to diversity, lack of involvement in society and difficulty integrating if a homeschooled child is put into the school system at some point. Each of these can be easily answered.
Exposure to Diversity
Diversity is largely dictated by the community that you live in. However, even if you live in an area that isn't culturally diverse, you can easily teach diversity. Diversity is everywhere - not just in public schools. Any time you take your child out of the house, you expose him to diversity.Most homeschool parents take every moment and use it as an opportunity to teach. So it doesn't matter if you are at the park, at church or at the grocery store, you can turn it into a lesson in diversity that will typically be better than one found in any public school, because it will be based on real life.
Involvement in Society
Homeschoolers have the opportunity to get involved in real society. They volunteer at the animal shelter and join 4-H. They help out at nursing homes and get involved in fund raisers for the volunteer fire department. Homeschoolers get involved in all aspects of society and learn tremendous amounts from it - all while their public school counterparts sit at a desk.Other "socialization" worries include involvement in sports, dances, plays and even graduation. Happily, with the vast number of homeschooling groups, this doesn't have to be an issue. Groups of homeschoolers can hold their own graduation, complete with diploma and transcript. They can also hold dances and other fun get-togethers. In many public school systems, homeschoolers are welcome to participate in extracurricular activities like sports and even some classes like art and music.
Conversely, homeschoolers are able to avoid parts of society that they are not yet equipped to deal with. Like the upperclassman who is trying to push drugs on them, or the group of peers that wants them to steal. Granted, they will eventually need to deal with these issues and more. However, kids today are continually being forced to deal with the negative aspects of society at a younger and younger age. An age at which they are just not equipped to make the right decisions. From this standpoint, being involved in society isn't always a good thing.
Because homeschoolers are so well socialized, this is usually a non-issue. Of course, it is different to change from home school to public (or private) school. However, it isn't much worse that the transition from grade school to secondary school. Or secondary school to high school. Or high school to college. Life is full of changes and kids are pretty resilient - often more so than their parents.
So, What Are the Real Negatives?
All this is not to say that homeschooling is not without its drawbacks. Both homeschooling and public schooling have pros and cons. Your job as a parent is to weigh them out and decide which choice is best for your family. That said, here are a few real negatives to consider as you ponder the choice to homeschool.
Homeschooling is like having a full-time job. Even if you choose to unschool, there is a great deal of time that goes into planning your educational moments. Consider too, your "social time". Often it seems that homeschoolers are among the busiest people in the community!
Where does all the time go? There are music lessons and dance class and horseback riding and don't forget the party. Then there's the meeting of your community homeschool group, the book sale and the basketball game. Oh, and don't forget to bake cookies for the nursing home. And…
The money issue has two aspects to consider. One is that if you are currently a two-income family you will very likely have to become a single-income family. It isn't easy, or fair to your kids, to work full-time outside the home and homeschool your children. Some are able to pull it off, but it is truly a challenge.On the other hand, many homeschool families are able to have one parent work outside the home and the other is able to work from home while homeschooling the children. This is also difficult, but it can be done.
The other aspect of the money issue is the cost of homeschooling supplies. Boxed curriculum can be very pricey, and even used, you can spend a small fortune on school supplies if you are not careful. This, combined with the reduction in income that homeschool families often face, can cause a real financial strain on a family.
Thankfully, there are ways around this. There are some places that allow you to borrow curriculum materials as long as you return them when you are done with them. Other places offer free curriculum that you can print with your computer. You can also check with local homeschooling groups to see what kind of help is available.
In terms of how homeschooling will affect your child, you will find there are very few, if any, negative effects of homeschooling. However, there may be a few negatives that you should consider before making your choice. The bottom line is that the choice is yours based on what is best for your child and your family as a whole.