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. So, this means homeschooling is perfect, right? Nothing is perfect. To examine the negative effects of homeschooling, it is important to look at top concerns.
Exposure to Diversity
A big negative many people cite when home school is discussed is diversity. However, diversity is largely dictated by the community you live in. Additionally, even if you live in an area that isn't culturally diverse, you can easily teach diversity. Christopher J. Metzler, PhD notes the opportunity to teach diversity is everywhere - not just in public schools. Leading by example, parents can expose their children to diversity. Since, most homeschool parents take every moment and use it as an opportunity to teach, 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 based on real life.
Involvement in Society
Another negative argument that comes up is involvement in society. However, homeschoolers have the opportunity to get involved in real society. They can get involved in all aspects of society and learn tremendous amounts from it - all while their public school counterparts sit at a desk. They can:
- Volunteer at the animal shelter
- Join 4-H
- Help at nursing homes
- Get involved in fundraisers for the volunteer fire department
Other socialization worries include friends, sports, dances, plays, and even graduation. However, Richard G. Medlin of Stetson University found homeschoolers actually have deeper relationships and are more satisfied with their lives. They were also noted to be more happy and optimistic.
- The National Home Education Research Institute also noted socialization isn't a problem because of students' involvement in the community and community sports.
- Many public school systems allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities like sports and even sometimes in certain classes like art and music.
- Participation in local homeschool groups and co-ops with other nearby families can provide opportunities for socialization activities such as plays, dances, and graduations with a group of like-minded individuals.
Getting your children involved and actively finding them activities or interests is largely the parent's responsibility. Therefore, if you don't work at socialization, it can be an issue.
Integration is an iffy area; this can be a non-issue or a big one for some students. While Medlin notes homeschoolers didn't seem to have an issue integrating into college, college students are more socially mature than someone integrating into high school or even junior high. This can be a drastic difference for those used to a homeschool environment. One of the major reasons for this is public school systems are a community with students many times growing together from kindergarten. When a homeschooler comes in, they are not used to this community, which makes them the odd man out. Add to that a new structure other students have grown used to, and this can be a culture shock for homeschoolers. Therefore, integration can be difficult, but not impossible.
So, What Are the Real Negatives?
Homeschooling is not without its drawbacks. However, both homeschooling and public schooling have pros and cons. Your job as a parent is to weigh them and decide which choice is best for your family. Now you've examined some top concerns, it is time to explore the real negatives of homeschooling. These have less to do with children and more to do with adults.
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. You must:
- Structure the curriculum
- Work on teachable moments
- Ensure their socialization needs are met
- Make sure you don't get burned out
Therefore, you must structure your day to maximize learning potential. This means your life is centered on learning which requires time management and scheduling.
Homeschooling is stressful for parents. Frequently, you see testimonials from parents about the stress of home schooling. The need to be the perfect teacher, the overload from trying to fit everything in, and the work to make each moment a teachable moment gets to be too much for some parents. Without the right support network, homeschooler teachers can get burned out and dread homeschooling.
Lack of Support
If you live in a large area with homeschooling coops, this might be a non-issue. However, homeschooling parents in rural areas can find getting physical support (facilities like gyms, labs, community centers, and public areas) and emotional support (homeschooling groups, support from family, etc.) hard to find. This can make the burden of designing a curriculum and finding enriching educational environments and socialization opportunities even harder. Parents have to work doubly hard to ensure their child isn't missing out on an aspect of their education. For example, getting supplies and equipment for experiments can be difficult for a chemistry lesson.
Motivation can affect both parents and children.
- Parents need to ensure their children's educational needs are being met. School is part of everyday life, and it can't stop. They need to be continually motivated to keep their children on track.
- Children also need to be motivated to learn. Some children need competition to excel, and this can be a problem for homeschooling since there isn't competition.
Money is a large issue for homeschooling parents. One of the most common issues is if you are currently a two-income family, you will 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. Some are able to pull it off, but it is 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.
Cost of Supplies
The other aspect of the money issue is the cost of homeschooling supplies. Boxed curriculum can be pricey. Even if you buy it used, you can spend a small fortune on school supplies if you are not careful. Some note it can range from $700 to $1,800 a year, which is more than the cost of public school. This, combined with the reduction in income that homeschool families often face, can cause a financial strain on a family. However, you can mitigate this by:
- Borrowing curriculum materials
- Finding places that offer free curriculum you can print with your computer
- Checking with local homeschooling groups to see what kind of help is available
The Choice Is Yours
In terms of how homeschooling will affect your child, you will find there are few negative effects of homeschooling to kids if done correctly. However, there are negative effects for parents you should consider, such as time, motivation, and cost, before making your choice. The bottom line is the choice is yours based on what is best for your child and family.