Like any choice, espcecially big ones, there are numerous pros and cons of homeschooling to consider before choosing it or any other schooling method. While for me and my family the pros outweigh the cons, this may not be the case for every family or for every child. Moreover, often other families will have entirely different ideas for pros and cons of homeschooling. What is a pro to me may be a con to someone else. That is ok. Good even. Recognizing your unique family and everyone’s unique needs is 90% of the battle.
It accommodates a busy lives or lots of travel. A few families I know take several vacations a year. A few of them have had notes and letters from their children’s school about the children’s excessive absence. This bothered one family enough that they elected to remove their children from school and homeschool. This family in particular made their vacations into learning experiences even before beginning to homeschool, now they are more likely to travel and make it a learning experience as well. For example, they went to Washington DC and learned about the beginning of the US before the trip and were then able to supplement their book learning by actually seeing what they learned about.
Homeschooling allows me the freedom to cater to my child’s hands on high energy learning style. My kids are not still. Forcing them to learn by listening to lectures and books would not be terribly effective and serve to frustrated them more than educate them. Because I am opting to educate my kids at home, we can practice math doing jumping jacks or go to a wildlife preserve to learn about ecology.
Parents can feel secure about the environment their child is in. After the Columbine School Shooting in 1999, homeschooling, especially for high school age students increased drastically as parents did not feel that sending their children to school was a safe decision. This, honestly did not factor into my decision, but I feel that because it is becoming a hot button topic, it needs to be at least put out there.
We have more time as a family. Because my kids do not come home weighed down by their backpacks full of homework, we have more time to enjoy each other as individuals. We have the opportunity to visit parks, museums, play games, and watch movies as a family. The time that we spend doing this could easily be eaten up by homework.
Homeschooling does not often allow for many group discussions, debates, or projects, unless they are specifically coordinated. Some children thrive on these useful learning tools and others are very intimidated by them. So conceivably, this could be either a pro or a con depending on your individual child.
The “S” word: socialization. Parents have to make more of an effort to involve children in activities with other kids, there is not necessarily a social group waiting from 9am -3pm.
The time commitment is substantial. Even if a family chooses a prepared homeschool curriculum with lesson plans in place, a parent teacher still needs to prepare for the lessons as well as grade homework, tests, etc and manage the standard household duties. This can easily become overwhelming.
There will be criticism. There will always be parents and others waiting to judge you based on your decision to homeschool. This at best is annoying and at worst is genuinely hurtful. The best thing to do about this is to be secure in your decision and make sure you surround yourself (online or in real life) people who will support and encourage you. As much as I hate to admit it judging hurtful people caused me to spend much of my first year homeschooling at home with my kids avoiding others who may be negative. I got over it.
No one can make this decision but you. The decision that is right for you this year may not be right for you next year. As children grow, their needs change, so whatever you decide, it is perfectly acceptable to change it if you need. I wish you nothing but the best on whatever path you chose.