The Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling

Do you like the idea of homeschooling, but are not sure what
it will entail? What does home education really mean in a practical real life
situation? How do I know if it will be right for us?

This article will highlight some of the pros and cons of
homeschooling so you can make an informed decision.

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You will need to decide personally how important each
positive or negative is to you. This will depend on your character, your
situation and your child. Homeschooling is a fantastic option, but it is not
for everyone. I hope this article helps you to decide if it is for you.

If you missed Part 1 in this series: What is Homeschooling? A guide to what home education is, could be and definitely is not! please click HERE

PROS


Control
Home education gives you almost complete control over WHAT
your child is learning and HOW they are learning it. It also means parents can control what your child is exposed to: friends,  books, music, peer
pressure, bullying, religious teaching to name a few.
Whilst there is some truth in the argument that children
need to learn the social skills to deal with these negative things, there is a lot of
harm that can be done to a child, particularly to his character, when exposed
to them on a daily basis.
Flexibility

Homeschooling allows you to schedule school around you family’s needs, and not schedule the
family needs around school.
For us this means we rarely do formal school on a Friday as it is
our Sabbath. Instead, that time is spent reading Islamic children’s books,
doing an Islamic craft, or something like that. When they are older, we will use that time to go to the mosque for Jummah too insha’Allah.

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As a home educator, you have complete flexibility over what
you are teaching you child. You can add in subject that they wouldn’t be
learning at school (e.g. Arabic) and disregard those subjects you find
inappropriate (e.g. sex education).

If the curriculum you buy is not working
for your child, you can switch to another one in the middle of the year. Or if
he is not understanding a concept well, you can go back and revisit it. If your
child is gifted in a topic, you can provide her with more challenging material
that she would not get at school.

Home schooling also give children the opportunity to pursue
their talents that would otherwise be difficult if they were at school 6-8
hours a day. If you child is a talented tennis player, you can fit his school
work in around his sports lessons. The same can be said for any talent or
interest that your kid may have.
You can book holidays in ‘term-time’ and benefit from
cheaper rates! You can stop and start school whenever you need to, as long as
your child learning is not interrupted too much. For example, over Ramadan, we
do very little formal schooling, but will make up for lost time over the
summer.
Better exam results

It has been shown in studies in the US that children who are
home educated performed better
on standardized testing, than those in
mainstream education [1].
One reason for this is you are providing you child with
one-to-one tuition for every subject, every day, rather than sharing the
attention of the teacher with thirty-five other kids. You will be tailoring the
way to teach each subject to the unique way your child learns. You will be
pushing him when he finds something easy, and going back when a concept is not
understood. So its hardly surprising really that home-educated kids are doing
so well!
Family Benefits
Spending all that time together, and sharing all those
memories inevitably brings a family closer together, especially the bond
between siblings.
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No school runs!

I know this sounds silly, but listen!

Imagine allowing your children to wake up whenever they
naturally get up, having a relaxed breakfast, and not having to ‘rush rush
rush’ to get everyone ready and out the door! No waiting in traffic, no
stressing about uniforms, or thinking about packed lunches, washing sports
kits, remembering book bags or signing forms. Instead mornings are just…EASY!

CONS


Responsibility
This is the big one that everyone fears! Instead of handing
over the responsibility for your child’s education to a group of strangers, YOU
are completely responsible. If they don’t do well academically or personally,
the responsibility is on you.

Personally, I think even if your child was at school, you
are still entirely responsible. The day you had your baby, the day Allah
entrusted that soul into your care, was when you became responsible and
accountable for the education of your child.

Parental Sacrifice
Homeschooling your children will almost always require one
parent to put their career on hold. Therefore is usually means that home
educating families have to live off one-income alone.

Other people’s
reactions
Since homeschooling is almost completely unheard of in the
UK, most people are either confused or shocked when you say that the kids are
homeschooled. Most will make the assumption that you are depriving your kids in
some way.
But sometimes people will surprise you with positive
comments like, ‘Aren’t your kids lucky!’ Or ‘I wish we’d thought of that!’

The kids are ALWAYS
there!
Of course, most of the time, I view this are a good thing. I
love their company. Homeschooling would be a very difficult thing if I did not.
But there are days, that all mums go through, when you just ‘need a break.’ But
when you homeschool, there is no break from the kids…..EVER!

There are times when it can be emotionally very draining, and it is not uncommon for mum’s to suffer from ‘burnout’ if they don’t take steps to avoid it.


Your house will never
be tidy
So if the kids are always home, then it follows that it will
always be a mess! That, in addition to the fact that, you will have to find
space for all the extra books, science experiments, art supplies, and all other
manner of ‘educational resources’ that will inevitably end up littering every
available surface. Your home will never be a show home, but it will be filled
with memories that are (in my opinion) worth so much more.

Keep kids active
It will be your responsibility to make sure the kids stay
fit and healthy. At school children do sports at least three times a week and
run around in breaks etc. If they are not attending school, you need to find
ways to keep them active. Choose something that your child enjoys. Don’t force
them to do a sport they dislike, just because their peers at school are doing
it. Think outside the box. Hiking, skating, rock climbing are just as good
forms of exercise as any organised sport.


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Requires planning
Even if you have a very relaxed take on home education, you
will still need to have some level of organisation and planning. Personally, I
like to have the year planned out in general terms, and then plan in detail just
one month ahead of time.
Planning out what subjects you will cover and how you will
‘teach’ these subjects does not need to be complicated. For those overwhelmed
by all the choices, or concerned that they won’t cover ‘everything they need
to,’ should consider a boxed curriculum. These are more expensive, but contain
all the texts you need for every subject, all the worksheets and even a
timetable to follow. There are numerous websites and books available, most from
USA, that outline what should be covered and when. I will cover my recommendations
the next post in the series.

You have to ‘find’
friends/ social opportunities
If you yourself are very shy or suffer with social anxiety,
this may find this aspect of homeschooling difficult. You will need to ‘get out
there’ to give your children opportunities to meet new people and make friends.
But consider this negative point to also be a positive one.
You can encourage friendships for your child that you feel may benefit him, and
limit friendships with kids who might be a ‘bad influence.’ If done well and
with thought, your child will know how to interact comfortably with children of
all ages, races and different backgrounds to their own. Something that no
school can offer.

Cost
Homeschooling can be more expensive than sending you child
to school. You will need to buy things that ordinarily he would get for free at
school.
However, there are curriculum choices for every budget and
if you spend wisely, it doesn’t need to break the bank. Just remember that
peer-pressure itself can be very expensive and think of all the money you’ll be
saving by not having to buy the lastest toy, shoes, clothes, video game or
mobile phone for your child. Or going to every classmate’s birthday party,
class Christmas presents and other school events.

http://www.risk.net/risk-magazine/news/2339013/corporate-hedgers-fear-otc-liquidity-drain

There are so many free resources online, as well as
homeschooling communities that sell things second-hand once their child has
finished with them. So don’t be put off by the cost of homeeducation, it can be
done to within your budget.

Local Education
Authority
You may be asked for a home visit from an LEA official or
school nurse, or be asked to provide some kind of written information. I would
recommend dealing with these authorities with a touch of caution, and do your
research on what information you need to give them by law, and what you do not.

Further Education
If you decide to put your child into school at a later date,
you may find it difficult to get them a place in the ‘best’ schools.
You also need to consider University. Universities in the UK
do accept homeschooled kids, but it will require you as a parent, to correspond
directly with the university early on, to find out what records need to be kept
and what other requirements they may have. Like with all things in homeshooling,
the responsibility is with you and it just requires a little more planning. You
may want to consider sending you kid to a university in the United States, where
colleges are more familiar with home education and some actually now prefer
home educated students [2].

So now you’ve heard the truth. You know the main advantages
and disadvantages of homeschooling and I hope this helps you to make a decision
on whether to home educate your child.

Next in this series:




A guide to Books, websites and other resources that I have found useful and those that I could not be without!

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Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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