But like any other decision that parents make for their children, it has its upsides and downsides. It can be challenging once you're homeschooling to separate it from life. You will go through transitions and phases and have blocks of learning time or bursts if you have a hectic schedule.
You also have to rearrange your schedule when things like doctor appointments, dentist appointments or other essential affairs pop up. When you run out of groceries during the day, you will have to make a run to stock up because you're now providing breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week instead of opting in for school-provided lunches.
It can also be hard to find your identity as a homeschooling family. You have the choice of whether you want to get involved in groups or not.
Homeschooling can be an excellent choice if certain conditions can be met like:
- The parent must have time to teach them every day
- There is good support from other homeschoolers nearby
- You have access to materials for teaching your child
- You have financial resources to fund homeschooling
If you can't meet the criteria for the above conditions, then homeschooling may not be suitable for you. There are honestly so many things to consider when it comes to homeschooling your children.
Homeschooling can be an enriching and fulfilling experience for both parents and children, but not without its challenges.
But it doesn't work for everyone and all children! If you are considering home education, here are 4 pitfalls of homeschooling that you should consider before deciding.
1. The costs can be high.
When you decide to homeschool your child, you need to think about the associated costs. While you may not need to pay for formal education, school books and supplies will cost money.
Basic costs to consider include:
- Supplies like pens, pencils, and paper
- Internet access
- Computer or tablet
- Desk and or learning space
- Lesson plans, textbooks and workbooks
- Field trips, including travel costs like gas
Time4Learning estimates these costs can run annually anywhere from $700 to $1,800 per child.
Additionally, extracurricular activities costs can add up--after all; you aren't just homeschooling your kids academically!
For example, suppose you homeschool your child through high school and want to participate in any athletic activity or extracurricular classes like theater or music lessons; those activities can add up quickly.
Lesson plans aren't cheap either. You have to take the time and plan out your child's curriculum. What do they need to learn about? What will they benefit from learning? While the curriculum itself might be free of charge if you're lucky, time spent planning lessons and creating a schedule can add up.
It can be challenging and expensive to create a curriculum on your own--especially if one of the children has learning differences or requires specific supports which need extra work for you as a parent. You're in charge of every single aspect of their education from start to finish.
2. It is very time-consuming.
Homeschooling is an all-day affair. There are no breaks in the day, and it's up to you as a parent to make sure that children get their work done. When you're homeschooling, even though it's for your child and not yourself, you have to create a schedule that works best for both of you. If it doesn't work, then the whole thing might fall apart. You should consider taking some time off from teaching when life gets in the way or if your mental health suffers.
You will need to do loads of curriculum planning, plus you become the teacher, so it requires a lot of effort. You also are the chauffeur, so be sure to add that time into your schedule, especially if you're involved with local sports and other things like a dance class or karate lessons. On average, homeschool children participate in 5 activities outside of their home, so be prepared.
You will need more patience than you've ever had and strict dedication. It will take time to master your teaching style and find your groove, so it's easy to get frustrated initially.
3. Housekeeping duties increase.
The kids are home all day, so the house will tend to be way messier. Your dishwasher will get the brunt of the messes, and so will the playroom or main area where you do the homeschooling classes. It will take time to master your teaching style and find your groove, so it's easy to get frustrated initially.
Learning is a messy business, so don't always expect your home to be spotless. It doesn't mean you have to become comfortable teaching in a disaster zone. You will need to be more organized than ever. Make it a priority to have your teaching space (a kitchen table or desk) free of clutter, books, and paper.
Please make sure the kids' toys are in their designated area so that you can see what is getting played with at all times. It will make cleanup more manageable when it's time for homeschooling lessons to end for the day.
Get your children to help out with chores. They need to learn responsibilities, even if it is a small task such as putting their toys away or putting all of their completed work in a basket. Getting them involved with chores will only benefit them later in life when they leave the nest and live on their own.
4. You may feel lonely.
Homeschooling is often a vast community, but you may not feel included at first, so it's essential to reach out on your own. Feeling isolated is normal, especially in the beginning.
It will be harder to connect with friends when you're on different schedules. You've wrapped up your day, but your friends are at their child's after-school programs. You may even feel like an outsider next time you get together when the other parents talk about upcoming school events and PTA fundraisers.
It's essential to make your plan for social interaction for both you and your child. A few ideas are taking a class, joining a gym or sports team and volunteering.
These friendships won't happen overnight, so be patient with yourself and your child when you feel like an outsider. It will take time to make friends, but it's worth the effort in the end!
Homeschooling is not a joke. It requires lots of parental involvement, which can be too much for some parents. Don't try to do everything alone because that's just silly. You will need help from other homeschoolers or friends/family members who are willing to step in as well.
After reading this, we're sure you may feel like you need to huff in disappointment but know that homeschooling can also be a wonderful experience.
Also, know that homeschooling isn't for everyone, so don't force yourself to do something that doesn't make you happy just because others may think differently about your decision. Choosing a home education path is a very personal choice that you should not let outside opinions affect.
Sit down as a family and weigh out the pros and cons. There is an abundance of research and resources available to help get you started. Think of homeschooling like a train, it takes a while to pick up speed, but once you get going, you'll find your groove, good luck!