Home schooling is being talked about more and more, as news of Ivy League schools headhunting home schooled children surfaces, the famous TED talks by experts such as Logan LaPlante about how schools are letting kids down, and news of parents allowing their young homeschooled kids to roam free on bus networks in Vancouver were hit with internet hysteria. Everyone has an opinion on it, and lots of us are even considering it.
Due to huge advances in child psychology we are all starting to understand just how important connecting with your child is. Many of us want more than just the 2-3 hours after work and before bed with our kids. Times have long changed since the stereotypical view of religious zealots hiding their children away from the wicked world was the only view on home educators.
However, there are still some major challenges that come with homeschooling. In this article we discuss a few of the cons of homeschooling and give some inventive ways of overcoming them. So, if you are considering homeschooling and there are too many cons in your way, here’s a list of 6 problems that can be overcome with a little foresight and inventiveness.
Overcome Homeschooling Problems
Probably the number one fear for people considering homeschooling is that their kids won’t get the socialization they need. Just because kids are schooled out of the school system doesn’t mean they are stuck at home all day. Before school age, kids still go to preschool and day care, they still go on play dates, they still go to toddler groups.
Once kids are school age there are still clubs they can be a part of, music lessons they can take, and sports teams they can be on. Older kids can even spend part of their week volunteering for a worthy cause and mixing with the kind of people they wouldn’t normally meet at school.
Many homeschoolers make connections with other homeschooling families, and form kid-sitting co-ops and even lessons and field trip swaps. Say you have a homeschooling friend who is great with science and math but you are great with arts and music, you can easily do lessons swaps within your co-op.
Kids who are homeschooled often grow up among lots of different age ranges learning better how to deal with the different demands of different types of people. Older kids learn how to be more nurturing and helpful, and younger kids are often more likely to listen and learn from their older (more credible that parents) peers.
Homeschooling groups and day swaps can really set your kids up for a varied experience in dealing with different types of people. In fact, those who worry that homeschooled kids don’t get enough socialization probably don’t see just how much homeschooled kids are interacting with different types of people other than just peers every day. This helps to foster a well-rounded kid who can engage with different types of people from a much younger age.
One of the homeschooling parents biggest fears is judgment from family members and friends that they aren’t doing the best for their kids, or that their kids will grow up to be recluses, with only half an education.
Pointing out how your kid will benefit is tough because you often feel like you don’t want to have to justify yourself. But when your judgy friends see that your kid gets to go traveling with you on safari to Africa for a month, it’s hard not to see how a kid can’t thrive from such a varied and interesting lifestyle.
Be open and honest with your judgy friends, try not to get defensive when they make ignorant comments. If you share the amazing projects you and your kids are working on with them they’ll soon start to take a back seat and might even learn something!
When you’re with your kids 24/7 it might take a toll on your relationships. Mom and Dad might not get their quality time together and kids can get frustrated and easily wound up by their siblings when spending too much time together. It’s a relatively easy fix, that can be approached in several ways;
Make sure each child has a weekly play date with a friend plus at least a once weekly out of home activity, sports club, music lesson or even volunteering in the community are good options. If you and the kids are struggling with cabin fever it’s a good idea to get outside every day even if you have much younger kids. Spend time outdoors so even with the kids around you, you can get some headspace. Not only is it beneficial to you as a parent, it is also extremely beneficial to your kids’ development when they spend time outdoors.
Tip: As a daily routine and as a way to get the kids (and myself) out of the house, I picked up jogging and have been consistently using my double jogging stroller to go on runs with my little ones every evening.
As with all families don’t forget to make time for your partner, plan a date night once a week. Older kids can baby sit younger, or you can arrange a babysit swap with another local homeschooling family. It really is amazing the difference one date night can make to a relationship that’s getting a little worn around the edges due to the daily stresses and strains of normal family life. Not to mention a family life that has the added pressure of homeschooling.
One of the reasons many potential homeschooling families never proceed with their homeschooling dreams is the fear of taking your child’s education into your own hands, and letting them down.
Did you know that there are amazing distance learning programs that you can enroll in? Most states don’t allow you to just have full free reign of your child’s education, every state has their own rules with how you can homeschool but there are many public distance learning options that you can enroll your child in. This means you get the guidance you need from qualified and knowledgeable teachers, and your child gets the structure they need from well-designed curriculum.
You can pick and choose your curriculum to best suit your child’s needs and some follow government guidelines and others are more individually tailored to your child’s needs.
Filling your day
It’s definitely daunting wondering how to fill your day so the kids are engaged with learning and you don’t exhaust yourself. But don’t forget when your kids are younger one of the most important parts of their education is play, and life skills. Much of their traditional education can be covered in a couple of hours and then they have the rest of the day to explore and grow.
Building strong life skills such as learning about staying healthy and developing emotional intelligence are incredibly important in modern society where more emphasis is being put on the four C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) rather than the three R’s of old.
Just think about it, in school, your kids are in a class of maybe 30 kids? And a lesson is an hour long? They’ll be lucky to get 1 minute one-on-one time with their teacher. This can be a real disaster if your kid has special needs. It’s incredible how much education you can get into your day in just two hours that would likely be more in-depth than any one-on-one time with a teacher. Then, after your “traditional” education, you’ve got life skills, unstructured play (and yes that’s important even for teenagers), physical education (sports), music etc.
It may seem that homeschooling is a lifestyle of the privileged few, and yes, it’s going to be very hard to achieve as a single parent for example. But it is possible, especially if you can organize a homeschooling co-op as mentioned before.
There are excellent government programs and online public schools to cater for all needs. There are also grants available and in some cases even the cost of your internet connection is covered by your homeschool program. Homeschooling communities and co-ops are popping up all over the place, and even if you’re the only homeschooler in your area, the internet is a great place for support and guidance.
All in all homeschooling, just like regular schooling, has its pros and cons. However, with all the great guidance we have from our communities, internet networks, government programs, and educational expertise we can see that there are worthy alternatives to the norm. With a little planning and forward thinking, you can overcome homeschooling problems in creative and inventive ways. Ultimately modern homeschooling could put your child in a great position for future success.
Who’s the Writer
Evelyn is the main person behind Mommy Stroller, which focuses on helping parents figure out which stroller and baby gear they should get. Evelyn and her husband, Paul, decided to blog about baby gear after the overwhelming feeling they experienced when trying to pick out their first stroller. Both of them enjoy spending time with family and friend, live music, and going on jogs with their kids (in a stroller).