The branches of homeschooling cons are mostly rooted in the name “homeschooling”. Let’s delve deeper to analyze why, then things like not being a qualified teacher/educator, a lack of facilities, having to constantly organize schedules and plans, never getting proper rest, as well as your child having to apparently adapt to a new reality, will sort themselves out.
I’ve already written about the fundamental homeschooling disadvantages and how they are actually just pitfalls or potential stumbling blocks that could possibly snag parents if they don’t understand a few key concepts.
I have to give credit where credit is due. Both my parents who homeschooled my brother and me (and who also happened to be elementary school teachers) helped me refine that post which I wrote from my direct homeschooling experience.
For this post I’d like to explore the last of those 7 homeschooling cons, which is the biggest problem for homeschooling. It affects every aspect of what a homeschooling family does and how they do it. The effects of which can last a lifetime. So read on!
The Motherload Of Homeschooling Cons
The problem with the name “homeschooling” is that:
- Homeschooling doesn’t have to happen only at home; and
- It shouldn’t be a recreation of school practices, a kind of school-at-home.
John Holt, the father of the modern homeschooling movement, struggled to find a more suitable name. He settled on unschooling. Some people assume the name “unschooling” has negative connotations but there are many other similar “un” words that aren’t seen as negative, for example:
In any case, John Holt emphasized again and again that children are not only more than capable of directing their own learning (the complete opposite of school), they thrive under such conditions.
A child can thrive with self-directed learning if their parents can detach from playing the role of “teacher” for them.
Homeschooling Cons That School Teachers Avoid
The idea that your kids need your love and support, and not to be “taught lessons” is simple enough. Maybe because it is so simple, many homeschooling parents cannot accept it. They might agree with the idea but in their day-to-day homeschooling life they can’t help to grab any chance they can get to have a teaching moment.
In short, many homeschooling parents are attached to the idea of recreating a kind of school-at-home.
They know better than anyone about the nefarious effects that a school environment has on a child’s natural academic, emotional and social development. And they say, “Enough with that!”
Both of my parents were elementary school teachers and yet they never gave my brother or me any formal lessons or instruction about anything.
But I’m Not A Qualified Teacher Or Educator
The fact that actual qualified school teachers homeschool their children without using any techniques or training they received should be enough to squash that objection or homeschooling con.
However, for many, it doesn’t seem to suffice.
Yet no parent needs a university degree or any formal training to homeschool their children. You just need to be in tune with your child’s mental and emotional state and to listen to them.
In terms of actually supporting or guiding them, that is, helping them if/when they ask, just think about this for a moment:
If we can’t help a young child with basic elementary academic skills after finishing high school, there must be something seriously wrong with that schooling system. In fact, it would just be another reason not to try to recreate a school-at-home!
Now, when your children grow older and are studying more complex subjects – possibly ones you don’t know anything about – you both seek out assistance from someone or somewhere else.
If you cannot find someone locally, there is a thing called the internet with loads and loads of free and paid resources that teach any and every subject anyone could ever think of learning.
Is Lack of Facilities One Of The Homeschooling Cons?
A perceived lack of facilities for people who are homeschooled again highlights the biggest problem of the name “homeschooling”.
Remember: Homeschooling doesn’t just happen at home.
You are free and encouraged to go to a local university or a local business or factory where you can gain access to things you don’t have at home, and ask them for a bit of time.
For example, when I was eight years old we took a day trip to a local vineyard and winery. They were more than happy to show us around, explain things, answer our questions and even ask us questions.
I took copious notes, clicked a few photos, then I spent about a week writing up a formal presentation/project of our day-visit.
Again, if you can’t find anything locally, you can either search on the internet or even better – since you are not stuck to a school schedule or physical location, you might even consider taking a road trip to where you can find what you are looking for.
The road trip itself might actually turn out to be more enjoyable and productive than the initial reason for taking the road trip!
The Homeschooling Cons Of Planning & Organization
A road trip or field trip like the one just mentioned does require some planning. But, heck, so does anything in life. The fact it’s something fun that your kid presumably is actually interested in, then resistance is essentially non-existent.
If there is resistance from them, that’s when you need to step back and listen to them.
Is what you are planning – or trying to organize – actually for them? Or is it something you think would be valuable?
You Don’t Get Any Rests
It’s true: Organizing activities and schedules for things your child has little to no interest in can be tiring and draining for you both. I can imagine this could be a problem if you were stuck on the idea of taking on the role of “teacher”.
So don’t force anything.
Listen to them and work out how to enable self-directed learning. That’s when the power of intrinsic motivation rears its head.
No Big Milestones Is A Homeschooling Con, Right?
One might think that one-off events like the prom are worth wasting a decade of your child’s education just so a child can say they attended.
Alternatively, a homeschooling parent could use the big wide world to create deeper, more meaningful events that happen more often and more organically.
Looking back on these kinds of memories stirs up much more emotion and it’s then that you fully realize that the small, seemingly insignificant moments in life are the most important.
Adapting To A Different Reality
Deschooling is sometimes necessary for children who have been attending school for months or years then suddenly find themselves spending more time at home.
But it’s not a homeschooling con.
If you speak to people who have gone through the process of deschooling, more often than not, you hear how it was such a liberating, relieving and overwhelmingly positive experience.
And for those children homeschooling right from kindergarten, who never attend school, homeschooling just becomes an extension of the first five years of their lives.
It is their reality already!
Of course, we can also talk about the artificial nature of the school environment but that’s a discussion for another day.
The biggest homeschooling con is the name:
- Homeschooling doesn’t have to happen only at home; and
- It shouldn’t be recreation of school practices, a kind of school-at-home.
If you can truly internalize the extent of what this means and how it affects everything you do while homeschooling, then much pressure on what you are doing gets released: The power of things like the 7 misunderstood homeschooling disadvantages that can snag parents deflate.
Additionally, things like:
- not being a qualified teacher;
- having a lack of facilities;
- needing to constantly organize everything and never getting proper rest; and
- somehow needing to adjust to some weird, unnatural reality;
…all become issues that only people who have no experience with or exposure to pure homeschooling worry about.
If you still feel unsure about any homeschooling cons then you need to simplify where and how you focus your attention.
You can start by downloading a free eBooklet I put together called, How To Enable Self-Directed Learning.