Homeschool pros and cons

My eldest is looking at starting her “formal” education next year and I am seriously considering homeschooling.

My wife is not as interested in the idea as I am. She has a friend from college who was homeschooled and I guess had a significant amount of trouble socially.

So, what I am asking is, are their any positive experiences out there? because that is all I ever hear about homeschooled children. I am not concerned with my children being “cool” and would actually like them to stay away from that whole mentality, which is why I am considering this. But I do want them to be ready.

Are there any parents out there that have homeschooled and now their children are out and about in the world. I am not expecting all homeschooled children to be doctors or anything, but I would like to know that they are happy, grounded, and faithful. And if so, how did you do it? :slight_smile:

On the other side of the coin, are their parents that got their kids through public school and off into the real world without having the child loose their faith? And how did you do that? :slight_smile:

Maybe what I am really asking is: How do you be a parent in this world? :blush:

I know of 3. Teens on C A. That are home schooled, and they prefer it to the usual education system

There is all sorts of evidence that homeschooled kids do very well academically as well as socially. People who are against homeschooling usually have an agenda of their own, not what is best for the children. I suppose that there are homeschoolers with social issues, but there are certainly many public schooled kids with such issues as well.

I agree that many “people who are against homeschooling usually have an agenda of their own, not what is best for the children”, but would add that just as many who are for homeschooling usually have their own agenda.

Just be careful to consider the possible ulterior motives of both detractors and supporters of the issue.

It doesn’t really matter if homeschool works or doesn’t work for some families if your wife doesn’t want to do it. The question is, how good are the results when an unconvinced, unwilling or unenthusiastic parent is doing it? In homeschool, just as in public or private school, that sort of instructor gets poor results.

I have a friend who is trying to get her husband to let her quit homeschooling after about 1.5 years. Don’t be that guy. If a woman is smart enough to homeschool, she’s smart enough to know when she should quit.

If you are committed to homeschooling, why don’t you quit your job, have your wife go to work, and you start homeschooling your eldest? If that’s unworkable, maybe it’s not meant to be.

The average mom (even a devoted SAHM) is often very excited about kids going to school, particularly when there is a younger child or children. For your wife, being told, “Honey, let’s homeschool!” may be like being told that Christmas is going to be cancelled this year and every year from now on.

For pros and cons, start reading pro-homeschool books (there are lots of them) and for negatives, read personal stories of bad homeschooling situations, which you can easily find online. You’ll find that even the pro-homeschooling sources talk a lot about homeschooling burnout.

Whatever you do, don’t overcommit to any particular model. A lot of people homeschool when that is the right thing to do for their families and then go back to school, or vice versa. Don’t try to squeeze your kids into your favorite model, rather than looking for the right approach for your kids. Also, I always respect parents more who take it a year at a time, rather than going in thinking that their kid is going to homeschool or go to this particular school K-8 or K-12, no matter what.

Another thing–bear in mind that you are essentially asking your wife to double her workload.

Your asking her to homeschool is like her asking you to get another job and to continue indefinitely with the second job.

Also, is your wife currently having trouble making time for free time, exercise, her haircuts, her doctor’s appointments, or other important self-care? If that is already a problem, homeschooling indefinitely will make life even harder for her, which is not an attraction.

Also, was she starting to think about going back to work?

My brother and sister-in-law were having serious problems with their middle child and decide to take their three children out of school and home school them. Within a few weeks this child’s attitude and behavior made a dramatic and positive change. They decided they woukd continue.

All three graduated high school early as well as tested out of several college courses.

Throughout their years being homeschooled they were very active in their church, softball and tennis teams, and mission trips to hispanic countries.

Your child could do very well if you are intentional in setting up positive social experiences. Look around in your area and see if there are any homeschool groups that you could hook up with. Some of these groups work with each other sharing time teaching in areas they may be more knowledgeable about.

God bless you and be with you as you make your decision.

My husband and I are also seriously considering it. I think it is key that both parents are enthusiastic about it and willing to be involved. I think that in most cases one parent takes most of the responsibility, while the other should at least be very supportive. I’m not sure how this could work if your wife is not in favour of it.

You have enough time to do a lot of research. Have a look at child psychology and development, and see what both sides say about socialisation, both pro and against home education. (I am now convinced that a traditional school is not the optimal environment for socialization.)

I have recently been in contact via a forum with a woman whose 2 children were home educated until high school. Then they were sent to a good private school. She said they did very well academically and with adapting socially to the new environment, and the elder son now studies at Oxford. I guess home education did no harm.

There are all sorts of stories out there, and all the experienced home educators say that you can’t know what it will be like - both for the children and the parents - until you start. And they also say that if it doesn’t work out it is not the end of the world, you just put them into a traditional school. It all sounds quite assuring to me. I recommend you join a forum or two and find a few blogs on this topic. It helps get a sense of what it is like.

With homeschooling, it’s hard, because normally, a teacher teaches one, or maybe a few subjects. With homeschooling, don’t you have to be good in ALL of them from math to science? Also, not everybody is cut out to be a teacher. If they are, they generally have figured that out and are already doing it. Teachers often specialize in one main area, especially later on in the education process.

It’s a lot to have a child with the same person for all the subjects.

Part of adolescence is about being with peers. It can be rough, but it’s also part of one’s education, learning how to relate to others outside the family.

Even if someone had a really positive experience with homeschooling, it also doesn’t mean that would be your experience, though it also could be.

With kids, what happens if the child is having problems with a parent? He is with that parent all night and also all day! It could potentially cause more problems with that relationship.

School is a generally a very rich environment. They normally have slides for biology class, microscopes, videos, all kinds of teaching aids accumulated for all, at great cost through taxes, where kids can get hands on practice, not just out of a book.

Often, there are fieldtrips to…zoos, museums…planetariums. One could try to recreate all that, but it would probably be hard.

I am teaching just really one class, mainly. I teach English, and due to the fact I changed countries, I lost most of my books and supplies. It will take me YEARS to get it like I want it. I have gotten some plastic letters, plastic numbers, foam letters. I have put on Quizlet over 500 “cards”, and I have over 1,000 regular large index cards.

I work with blind and low vision folks.

Also, the schools do testing for all kinds of things…from scoliosis to vision, auditory, etc.

There are school plays…band, choir, sports.

As I say, it’s a very rich environment.

We had teachers who often had YEARS of experience in that subject and, as a result, got REALLY good at it.

If there is a great need to homeschool, I’d say to go for it. My sister had my niece who had a disability, and for a time homeschooled due to harrassment and bullying, temporarily.

We used to have gym class. In our class, we once had a parachute. We all grabbed it, lifted it in their air, and would call off numbers. The “1s” would cross and grab a side. We had, I think, square dancing with the other kids.

Once, we had a dance where we would put 2 poles together tapping and dance through that. There were competitions.

I had a lot of difficulties in school, but even with all that, I guess I would still have to say it was still better for me to have gone through all that than not.

Each teacher brought his/her own special touch in a way that it’d be difficult for one single teacher to do.

Sometimes, we LOVED many of our teachers. Some, we hated, but we got a huge variety over the years. I thought that variety helped us.

As to not caring if your children become doctors and lawyers, actually I have one brother who IS a doctor, another who’s an engineer, a sister who’s an engineer. I have done Spanish interpreting. One of my brothers was a food scientist for a time, and different ones in my family needed advanced classes.

In school, we had the opportunity to also learn a foreign language, typing, math, science, chemistry (complete with experiments), biology using a microscope, psychology, sociology (in high school), and activities ranged from harmonica to greenhouse.

Catholic school would be another option, but it’s often a bit expensive.

I taught English in 2 private schools in Mexico, and once, they talked about motivation. One teacher thought they were referring to student motivation, but the one giving the workshop said he was talking about the TEACHER’S motivation. I LOVE teaching, even do it as a volunteer at 2 places. I have over 15 years experience teaching/tutoring ESL.

Lastly, I think you might be thinking that homeschooling would almost guarantee that your kids would be better folks, insofar as religion goes, but I don’t know if that would necessarily be the case. Like public school, it may or may not happen, anyway.

It would be hard for any one person to fulfill the role of all a school, today, does. There would need to be a VERY good reason to justify doing that, because I just think it’d be hard for any one person to try to excell on history, art, math, science, and all the rest at the same time, and for all the other reasons I already listed.:twocents:

My brother, the doctor, went to public school. He got married, adopted 2 children, both with some problems, then had 2 of his own.

He is a cantor at his church, now.

He is married to the same woman all these year. As near as I can tell, despite public school education, his values seemed to have turned out well. He NEVER strayed from his faith.

I have another brother who was actually in the seminary for 3 years, also public school educated.

So…just because one goes to public school, doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t learn values. Values are also taught in the home, anyway.

Best advice. It works for some, but I suspect that the one who make it work are very involved in their children’s education, period. No matter where they go. Now, if your local public school is horrible (and I mean truly horrible) and you can’t afford private school, it’s an option. But it’s not easy. The successful HomeSchoolers are those who re deeply committed, not running from another environment.
Good luck!

I went to State schools (public) the whole time I was in education (a couple, when my dad was moved). I turned out just fine and still had my ‘faith’. That came from home - my dad, church, family friends etc.
I’m married, have a new baby, went to a top ranking university, have 2 Masters degrees and a very well paying career.
Actually I know no one - and I mean no one - who was home schooled.

My dad (the priest) went to a state school also (in a very poor area I should say) and well he became a priest

I’m a child of six, and am currently a homeschooled junior in high school. My parents started homeschooling us when I became a freshman. We were pulled out of a private Catholic school, and love homeschooling.

I definitely enjoy homeschooling, and I highly recommend it versus going to a school. (Not everyone feels this way, but this is what has worked for me) We do a program called Seton Home Study School, a Catholic program, which is highly structured and wonderful! It is awesome because I can finish my work by 12:00pm, starting at 8:00am, and then I usually have the rest of the day to write, draw, play music, clean, computer program, cook, read, etc. Homeschooling has allowed my sister and I to go to college early, and start on associates in whatever we are interested in. (You can attend a community college in my area at age 16) My little siblings are extremely creative, and able to do science experiments outside, play, and explore always. Aside from these things, homeschooling has made my siblings and I closer, and has incredibly impacted out faith.

My only word of caution is to make sure whoever is going to be the teacher is really willing to structure your child’s day. Without structure, it is hard and extremely frustrating to get work done, or focus on anything.

I hope this helps! May the Holy Spirit guide you in your decision! God bless!

Just to touch upon this…

My Dad is a math and science brain and my Mom is more of an English brain, but sometimes there are things that I need help with that I need a real teacher for. My siblings and I use websites such as Khan Academy ( to help us with math and science. My homeschooling program also has teachers and counselors just a phone call away as well as a software that allows them to draw on a whiteboard and explain stuff to us.

Pros for homeschooling would be the one-on-one attention, that it could more easily adjust to the student’s pace and be flexible to the student’s needs. Naturally, you could more easily control what he/she is exposed to, add important information on morality. (However, you could add that anyway, whether you homeschool or not).

However again, it depends on many factors. We aren’t talking about the case of the person who homeschooled and whose kid who ended up going to Oxford. We’re talking about YOUR scenario.

Is your wife set up to teach? Does she have any experience? What’s her education? Does she even want to? Does she have the time and resources?

I pay, out of my own pocket, all the time, for teaching aids. MAN, it gets darned expensive REALLY fast! I work with a lady at San Felipe. While she gets paid, she, too, pays for her own teaching aids. I’m not sure how she manages to afford it, since she’s blind. Her husband’s blind, and one daughter is more or less blind. They have a second daughter, too.

I don’t think either parents make much money.

At least with public school, at least some of that is included, coming out of taxes that people are already paying.

I guess I forgot to mention, I would be the one homeschooling.

I am a teacher (high school English) but stopped when my first was born and became official SAHF. My wife is a nurse and the income is significantly better, so it just made more sense.

I just started K-12 homeschooling. I love it!

They sent all the supplies we need including books, computer, printer, and ink cartridges, art supplies, etc. for free. They even included return shipping labels for computer and printer so that we can return them the end of the school year. Only thing I can say “bad” about it is that I have to store the boxes to return the items.

They have teachers do some live classes throughout the day and they store a recording of the class online so that kids and parents can watch it again if there is a need. Other classes are pre-recorded.

They also have teachers, counselors, and admins available via telephone during normal business hours. They even have optional tutoring and mandatory career counseling as well as mandatory online learning courses to teach kids how to use the internet for more than social media and entertainment news.

There are multiple field trips throughout the year arranged by area in the state.

Assignments, tests, and quizzes are done online and submitted online. Sometimes, rarely, there are pen and paper assignments that are scanned and converted to PDF so that they can be emailed to the teacher. The program to scan and convert the assignments is a free app for cell phones and tablets and is very easy to use.

They do a test at the beginning and end of each semester to gauge progress. Standardized testing is taken at various locations throughout the state 1-3 times a year depending on what is required by state law for each grade level. They give plenty of advance notice.

The only issue I have had is that I am not that hot at math. My husband is great, but he works long hours. However, I have found that between the book and the website as well as some Google use I can learn how to perform the function and then teach my child. Which is a good thing. Why not learn or relearn together?

If you are considering homeschooling, you have a wide selection of wonderful Catholic material out there to choose from. You do not have to be an expert in all subjects to be a successful homeschool teacher. When it comes to high school, we outsource the more difficult subjects to our local college and earn dual credits, too. Obviously that’s not something you need to worry about right now, but something to keep in mind.

Last year, another member posted this gem about homeschooling and I think it really should be a “sticky” on the forum for homeschooling info, because it contains a wealth of information regarding the different programs and curricula:

The best method, program, and philosophy for homeschooling is the one that works for your children, you, and your family. Do you have an upcoming conference in your area? If so, I highly encourage you to attend. Not only will you get a “hands-on” look at various curriculum and material, most conferences have at least one talk geared towards new homeschoolers.

Also, there is an active member of this forum who is the primary homeschooling parent and would probably give you some great suggestions on getting started and making it work day to day, from a Dad’s perspective. His screen name is Hoosier Daddy and I’m hoping he’ll read your thread and respond- if not, you should message him.

This is very important information.

Some of the questions that Xantippe mentioned still apply, albeit to you rather than your wife. It probably won’t matter too much to you that it’ll be hard to find time to go to an hour-long hair appointment every couple of months :wink: , but how will you feel about having to sacrifice adult time–seeing a game with the guys, doing a service project, what have you–for family time, or vice versa? That’s how it is with us. I’m just a SAHM to one who’s under school age. We do plan on homeschooling eventually because the local schools are bad and the private ones are much, much too pricey. I HATE that in order to have some much-needed “me” time, I have to sacrifice some of the very minimal time that DH and I have together. Homeschooling is like that, except much, much more so. The homeschooling parent doesn’t really get any breaks except at the expense of time with the spouse unless you have relatives in the area who can watch the kids during the day sometimes. It’s very hard on the parent both personally and from a marriage perspective.

Insofar as socialization, there’s a wide difference between on the one hand using drugs and sleeping around at 14 and being able to have conversations with your peers at all about anything once you hit college and the working world.

For the record, I was homeschooled until 16, and then went to public school my last two years. DH was homeschooled throughout. We had very different experiences.

In mine, there was a strong element of extremism which the homeschooling was both a symptom of and a collaborator in. For example, we weren’t allowed to play with any but one or two other children. We weren’t allowed to watch any TV, to read any popular books, to listen to any popular music, or to wear clothes similar to what other children wore. (I’m not talking midriff shirts; I’m talking clothes with any characters, with bright colors, that were at all fitted or attractive, etc.) We were taught constantly that doing any of those things was terribly, terribly sinful and wrong. As a result, once I went to high school I had no way of relating to any of my peers at all, even on collaborative projects and such. How could I? I had never spent any significant time with other children, and obviously these other kids were “bad” or they wouldn’t wear a certain type of jeans/not shave/wear fitted t-shirts/listen to pop music/etc. College was also horrible for me. While I could understand on an intellectual level that the other students were not, for the most part, bad people, I had no idea how to interact with them appropriately.

As you might imagine, this had implications when I was working, too. I ended up leaving home and moving across the country at 18 to get away from that madness, and got a job in retail. I had to learn social skills or I’d be homeless. Period. I learned by watching everyone around me and imitating them as best as I could. It was very hard, and I never did master being able to be in a group of people I don’t know very, very well and being able to carry on normal social give-and-take, though I’m pretty good one-on-one.

I never met a religious homeschool group that wasn’t pretty extreme. Most girls in the religious groups I went to (we went to some groups for some classes but didn’t make friends with the other kids) never went to college. If their parents were honest, most of those girls weren’t really educated past the eighth grade because they were so busy taking care of younger siblings. Many of the ones I knew ended up as single moms with…questionable…boyfriends or ex-boyfriends by the time they were 20 or so. They never really had a chance: no education, no ability to support themselves or chance to get an education, no critical thinking or planning skills, etc. Not surprisingly, they jumped at the first chance to get out of a situation in which they had no future, and chose poorly when they did so.

All of that having been said, a close friend of mine was also homeschooled and turned out pretty well both intellectually and socially. She was brought up agnostic by parents who placed a very high value on education. As a result, she was involved in secular homeschool groups and non-homeschool activities from a young age. I suspect this played a large part in how she turned out.

DH was homeschooled by religious parents, but in a state in which homeschooled children may be involved in their school district’s extracurricular activities: sports, band, music, drama, etc. He played with a lot of non-homeschooled kids, did sports and other activities, and did a few (secular) homeschooled activities. He’s very strong in his faith, fairly social, and quite well-educated–he had his master’s from a top-tier school by the time he was 21.

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