Pros and cons of homeschooling

What if the average cost to educate a child was over $5,000 but you could drop it to just over $500 per child? According to a really old (1997) report on homeschooling, you could do just that by taking your child out of public school and schooling them at home.

Last winter, after several days off school with bitter-cold temperatures, coupled with a few serious cases of cabin fever, I posted on Facebook that I was “feeling overwhelmed” (appropriate emoticon included) about trying to keep my cooped-up kids from fighting with each other for hours, and I wondered aloud (or at least on Facebook) how homeschooling parents handled being with their kids all day — every day.

Well, let me tell you, I innocently fanned some flames. Anecdotal evidence and opinions were fired back and forth including topics such as socially awkward homeschooled kids, the terrible public schools that we have to send our kids to now, parents using school as a babysitting service, and people who shelter their kids too much.

You get the idea.

But as the comments died down, I got curious: What are the benefits of homeschooling, and what are the downsides? What are the financial benefits and downsides?

[Note: I was able to find some research on homeschooling. However, the person who compiled the report I read felt that the design of the studies did not actually prove that homeschooling caused the benefits homeschooled kids exhibit. Citing a need for further studies, he also said that homeschooling could not be proved to be more negative than public schools.]

What We Know for Sure

Homeschooling is becoming more popular each year in the United States and other countries around the world. In addition, homeschooling households are diverse, covering a variety of religions, political leanings, parent education level, and household incomes.

Characteristics of Homeschooled Kids

According to the research I found, homeschooled kids score above their peers on standardized tests, including the SAT and ACT. They are actively involved with activities outside their family such as volunteer opportunities, sports or music activities, field trips, and clubs.

As adults, they attend more public meetings and participate in local community service more often than the general population. They also succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than students who attend public school.

The Pros of Homeschooling

So why is homeschooling associated with some academic success? Since I don’t homeschool my children, I reached out to some friends who do. These are the reasons they homeschool (some are for academic reasons and some are not):

1. Educational flexibility. Homeschooling parents have the ability to customize the education plan to their child’s unique interests and learning styles. Maybe some parents have a wiggler who does well in a hands-on environment with one-on-one instruction and the same wiggler would have difficulty following classroom rules. As far as curriculum is concerned, some states have stricter regulations of what must be covered; but in general, parents have great flexibility in exercising educational freedom. One of my friends has a son who loves robotics and is on a robotics team. Another friend requires her children to attend a Toastmasters meeting.

2. Flexible schedule. Families can go on vacation when it is less expensive. Also, attending museums during the school days means fewer people are present. If children are sick, the content could easily be rearranged to fill another time slot.

3. Efficiency. In a classroom of 20 kids, there is a wide spectrum of behavior and academic ability. Children who find school easy may get bored. Kids who struggle to learn may get overwhelmed. Homeschooling allows the parent to teach at a pace that is appropriate to the child, making it more likely that time is spent educating each child instead of trying to help others stay focused.

4. Some decreased costs. Homeschooling may remove some pressure to spend. (Everybody has an iPhone. I am the only kid in my class who buys thrift store clothes!) Or not. Public schools in my area are really struggling. Each year, we are asked to shoulder more of the financial burden. I have to pay school fees, registration fees, some field trip costs, and classroom supplies.

5. Learning about real life in real time. The parent, theoretically, will spend more time with their children and can teach them real-life survival skills.

6. Solid sense of identity. This is strictly my own observation, but my friends’ homeschooled children seem mature, confident, focused, and secure in who they are. I can’t help but think this will pay off as they choose a career in the future.

The Cons of Homeschooling

But my friends admitted to challenges. They said passion had to drive the decision because it is not easy to find an appropriate curriculum, plan multiple activities, or have less me-time. They feel that they sacrifice in many ways to make sure their children’s education is successful. Here are a few of the cons:

1. Flexible schedule. While this also appears in the list of pros above, the lack of structure may cause problems for some families.

2. Parental employment. Who will be doing the homeschooling? Most likely, homeschooling families have to operate on a single income, so how is that handled?

3. Being taught by non-teachers. Can parents handle the tough material? Teachers are required to go to school for a reason.

4. Not being prepared for college. Actually, none of my homeschooling friends mentioned this as a concern, but I still wonder about this. Are they missing out on any prerequisite classes they would need to prepare for one of the fastest-growing careers, for example?

5. Teaching multiple grade levels is challenging (if there is more than one child). One parent commented that it was hard to be attentive to all her children’s needs at the same time. But another parent likes the multiple grade levels: Her younger child gets exposed to advanced concepts earlier, while her older child benefits from reviewing more basic concepts.

6. Time commitment. All the parents I interviewed spend lots of time educating their children. Doing it well requires consistent dedication.

Given that several of my friends’ homeschooled kids have (or will) start college early, they are on track to start their careers earlier than their peers in public school. Which means, of course, that they could earn more money over their careers. If homeschooling is the right decision for a family, with the right process, I think it could pay off.

What are the pros and cons of homeschooling as you see it? What are the financial implications for families?

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There are 74 comments to "Pros and cons of homeschooling".

  1. Ken Oh says 04 May 2015 at 04:26

    Uhhhhh, con #1 should be “Socially stunted children”.

    • Evangeline says 04 May 2015 at 11:08

      You make it sound like the only socializing students do is at a brick and mortar school. Kids get their socialization skills from so many places: family, friends, neighbors, churches, sports, scouts,and as volunteers just to name a few sources. Whether kids are homeschooled or get educated in a traditional setting, they are never in a bubble and will get the socialization they need/deserve as long as the adults make it a priority.

      • brittany says 03 November 2015 at 18:49

        as it stands homeschooling children actually form a more social set of skills as they are socalized with young children to the elderly and in a class of peers may be more socially awkward as they may be more intellectually advanced than their peers in their class as more often than not no matter the testing scores schools refuse to advance a student and rather focus on age of child for placement

    • Laura says 04 May 2015 at 12:03

      This is based on the stereotype that homeschooled children are isolated in the home all day, day after day. I have never met a homeschooling family that lived that way. Most homeschooled children are around other children most days of the week through playgroups, field trips, classes they are enrolled in, and church. Most are involved in all the same extracurricular activities as well….sports teams, dance, music lessons…many times right along with their traditionally schooled peers. Homeschooled children have the same personality differences as any other group of kids. In any type of school, there will be shy, awkward children and there will be outgoing children. Homeschooling doesn’t make a child awkward, just as public school doesn’t make everyone outgoing.

      • Ken Oh says 05 May 2015 at 04:37

        What I’m talking about is based on my experience, living in a rural area and knowing a bunch of people who were homeschooled. To be fair, all of those were homeschooled in a religious context (again, I grew up rural), so that sample set is perhaps non-representative of homeschooling as a whole.

        The only one that I know that wasn’t homeschooled in a religious context is still a little girl. But, even with her, she was brought to school eventually and you can see a drastic and immediate change in her manners, for the better.

        • K. Brian Kelley says 05 May 2015 at 10:01

          Your experience is a valid one for the time and place. However, it doesn’t represent the norm of homeschooling families.

          In addition to normal extra-curricular activities, homeschoolers also typically participate in cooperative learning where groups of homeschoolers get together to learn and classes are taught by the homeschooling parents. This is especially true when you consider coursework like orchestra, chemistry, etc. Also, many organizations such as museums and zoos offer classes specifically for homeschoolers, and they do get socialization in there, too.

        • Danielle says 07 May 2015 at 11:35

          I homeschooled my daughter in an entirely different context–college town next to major city–but what I see is school kids who are socially stunted. They can’t look you in the eye, converse about anything except science fiction and Marvel TV shows, and generally go silent when an adult is around. Homeschooled kids are used to relating to people of different age brackets, and in my case, sometimes I really wished my daughter would STOP talking. But most homeschoolers here are not doing it for Christian isolationism.

    • zoranian says 04 May 2015 at 12:38

      Actually, I want to homeschool my oldest child (will be 5 in August) in part because I do want him to be socialized. Kids in class are told not to talk or play or interact (for the most part) so they are actually de-socialized. I was told by the preschool teachers that my child “doesn’t participate” in group learning time. However, he is the friendliest most outgoing kid you could meet. He hasn’t been in preschool since we moved a few months ago, but he knows all of our neighbors, introduces himself to people at Kroger or repairmen that come to the house, plays nicely with all the kids his own age and older. One of the reasons I don’t want to send him to public school is I don’t want the teachers to rain on his parade. I want him to keep his outgoing, gregarious personality and not be stunted by sitting at a desk and yelled at for talking to his friends for 6 hours a day. He interacts more easily and honestly with people of all ages than anyone I’ve met that goes to a public school or daycare setting for 6-8 hours a day.

      • Ken Oh says 05 May 2015 at 04:28

        What if I told you that some of the some of the homeschooled kids (now adults) that I know are plenty outgoing, but in a way that’s unaware of how they are actually coming across? I mean talking without being able to put themselves in another person’s shoes. Just because you talk to everyone in Kroger’s doesn’t mean you know how to relate to others.

        • Laura says 05 May 2015 at 08:12

          I get what you are saying. There are some kids that will be overly sheltered and lack necessary social skills. But, to be fair, not all kids that go to public or private school have wonderful social skills either. Some kids are just awkward and quirky and they will be quirky adults. On the whole, home schooled kids today have just as many social opportunities as any other kids. It’s really up to the parents to ensure that they interact with all age groups. Not just with their peers, but with adults as well. If parents home school for the wrong reasons, isolate their children, and fail to teach them adequately, then of course the results will be negative. But I believe that most parents who choose to homeschool do it with the best of intentions in mind, and in the best interest of their children. Those children will be just fine!

    • Priswell says 04 May 2015 at 16:38

      Homeschooled kids aren’t kept in a box. They go shopping and play at the park. They socialize and make friends. They just don’t meet their friends in public school.

      One thing is more likely, is that their friends won’t all be the same age as them. It’s possible that they’ll have friends a year older or younger and some friends that are adults and little kids.

    • PAUL says 04 May 2015 at 16:49

      YOU SHOULD KNOW KEN

    • Budget Girl says 05 May 2015 at 07:28

      I see advantages on both sides of the decision to homeschool vs. not home school and I think what’s right for one family doesn’t have to be right for another. It’s fine to have differences like this in society — it richens our communities as a whole. Given that, I think socialization is a huge part of the to-home-school/not-to-home-school debate. It’s the reason why my husband and I have decided to send our children to public school. I consider socialization of any type important, but I value social interactions that include conflict. I’m certain as a parent, my flaw would be not providing that in the homeschooling environment. Because if I were to homeschool, I’d try to choose only playgroups and activities with children that I consider to have positive influences on my kids. However, I believe children need to socialize outside of what their parents select.

      At her public school, my Kindergartener daughter is constantly exposed to all types of behaviors and children from a variety of backgrounds. She enjoys hanging out with “people who listen [during lessons].” But she has had run-ins with the class bully. Needless to say, I would never choose this person to hang out with my daughter. But, on her own, she’s found ways of dealing with the class bully so he leaves her alone.

      When she’s older, she’ll have to work with classmates who are not her friends, who hold values that differ from hers, and whose ideas she disagrees with. She’ll have group work with people she’ll want to convince of her views. And she’ll have to work to find a way to do that. Yes, she’ll learn to see things from their perspective. There will be influencers she will need to decide if should be part of her life. There will be teachers she considers unfair and situations where she’ll think she was given a bad rap. But she will take lessons away from all of those situations.

      Essentially, I want my daughter to be exposed to adversity. Those are the lessons — paired with our guidance and advice — that will strengthen her as a person. Because later in life she’s going to be exposed to people and situations that my husband and I alone will never be able to prepare her for, but these lessons will.

      • Laura says 05 May 2015 at 09:15

        Despite our best efforts to protect our children from adversity, they live in the world and have plenty of chances to experience it. My children are homeschooled, but they still interact with the neighborhood children and occasionally have to work out conflicts with them. One of my children had to deal with a bully in a class. They have had friends that were a bad influence on them. They have experienced peer pressure. These interactions may not have occurred within the walls of a school, but they were learning experiences just the same. This is the same as the socialization issue. Homeschooled kids are not in a bubble.

      • Ken Oh says 05 May 2015 at 11:26

        Thank you. You put the point much better than I did.

    • CalLadyQED says 08 May 2015 at 13:08

      Okay, there are a lot of claims here (in Ken Oh’s original comment and all the replies thus far) that I could argue with, but I think it best to just summarize my experience.

      I am the middle of five siblings. We were all homeschooled and only homeschooled until college. We are all now over 21. There is nothing bizarre or over the top about my homeschooling experience. My parents were not actively trying to cloister us. They made the decision for a variety of reasons, mainly ideological.

      We’ve always lived in suburbs of the greater Los Angeles (California, USA) area. We were always active with church and sometimes did extra curricular activities that involved classes with other children or teenagers such as art, dance, martial arts, and sports. However, we were fairly isolated compared to our counterparts who “went” to school because we did stay at home with the family all day most days.

      My entire immediate family has poor social skills. I had hardly any friends growing up. My closest friend has nearly always been one or another of my siblings. Even now I can count my friends of the same sex and similar age and/or stage in life on a single hand.

      None of my siblings and I are successful by the world’s standards, but we’re not bums. None of us has ever been incarcerated.

      There is a socialization problem with homeschooling. However, there’s a socialization problem with raising children in general. Homeschooling poses certain challenges. Traditional schooling poses different challenges. Every child, every family, every school or homeschool, is different. And everyone is a different person than they were a year ago.

    • Jane says 13 August 2016 at 11:41

      Soooo untrue! Our children are leaders everywhere they go and make friends with so many people from different backgrounds. You obviously either don’t homeschool or have an agenda. Homeschooling well requires a parent to seek out diverse social and educational opportunities. Ours was completely successful. I’ve actually never seen children able to reach out to others and become friends with so many different kinds of children.

  2. Beth says 04 May 2015 at 04:44

    Defintiely a controversial topic! I’m ambivalent about homeschooling because I’ve seen some of the best and the worst of the school system where I live.

    As a former teacher, I think the parents’ ability to teach the material is the crucial factor. Some people don’t have the patience or skills to do it well. (That’s not a judgement — it’s just that some people are stronger in some areas than others.) Likewise, many people are excellent teachers but never pursue it as a career. (In my experience, most people who do get degrees in teaching were already good teachers before they entered school — but they do learn a lot about planning, curriculum and evaluation that parents might find valuable).

    It’s really up to families to decide what’s best, but I doubt this is a money-saving venture for most people when you look at the all-in costs (including opportunity costs like lost employment for one spouse). Nor should it be treated as such.

  3. NicoleAndmaggie says 04 May 2015 at 04:48

    Leaving my job to homeschool would cost a heck of a lot more than 500, even in 1997 dollars.

  4. A0 says 04 May 2015 at 05:47

    wow….this is an odd topic for a financial blog. Especially since the author has no experience with homeschooling. I’ll assert that this article shouldn’t be on this blog. It’s controversial and has little to do with the strict sense of finances. Even if you do homeschool for $500 dollars a child per year, you’re still paying taxes in some form to support the school system…..
    That being said, I was homeschooled and my mother was a former teacher. She kept us on task, made us take yearly test to assess where we stood in our peer group and planned social activities and activities to keep us socialized. Given that she was the local leader of a fledgling homeschool group, I was exposed to a plethora of parents with good intentions but horrible execution. I watched smart children remain unchallenged and stop learning, slower learners make no progress, people “not be able to find the time” to school their own children, People use homeschooling to keep their kids in their particular religious box, and occasionally, people making it work or even using the situation to get their kids to take AP style classes at the local community college. It was a broad range covering everything from failure to success.
    Then high school hit – there are few families with the experience and equipment necessary to teach a well rounded math, science and art high school curriculum. My family’s personal situation had changed and I was no longer homeschooled during those grades, but even then, the small school I ended up in wasn’t adequate. I was severely behind my peer group when I started my bachelor degree program for Mechanical engineering. I was embarrassed that I was so underprepared for my chosen field, but yet, I did enjoy some of the more advanced fine art education I got.
    On the flip side, I see kids get swallowed by the broken public system. I have friends who teach in public schools and they aren’t any happier with the curriculum than the kids are. I can’t further speak to that system, other than the kids I met who had not done well were severely behind the curve.
    I would, in an effort to tie this comment to a financial point, assert that in order to today to position a child for maximum earnings, greatest success as an entrepreneur, best able to follow their passion, etc, they need to be well trained in all the foundational topics, command a certain mastery of English (and probably a second language) and further – have social acumen- (and I think that high social acumen, can sometimes cover for a weak education). Emotional health is also an imperative. School can only cover a few of these topics, so even if you children aren’t homeschooled, there’s still much to be learned outside of the classroom. Though on the other hand, some of the more successful people in today’s world have overcome significant emotional and physical challenges, so there’s no one way to do anything.

    • HKR says 04 May 2015 at 08:30

      I think it is perfectly appropriate for Get Rich Slowly. In my opinion, one of the best things about this blog is that it discusses topics that indirectly affect finances. There are so many things out there that on the surface don’t really seem to affect finances, but in truth can have a huge impact, and the blogs that ignore those in favor of focusing only on obvious financial decisions aren’t doing their readers a great service.

      I think Lisa’s use of the 1997 study figures was brilliant and highlights the importance of how things indirectly affect finances. No one saw $500 and thought that was a realistic figure; instead we all started thinking about all the other costs that weren’t figured into that number. Getting your audience thinking is of far more value than handing them numbers that they don’t bother to question or look beyond.

      As far as the article being done by someone who doesn’t homeschool but is genuinely interested in it, I believe that is a valid and perhaps beneficial viewpoint. Obviously someone who homeschools has to be dedicated to what they do, and therefore is likely to be biased towards homeschooling (if not, why are they going through all the trouble?) Additionally, someone who doesn’t homeschool is likely to bring up points and questions that someone who does homeschool might not; some things can become so ingrained in a person’s daily life that they’re just taken for granted as part and parcel of the business.

  5. Cookster says 04 May 2015 at 06:09

    The question of college preparedness is interesting. I also am a former teacher, and let me tell you that college is a waste of money unless students take employable subjects. There is nothing wrong with plumbing or electrical skills which do not require college. My nephew took his college savings, invested them, apprenticed himself to a plumber, and now at 45 is a millionaire because of hard work and investments. His best friend worked for his masters in literature and wound up teaching at a community college. He is nowhere near as financially set. Of course there is the happiness factor. Both love what they do.

    • Carla says 04 May 2015 at 11:40

      You also have to consider what you can physically do. Not everyone has the dexterity and “technical mind” to do certain types of work.

  6. Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops} says 04 May 2015 at 06:21

    I read a blog by a woman who is lucky to have a sort of hybrid system in her area. Her kids study at home for 3 days a week and go to school for 2. The school covers a lot of the curriculum, testing, etc., but a lot of the flexibility is there (parents can opt out of somethings, choose others, and I *think* attendance policies aren’t strict). It costs money, I think, to be in this sort of system, but there is also some sort of volunteer program to defer costs? I thought it sounded really interesting and kind of the best of both worlds.

    • zoranian says 04 May 2015 at 12:42

      I love the idea of a “cottage school” like you describe. It’s similar to something I wanted to join before we moved, but I haven’t found anything like it where we live now, and I’m not quite ready to start one myself since my children are very young. I think 2-3 days a week of “group learning” and the remainder of “parent led” learning is a pretty fabulous idea and am very surprised there aren’t more options for it. I think the biggest challenge is getting enough people to agree on the same curriculum. We will be joining a co-op once a week, but it’s not really a whole curriculum, more like a day of electives in between the “regular” teaching we do at home.

  7. Deb says 04 May 2015 at 07:03

    I think this would have made more sense as a guest post from a homeschooler. It never ceases to amaze me that people with no understanding of the subject try to cover it. For what it’s worth, we homeschooled all three of our children, and they’re all in college as we speak — and were thoroughly prepared for it. But had we not homeschooled, I would have wanted to be a stay at home mom anyway, and earning on the side, so that changed nothing.

    I still think this is a strange topic for this blog, and one that wasn’t appropriately covered.

    • KT says 04 May 2015 at 08:20

      This seems like a tremendously odd article coming from someone who doesn’t homeschool.

    • casey says 06 May 2015 at 13:31

      News reporters routinely cover topics that they may not have experienced firsthand. It is not necessary to have firsthand experience about a topic to write intelligently on it.

  8. Chip says 04 May 2015 at 07:11

    We have home schooled since 4th grade. We handled the tougher courses by using the Florida Virtual School (Chinese) and our local home school co-op (Science and Economics). Both kids started dual-enrollment in the State College of Florida and graduated from high school with an AA degree from SCF (very high in their class). They were tested annually and always tested well above their level in school. Both are now attending top colleges to finish off their 4 year degree. The big savings was in taking 2 years of college off the table with the dual enrollment. Of course we weren’t doing it for a financial savings, we chose to home school because we wanted our kids to have a higher level of education (not teaching to the lowest common denominator) and to have our values taught to our kids, as opposed to the school systems values.

  9. Noah Allen says 04 May 2015 at 07:16

    Disclaimer: I’m a current (homeschooled) senior, recently enrolled in college for next fall (yay!). Anyways. There’s several questions I’m seeing you guys talk about that I can address personally.

    First, on the socially awkward question, this is seriously over-exaggerated stereotype. I know so many homeschooled people, and there is a very, very small subset within the larger group of homeschoolers that’s actually socially awkward. In fact, I’d say it’s about even with the public school system: not everyone is going to be an extrovert!

    Second, on the question about whether or not the parents handle tougher subjects. The short answer is “heck no!” My mom was a theatre major. Of course she doesn’t know Calculus or Physics. But here’s why it doesn’t matter: I teach myself. For instance, I take Calculus 1 from OSU through iTunes U. (iTunes U is fantastic. Look into it. Free, college-level education for everyone!) Also, there are several online academies that let you register for single courses. I’m taking Physics from Landry Academy. And if you’ve never used the Post Secondary Enrollment Option… use it! I took a few classes at the local university this year. (Ohio now gives state money to homeschooled students. Since we do pay all those same taxes.) I would argue that the number one reason homeschooling is the best educational method is that kids learn how to teach themselves. They take their education into their own hands. And if any parent doesn’t let her kid take his own life into his own hands by the end of high school… Watch for your kid to stick around in your basement for way too long.

    Personally, I feel as if education takes way too long anyways. Think about it. It takes kids like 5 years to learn basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. People used to go to college when they were 12 or 13. And now they’re stuck in High School through puberty, which is the WORST possible place to put a kid going through puberty. A lot of high school kids are jerks. College is a lot less like that. Shouldn’t we be socially ready to move on with our lives earlier? That’s my big pet peeve. Now it’s gonna take me 4 years through college to land a job. I can learn a lot faster than that. xD

    Also, on the cost of homeschooling question, I want to say that our family income is very, very low. But we live a great life, don’t really lack anything, and my parents have been able to homeschool 7 kids. It’s all with how wisely you manage your money!

    • Dennis Frailey says 04 May 2015 at 12:27

      It probably doesn’t matter much to you, but I looked at your comment and thought “this person never learned correct English.” I’ve worked at many companies where this might have cost you a job offer.

      The broader question this raises is whether home schooled individuals learn all their subjects well, considering that their parents are undoubtedly stronger in some subjects than in others. Being self-taught can only go so far.

      • zoranian says 04 May 2015 at 12:47

        Dennis that was kind of a mean thing to say, and untrue in my opinion from reading the post. Not everyone is an English/grammar major, and her comment was very appropriate for a blog. On the other hand, when I was taking an Advanced Placement English class in public school, I had to type up our papers for a group project because no one else knew how to format a complete sentence, and the teacher usually made us take turns and read the books out loud during class and there were quite a few students who couldn’t even read fluently (in an advanced placement or “college” level class). So I’m not sure that your argument is even necessary.

        • Dennis Frailey says 04 May 2015 at 12:57

          I have to agree that I responded hastily there and I apologize. You are right that many who are educated in all kinds of schools don’t know how to write well either, and by saying it as I did I detracted from the point I was trying to make.

      • lmoot says 04 May 2015 at 13:01

        Really? A teenager types out a very well-expressed comment with grammar that is actually pretty decent (especially for the internets), and you interpret a few mistakes that could very likely just be attributed to colloquial stylization, as indicative of someone who never learned proper English?

        I have an English-education degree and unless I have to absolutely use perfect grammar (which I don’t), I simply don’t give two turds. We are not here applying for jobs. If I’m in a hurry to get my thoughts out I’ll *gasp* completely IGNORE errors I know I’ve made as long as I know they’ll make sense to the masses…and I also have no problems ignoring others’ minor errors as well. My grammar was much worse at his age and somehow I’m doing pretty well in life and have never had a problem getting jobs. I think this young person will be just fin. /MASSIVE eyeroll.

        • lmoot says 04 May 2015 at 13:07

          This is just a follow up shout out to all my errors above 🙂

        • Noah Allen says 04 May 2015 at 13:18

          Thanks for the vote of confidence!! 😛 Like you, I just didn’t have time to correct everything. My dad has an english degree (and many of my friends are current english majors) so he made sure to teach us as best he could. Compared to my peers who are homeschooled, my papers are great. Compared to good papers.. not so much! I don’t like language(s) anyways.

      • Noah Allen says 04 May 2015 at 13:15

        ha! Yeah. I know where the errors are. Since this is finals week, forgive me for not proofreading. It’s not as if any of our thoughts here really matter. 😉

      • Mysticaltyger says 04 May 2015 at 14:17

        His writing wasn’t the best, but I’ve seen much, much worse writing in online forums everywhere from people who’ve gone to public school. Heck, it seems almost the majority of people still don’t know the difference between “their” and “there”.

      • Anon. says 04 May 2015 at 20:28

        Pot, meet kettle.

  10. Laura says 04 May 2015 at 07:37

    I homeschool my three children. It is not cheap! I purchase our curriculum for the core subjects, and my children take a science and writing class. We live in a major metropolitan area, and there are many homeschooled children in our own neighborhood. There are several options for co-ops nearby, and the option another poster mentioned (taking classes three days per week, and completing assignments at home the other two). I have found that people homeschool for a variety of reasons and that there is no one ¨type¨. There is a group for everyone and everyone can find their niche. Homeschooling in a big city helps. There are endless field trips and opportunities to enhance what the children are learning. I think that anyone with a desire to homeschool their children can do a good job. It’s not always easy, but we have been happy with the results.

  11. PB says 04 May 2015 at 08:04

    I have a friend with five children who homeschools, and all the children are delightful, interested, and not afraid to talk to adults. However, the parents realized that one of the kids really needed a lot of social interaction, so he goes to public school. A lot of common sense and love went into that decision, and he is thriving as well.

  12. gwyneth says 04 May 2015 at 08:41

    you missed a major major point on the pro of homeschooling as relates to actual money savings –

    School district.

    If you homeschool, you don’t care what school district you live in. you can get a great house in an area that doesn’t have great schools and not care about it. If the breadwinner of the family works in an area that doesn’t have great schools, you can buy a house that gives that family member a short commute and therefore more time with family. People pay a huge amount in increased property costs, higher taxes, and long commute times to make sure their kids go the the right schools. They look at living where they want to live, but “oh they would have to send the kids to private school”.

    Now the social implications of leaving the poorer districts to flounder and damage the most vulnerable kids is definitely there and I don’t know how to address that. I am not going to sacrifice my children in a vain attempt to undo decades of damage from a racially and socio-economically society. I was attacked with the “pulling your kids out of schools hurts the schools” just the other day. it is not an argument that moves me. On the other hand, I do think having your kids play and learn in a non-homogenous, non-priveleged neighborhood is beneficial.

    • gwyneth says 04 May 2015 at 09:22

      That should be racially and socio-economically _divided_ society. sorry.

      second point – cost of curriculum – You can make your own curricula for younger grades and do it well if you are well educated. It is _not_ easy, and I don’t recommend it. I buy my curricula, I’ve done a lot of research to find exactly what I want. And, really, its not that bad. I spent about $60 a year on History, $120 a year on science (curriculum, not supplies, I don’t think supplies amounted to a huge amount though.) Math – $60, Latin – $100, Writing – $80, grammar $20. Spelling and Vocabulary i do myself, reading I teach by myself, and have probably spent $100 on early reader type books.
      so, $540 for one year. by the way, I got those numbers looking up the stuff I have bought over the years on amazon. Typically I bought used or on sale, so call it less than $500 for just curricula. and all that was for the first kid, for one year. two year later kid two comes along for that same year I spend $40 for consumable workbooks and who knows how much in ink to copies pages from all the stuff I already have. yeah, the cost of supplies can add up, but it doesn’t break the bank. Also public libraries. they are a great thing.

      second point – the idea that teachers go to school for a reason. this is more true of a reason to be wary of homeschooling a high schooler. You should know everything you are teaching an elementary school student. And you should be able to read about how best to teach an elementary school student. And most homeschoolers do try to learn a lot about that. Also, the nice thing about having curricula for young children is that it is written for a young child. so I don’t know Latin, but I can still teach latin, because I can read faster than my kids, and I can read ahead and learn latin along with her. Works pretty well. But at its core I feel that the idea that if you didn’t get a degree in elementary education you shouldn’t homeschool your elementary school kids is both ridiculous and vastly vastly vastly underestimates the difficult task that elementary school teachers have. teaching one two or three kids is CAKE, even if, or possibly especially if they are all at different grades. Ok, maybe not easy, but compare that with trying to take a first grade class of 20 kids and trying to teach them all when you have a spectrum from those that can barely read to those that are reading chapter books, from those that are very gifted to those who have significant learning disabilities. Make it work while they compare themselves to each other, when their parents have vastly different views of what they should be doing, juggling volunteers, desperately trying to get volunteers. You cannot compare the two, its Apples and nuclear science.

  13. Natalie says 04 May 2015 at 10:18

    I was homeschooled and went to school. I can compare.
    I cant honestly say,being homeschooled was the worst.
    I had loads of friends and we would hang out after they would come from school and on the weekends,but I still felt like I was missing out on a lot.
    And when I went to school for the first time at 14,I realized I really have.
    I feel like school prepares you for life the way learning at home can’t.

  14. Fiona says 04 May 2015 at 10:19

    Thank you for posting this. We had to homeschool my daughter for health reasons. It had a huge impact as we had to look at alternate flexible work for me, since many homeschool groups meet during school hours and extra murals are not at a school.
    Expensewise, we are in South Africa where schools are either realy cheap and sometimes not so safe, or exorbitantly expensive and also not that great. Littly has managed to do two grades in one year, just because the teacher student ratio is higher. It’s a huge commitment financially and emotionally, but so worth it.

  15. spiralingsnails says 04 May 2015 at 10:40

    I’m the oldest of five homeschooled kids and am now beginning to homeschool my three children. You did a good job covering most of the financial pros & cons, but here’s one more: job opportunities for homeschooled teens – like babysitters who can work during school hours! Granted, that’s mostly a need felt by the homeschooling community, but occasionally ‘normal’ parents with children too young for school found my flexible schedule useful. Also, breadwinners with odd schedules (like friends who are airline pilots or firefighters) find that homeschooling means they can actually spend off-time with their children – instead of Dad/Mom being gone during weekends, and the kids being gone during weekdays, forever passing like ships in the night.

    Re: college. One of my siblings settled for an AA degree, the rest of us all got BA or BS degrees. It just takes some planning to make sure you’ll take the right number & type of courses to be able to get into whatever college/university you want. (Is it possible to screw up? Yes, but the remedial classes offered at my state university were mostly filled by students who had graduated from regular highschools without taking all the necessary prerequisites. So it is not a problem unique to homeschooling.)

    As for social skills, it amuses me that people have actually said to my face, “Wait, you’re homeschooled? But you seemed so normal!” I knew a few homeschoolers from all-boy or all-girl families who were a little awkward around the opposite gender at first, but most of them are happily married now. I know one guy who would have been pointed to as the stereotypical “awkward homeschooler” during childhood – but he was diagnosed with Asperger’s as an adult. If he had been in school, he might have been diagnosed sooner and earlier intervention might have helped him a bit – but knowing our local schools, he would definitely have faced at least some teased & bullying. Whereas in our homeschooling community he was accepted “as-is” into his group of friends and peers. There’s no way of knowing whether it was worth trading early intervention for happier & more stable emotional health, but I have never heard him or his family regret homeschooling.

  16. Carla says 04 May 2015 at 11:44

    I grew up in a very aggressive public school district and I am as socially awkward as one can be.

  17. SAHMama says 04 May 2015 at 12:39

    I homeschooled my oldest child for one year as a trial period. We both hated it, but for none of the reasons mentioned: Personalities. In a regular school system, your teacher(s) change each year, so if there’s a personality conflict, it won’t last forever. My daughter and I are too much alike and butted heads constantly.

    • Ty12 says 31 August 2016 at 07:04

      I can totally resonate with the personality clash. I have had a similar situation this year, with my son staying at home because of certain anxiety problems he had, and trying to home-school him, particularly as a self-employed working-from-home single mother, was awful for both of us. There arose dreadful issues of boundaries, personality clashes, too-great similarity between us that caused mutual reflection and constant frictions. I do NOT recommend this to anyone, and I learned the hard way (note: his presence at home was NOT by my choice but forced on me by his refusing to go to school to to his condition and social difficulties in an overwhelming class) that the bourdaries provided by someone ELSE teaching my child (and I’m highly gifted myself so this is not easily admitted) are priceless for my own sanity. Once someone else taught him, he was fine. With me – we had untold tension and clashes. I’m sure I stressed and pressurized the life out of him too. It was NOT a good experience, except paradoxically by helping me help HIM (in our case, with the hugely helpful help of a professional therapist) to heal, calm down, and manage better to get back out there and handle the world (i.e. his class, teacher, bullies, the lot..). PS he was 9.5 – 10 years old during that ordeal, and by his therapists’ account has no learning difficulties, no mental illness, no problem of intelligence.

  18. Paul says 04 May 2015 at 12:45

    My son is home schooled, mostly by my wife who does not have a bachelor’s degree. I’m OK with that. They are part of a group that meets on a weekly basis for regular classroom work. Most home schooled children I know are part of a group that meets regularly. My son is 10 years old and my wife has not run into any issues yet about technical subjects, science, math, etc. which she cannot handle. I imagine I will become more involved when it gets to those types of subjects. I have a BS in Biology and can handle the math and science when it comes along.

    One of the best benefits I have seen is that the children can start taking classes at community college at age 15 or 16. Even taking only one or two classes per semester, they can easily have at least one college academic year completed before turning 18.

    The people who think that home schooled kids are socially awkward have obviously not interacted with them. Besides meeting once per week with his home school classmates (around 10 children his age), my son is active in Cub Scouts, church groups, sports, etc. He gets plenty of exposure to other children and teamwork.

    We took our son out of school because he was not being challenged by the curriculum presented by the local public school, which has a really good reputation. His reading and math skills regressed during the semester he was in public school. Now he is much happier and not bored in class.

    Also, with home schooling we can include religion in our curriculum.

  19. Dennis Frailey says 04 May 2015 at 12:51

    I accept that home-schooled students can do quite well if their parents are well enough educated and properly skilled to teach the variety of subjects that students ought to learn. But I’m concerned about the broader question of whether home schooling is good for society as a whole. Do we provide a better education to a few at the expense of the population as a whole? If so, it isn’t good for our society in the long run. Many people, particularly those in poor economic circumstances, have to work and cannot afford to home school. As resources are spent to support home schooling, fewer resources are available for public education, thus those who must use public schools end up with steadily worse schools. We create a self-defeating downward spiral in public education, a condition that is also effected by poor pay and unwillingness to school taxes that keep up with inflation in most school districts.

    A problem I haven’t seen mentioned here is that some parents have very narrow perspectives, very limited world views, and prejudices that they can pass on to their home-schooled children, resulting in a perpetuation of such views and perspectives. We often decry this effect in certain foreign countries when we hear about their attitudes toward things we hold dear, but we don’t always see our own deficiencies in this regard. Some parents want their children to have open minds, but only so long as they don’t stray too far from the views of the parents!

    I experienced some home schooling, some private schooling and some public schooling and can see pro’s and con’s of each. The biggest problem I see with any of them is failure to educate young people about topics that the parents / school boards / private school operators don’t think they should learn about. Whether it be comparative religions, evolution, different political perspectives, different economic systems, or sex education, unbiased coverage of multiple perspectives is uncommon, especially in home schooling and private school settings. Each type of school can actively seek to prevent students from learning about some taboo subjects.

    I’ve taught at the university level for over 40 years and I have to deal with the products of our lower level education system. I do find many home schooled students to be capable, but not all. One of my precepts is that if you cannot make a cogent argument in favor of all sides of a topic, you don’t know the topic well enough to have a well thought-out opinion. This is why we have things like debate clubs – so people will learn to examine both sides of an issue. One of the techniques I use in certain courses is to have the students debate a topic and I don’t tell them which side they are to take in the debate until the last minute. It is very effective in helping them learn.

    • Mysticaltyger says 04 May 2015 at 14:30

      I liked your well thought out post. But I do take issue with your thoughts on providing a good education to the few at the expense of the many. This has already been happening in the U.S. for decades anyway. People who home school aren’t really adding any fuel to this entrenched trend. If anything, they’re saving the taxpayers money.

    • Janette says 07 May 2015 at 04:56

      “Do we provide a better education to a few at the expense of the population as a whole?”
      With the exception of some very exclusive public schools, where do you find the professional’s child? Usually at a private school. Where do you find the ultra rich?Boarding school. “Let someone else’s child be the social experiment” is common logic for most upper middle to upper class families.
      ” I do find many home schooled students to be capable, but not all.”
      Can you say the same thing about average public school students? If you have 40 years at the university level, you may not Currently teach any average (not gifted) public school students.
      “This is why we have things like debate clubs ”
      In general, debate does not exist in public schools anymore. Not in the classroom, not as a club.

      If I had not been a part of the serious decline in public education during the last fifteen years, I would agree with everything you stated. There is a huge problem. The middle class is responding, at an alarming speed, by withdrawing their children from the machine of public school. Last year 4% of the population was homeschooled. That is very close to the number of children in private and parochial schools.
      I was against homeschooling for my entire 30 years as a teacher. I am now involved in homeschooling my grandson. It is the best education we can afford for him. Personally, I would like to get a bit of our taxes back (we pay about $6,000 per year for schools) to pay for the materials.

      • Jane says 13 August 2016 at 12:02

        You’re right = we should petition for the money back if we choose to homeschool. I’d like to have our 11k year back we pay per child for the years I homeschooled because the system was not willing to put in gifted programs required for our child. Could use that money now!

    • Laura says 07 May 2015 at 07:07

      Our homeschool group has a debate club for high school students.

  20. Don Milne says 04 May 2015 at 22:03

    Having homeschooled all out kids from the early 1990s, I think the author of the article was stretching things to come up with 6 Cons.

    Parental employment was not a Con for us. We planned to have a stay at home mom regardless. Readers of Get Rich Slowly may be familiar with Elizabeth Warren’s book, The Two Income trap. A one income family is very doable.

    Being taught by a non-teacher was not a Con for us. No one is more invested in educating a child than a parent, especially a homeschool mom.

    Not being prepared for college was not a Con. The majority of homeschoolers we have known have been ready for college earlier than their peers in high school. Our 15 year old homeschooled neighbor just got accepted to major university helped by his high ACT scores.

    Teaching multiple grades was not a Con. This was the way teaching was done for generations and only in the 20th century did it change to all kids the same age.

  21. Saint jose says 05 May 2015 at 02:22

    Great article , I think home schooling is not better than Private Schooling, Becoz of they know the details what to do / what not to do in their surroundings…But my Conclusion is Home Schooling is not better than to private schooling…

  22. Nick @ Millionaires Giving Money says 05 May 2015 at 02:31

    Responsible parents make the best teachers. Some of my best lessons came from my parents and I really respect them for passing the knowledge down to me. This post has really inspired me to think about home schooling my own children. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Devin Carroll says 05 May 2015 at 08:50

    As a child, I attended two years of public school, a few years of private school and was home schooled the rest. Mostly as a result of our geographic location and education options.

    How did I turn out? Well, I’m different. It may be that I’m just weird. 🙂 It could also be that my limited interaction with one peer group left me unconcerned about adopting the behaviors and trends to which other cling. As a result, I have a strong pioneering spirit and believe that there is rarely great reward in simply following the crowd. Did I miss out on social interaction with other kids my age? Sure. Did it hurt me? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that learning my social skills from other adults has served me well.

    Two years ago we made the decision to homeschool our two school aged children. My daughter is 10 and my son is 15. They each have very different learning styles and interests.

    My son is interested in any instrument that has strings and resembles a guitar. Because of his flexible schedule, we’ve been able to get him with some great instructors. He’s pretty good too. In fact, I used to consider myself a guitar player. Not anymore. From Metallica to Jack Johnson, he plays it. Loudly.

    Academics? His state test scores increased 4 grade levels after the first year.

    My daughter loves tennis and art. Private lessons would be more difficult if we were restricted to after school hours.

    Her academics? Her scores have always been through-the-roof high. The difference now is that she does most of her schoolwork on the computer. Her technology ability is miles ahead of most of her peers.

    I’ve always believed that our kids learn by exposure. The increased flexibility in all of our schedules allows us to do and see things that we would never be able to do if we were restricted to a school calendar.

    The big drawback? If you do it right, it is hard work! The spouse who takes on the responsibility of the home educator carries a heavy burden. In addition to the responsibility of his/her children’s education, they also will often sacrifice their own career, freedom and income.

    Like some others have noted, not everyone does it right. We see the folks who just print stuff off the internet or worse, do nothing. It’s awful. The quality of homeschooling education is all in the execution.

    While I don’t think it is for everyone, for us it has been great.

    • rabiya says 17 March 2016 at 08:01

      well ur post was really helpfull for me . i am homeschooling my 2 kids from last 1 year without any proper guidelines and there were some confusion about the management after study time like how to engage them . by profession i am a psychologist but now first priority is my kids education .

  24. Ace says 05 May 2015 at 09:15

    There is a reason why homeschooled kids are almost universally viewed by non-homeschoolers (i.e. everyone else) as “weird.” Cite whatever studies you want. Every homeschooled person I have ever engaged with at work, church, or in the neighborhood was a little “off.” In most cases, I didn’t know they were homeschooled until later.

  25. Sara says 05 May 2015 at 19:50

    Add me to the list of people that think this post was odd for a PF blog. There are definitely financial considerations of homeschooling – like living on one income, cost of materials, impact on future job prospects – but the pros and cons listed by the author weren’t geared towards that discussion.

    I read a lot of articles on homeschooling because it’s a topic that interests me greatly. I don’t homeschool myself and I have no plans to, however I do a lot to supplement my children’s education, from buying work books to taking field trips and finding everyday opportunities to learn (like adding fractions when you’re baking cookies and need 3/4 cup of flour, that’s 1/2 + 1/4, stuff like that). So I like reading about the different philosophies and strategies homeschoolers use. What I don’t like is that while many people say “we aren’t doing this for religious reasons” about 90% of blogs or online articles are written by people who are clearly devout Christians. I realize that what people put out on social media certainly isn’t the entire homeschooling population, but they definitely seem to be the most vocal. Secondly, I am always left with this feeling (can’t quantify it) that homeschooling parents overstate the benefits – it seems like every homeschooled child is outgoing, volunteers, and starts college at 16. I’m not convinced it’s causation as much as correlation. I realize on the internet everyone has an opinion and that’s how most articles are written, but I’ve never really read a well-balanced and thought out piece detailing both sides – it’s either “homeschooling is amazing and public schools are terrible” or “homeschoolers are unsocialized and brainwashed by religion.”

    Also – even in reading through these comments – I am reminded of this saying –
    “The plural of anecdote is not data”

    • Beth says 06 May 2015 at 04:59

      “Supplement” your child’s education? You mean raising them? 😉

      I don’t mean to sound critical. What you’re doing sounds like a great benefit. When I was a teacher, it was a pet peeve of mine that some parents expect schools to teach their kids everything. However, a lot of our education comes from outside the classroom — like trips we take with our parents, skills we learn at home (gardening, cooking, repairs), things we learn in our churches or volunteering, or through simple play.

      Kudos to parents who are doing all these things, because not everyone does! But some of them see it as making up for what the school system lacks — as if they’re forced to do work the school should be doing. When you’ve worked in the school system, you realize it’s often the other way around.

      For better or worse, one thing I respect about homeschoolers is that they often have a more holistic approach to their children’s education because it isn’t outsourced.

  26. Mary Grace says 06 May 2015 at 11:31

    I was homeschooled through 6th grade and absolutely loved it. It gave me a love for learning and a really great foundation for the next years of learning. I was ahead of my peers when I entered public school. I’m so grateful to my mom for sacrificing her time and money to homeschool me! I’m now working as a PR/Marketing Manager at a nonprofit and I will certainly homeschool my kids those first few years of school.

  27. Emily says 06 May 2015 at 15:26

    “Teachers are required to go to school for a reason.”

    I taught in an elementary school for 13 years. I learned a few things in college that helped me once I got a job, but not much.

    The main thing that teachers need to know how to do is to keep control of 20-30-something kids in a small room all day.

    Homeschooling parents don’t have to do that.

  28. Deb W says 07 May 2015 at 04:58

    Each family is different and should make the choice that fits their situation best – freedom is good!

    My 2 cents –

    I’m a homeschooling parent of almost 12 years – who also had older children who’ve been in the public & private system.
    Just to speak to a few of your points –
    Parents are generally more vested in their own kids than any classroom teacher will be – we have a bigger drive for them to really learn all that is required for their future.

    It is actually possible to live on one income – we’ve been doing it for 17 years and still manage to live quite comfortably in New England.

    There are TONS of resources for everything you can possibly think of for your child to learn/do/experience. It requires some amount of work on the parent to make it happen – but that is part of the deal.
    Parents are not required to ‘teach’ every subject – you can utilize online schools, co-ops, outside lessons, etc. Even taking classes at your local public school is an option in some places.

    Online schooling has opened up more avenues than ever before an many home schoolers – my daughter among them – are able to be dual enrolled in college while finishing their high school years. At 17, my daughter has already completed 1 semester of college level work with a 4.0 GPA.
    She also has 2 part-time jobs, runs summer programs at our local library for school-age children and participates in our church. My younger son is 15 but has almost completed all his high school credit work, works part-time at a local farm and plays guitar in a band with his friends.
    Everyone knows socially awkward people – that generally has nothing to do with their educational background. My oldest son is my most socially awkward child and he was the one that attended public school for almost his entire school career.

    Broad strokes don’t generally cover well when applied to people. 🙂

  29. Danielle says 07 May 2015 at 11:57

    I’m a financial planner AND I homeschooled my daughter from second grade until she entered college. I do have a couple more financially-related cons:
    1. Many top echelon colleges are still nervous about homeschooled kids because of the religious fruitcake stereotype and the “socially awkward” fear. My daughter decided NOT to apply to Columbia University because of the attitude of the admissions staff during our tour, and redlined Bard College because they required so much more testing (both a pain and an expense).
    2. Homeschooling IMHO is among the most expensive of educations. It takes a presumably educated worker out of earning income, and moreover, if done for years, will seriously affect the (usually) woman’s future Social Security benefits. This is an issue that should be considered by any stay-at-home parent, but often homeschooling lasts longer than a parent would otherwise stay totally unemployed (in the paid sense). Not saying you shouldn’t stay at home, just realize you are making a choice with deep financial impact.
    Also, you are still going to be paying for the music lessons, the sports fees, the various extracurricular activities, maybe some college-level classes, on-line supplementary education…easily thousands a year.
    3. You are in big financial trouble if you end up in a divorce–the courts don’t look kindly on a divorcing parent that still wants to stay homeschooling, and most likely will expect you to throw the kids in school and get a job (after perhaps years of not working). And in most cases, the formerly supportive spouse will use homeschooling to paint you as a nut. There are also plenty of cases of domestic violence where the homeschooling spouse hangs on because of the fear of not being able to continue homeschooling.

    Yes, I’m speaking from first-hand experience in all of the above. However, I’d do it again. We began because the 2nd grade wanted to hold my daughter back a year for lack of progress. When we had her tested (in disagreement), she scored in the profoundly gifted range. I had never taught a thing in my life, but I have more degrees than a lot of teachers, and thought I could figure it out. I took the stance that I was the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage”. DD feels she was way better prepared than most of her classmates at Bryn Mawr College (which is quite competitive), and in fact was just awarded a major research fellowship by the college, as a junior. She desperately wants to homeschool her own kids when she has them.

    The other thing no one talks about here is how much fun it is! Really, you get to learn all the stuff you blew off in your own education, and do lots of art, and fill in all your math and science gaps. I really miss it. The only thing I would have done differently? Kept a part time job going or at least got further credentials–sometimes you just need another adult, and an entry back into the work force that doesn’t require starting from scratch.

  30. Jess says 09 May 2015 at 07:19

    As a professor, my main concern about homeschooling is college preparedness. Homeschooling parents take on the burden Before pursuing my Ph.D., I worked in admissions for a “public Ivy” institution. At one admissions event, I met a bright, engaging homeschooled student who was soon to start her last year of high school study. I inquired about her preparation in foreign language and laboratory science, of which she had neither.

    She wrote well, was articulate, and by my judgment, probably could’ve easily handled the demands of our school. But without 3 years of foreign language and science, she was inadmissible.

    Similarly, family friends are homeschooling their two girls through high school. The seventeen-year-old has indicated that she wants to be a marine biologist. Yet her high school curriculum has not included biology, chemistry, or physics–just earth science and anatomy and physiology. Even assuming she will get in somewhere, she’s certainly not prepared for the curriculum in the field of her choosing. She may feel as though she’s “choosing” not to be a marine biologist when she inevitably gravitates toward the humanities, but really, that choice was made for her by her parents lack of understanding and/or inability to pay for lab sciences to be taught to her. And mind you, I’m an English professor, so I’m hardly one beating the “STEM STEM STEM” drum, but if a student wants a STEM career, she ought to have the right to an education that will prepare her for it.

    I try not to judge homeschooling too much. But I do worry that homeschooling through high school, if not done properly and with attention to what needs to happen given the student’s future goals and abilities, cuts otherwise bright and talented students off at the pass, so that they never have a chance of ending up in my classroom.

    • Danielle says 11 May 2015 at 15:08

      You’re right–it is parental choice to some degree. In our case, my daughter studied French and Latin, winning gold keys in Latin and for several years scoring #1-2 or 3 in our region in the National French exam. We did finally turn her over to the local community college for chemistry so she’d have a demonstrated lab outside of home. The main things she learned were how instructors can spend most of the time cruising ebay, and how sexual harassment from the ignorant stiff in the back row is completely ignored. And she got an A.

  31. Adam Building the credible web says 09 May 2015 at 11:08

    Home schooling is not only popular due to financial reasons only, it combine many benefits associated with it e.g. parents can teach their child in best way according to the pace of their child mental ability. If a child is intelligent and parents give proper coaching they can cover the yearly syllabus in 3-4 months and can start next class syllabus. They can teach what they want their child to learn, they can customize the curricula according to the aptitude of their children.

  32. dennisfrailey says 04 November 2015 at 13:37

    Investment experts caution about the importance of diversification when investing to avoid the risk of betting too much on something that doesn’t work out so well. Medical experts caution about the danger of avoiding contact with germs because one’s immune system doesn’t develop properly. There is an important lesson to be learned from both of these. One of the big problems with home schooling is that it does not prepare children to live in the real world. Parents may indeed be capable of providing a better education than the local public schools (although in my experience, most of the home schoolers have some religious or ideological reason for doing so), but it’s a lot like bringing children up in a too-clean environment. They don’t develop the necessary skills to deal with the world as it is. In my area, there are home schooling parents who teach their children to survive in the 19th century but not in the 21st. Others teach their children to live in a world where everyone has the same religion, and they end up unprepared to deal with a world where there are people of other religions.

    We should be working to improve the education system for all. Our number one priority as parents is to prepare our children to live in the world of the future – the real world, not some ideal world we wish to create for them.

    • lmoot says 05 November 2015 at 01:42

      I have generally found the exact opposite to be true. Most of the homeschooled kids I know now and growing up, were better adjusted, more mature, and more knowledgeable in life skills than public school children. You talk about diversification…how is public school diversified? You’re learning the exact same curriculum, in the exact same way, as everybody else, following the same type of schedule from kindergarten through 12th grade.

      I work in the education dept at a zoo and field trips to the zoo with public schools are FAR different than the homeschool days we have, which are designated for homeschool kids. For the field trip the kids enter the zoo from the parking lot and are guided by their chaperones, who’s main goals are to keep the kids from fighting with eachother or losing a kid, and are made up mostly of disengaged parents who know little about environmental and life sciences. Now cut to the homeschool days. The children first have activities and lessons at the zoo’s school, which includes themes which are tailored specifically to what they will experience on the field trip. Then they go on a guided tour with one of the zoo’s environmental education instructors in small groups where they get to go behind the scenes and get plenty of one-on-one time, no fighting gobs of kids who just want to get ice cream or get to the next giftshop. The conditions are prime for maximum engagement and learning.

      From what I know of homeschooling it has become much more diversified, vs getting most of ones knowledge from a subset of educators, homeschool kids are more likely (practically required) to get access to subject matter experts during their education.

      Contrary to popular belief school is not the mecca of childhood socialization. There are plenty of kids (I was one) who had many of their friends outside of school. I had friends from outside activities, work (I started at 15), the neighborhood, kids I met through current friends. In fact public schools can sometimes exacerbate some children’s social and anxiety issues.

      You consider public schools to be “living in the real world”…a physically containing, closed-culture institution where real-life stuff is watered down, and busy work replaces learning real life skills; meanwhile, many homeschool kids are already out in the real world not just learning, but experiencing. School is not the real world…school is the antithesis of the real world. And this is coming from someone who had a decent experience in public schools. There are many who didn’t.

  33. Don says 04 November 2015 at 20:32

    You can always find anecdotal examples to support any perception about home schoolers. My wife created a company that has provided curriculum to home schoolers for nearly 2 decades. She has spoken to home school groups throughout the nation on a regular basis. She has a network of home schoolers that numbers in the thousands. In general these parents don’t agree with secular values that dominate the government school system.

    The latest trends where school systems are letting boys who think they are girls use the girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms is only going to increase the number of parents who decide that home schooling is a better option.

    Home schooling doesn’t make perfect kids, but for people opposed to secular humanism and moral relativism it is a viable option with decades of proven successful outcomes.

  34. Ashley Wright says 19 May 2016 at 00:29

    The list of cons seems kind of surprise to me, based on my home school experience… but I guess it is good to know some POTENTIAL downsides. You can mess up homeschooling, just like any other experience, but research shows the overwhelming majority of homeschooled students viewed their experience as positive.

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