Let’s get one thing straight – because I know some of you are homeschool parents who clicked on this post and are seething right now.
I am not anti-homeschooling.
I was homeschooled for a couple years growing up and loved it. My best friend was homeschooled through middle school. My husband was homeschooled his entire academic life until college. I’m strongly considering homeschooling my own children.
So why this post about why parents shouldn’t homeschool their kids?
One of my many childcare related jobs at the moment is caring for the younger siblings of children in a local homeschool group when they meet once a week. My two youngest brothers-in-law [see here this great review they helped me out with!] are part of another local chapter, and sometimes I go with them and sit in on classes. It’s a good program, and I see a lot of children learning and thriving in it.
But I also notice a lot of children – far too many – who are way behind and struggling. Does this have to do with the program? I don’t think so. The environment? No.
This is what is happening:
Parents don’t realize how much work homeschooling really is.
This post is for anyone. If you happen to be part of a homeschool community, it may be something you want to share around. And I applaud those of you who are putting in the effort to make sure your children get a quality education.
But I am addressing this post, and the title, to those parents that belong to a particular subset of the homeschool community.
The lazy parents.
Homeschooling is tough. There are currently a lot of parents complaining about the amount of homework they have to help their kids with (Source: Babble). Homeschooling is like regular school and homework all combined that the parents have to be in charge of. It’s a lot of effort.
But if you aren’t willing to put that much effort into your child’s education, you’re better off sending them to school and letting someone else take care of it.
I firmly believe that homeschooling has the power to be a more enriching experience than public or even private school. You can choose the curriculum you teach, the extracurricular activities, the electives. You get to tailor an entire education program to your children.
Unfortunately, I don’t see enough homeschooling parents taking advantage of this opportunity.
This puts their children at a disadvantage early in life that is difficult to overcome later on. Foundational education is so important.
You know what else is important?
I know, this is a common complaint towards homeschool parents. And often it’s ungrounded. If you have socially thriving children with friends and interpersonal activities, great! This rant is not lodged at you.
My mother-in-law (who has homeschooled six children), likes to say that socialization has to be taught to homeschooled kids like any other subject. A lot of parents get so caught up with making sure their children are getting their academic work done that they don’t realize how much important life learning is taught through peer-to-peer interaction (Source: Simple Psychology).
If you as a homeschool parent are not willing or able to give your child multiple opportunities for social interaction throughout the week, you are better off sending your child to school.
Well-developed social skills are crucial for adulthood and a career. Learning how to communicate with peers, work as a team, share and compromise… all of these things have lasting impacts for any future job. Neglecting this area of a child’s education puts them at a very unnecessary disadvantage. (Source: SDED Synergy)
So to recap, you should NOT homeschool your children if you are not willing or able to put in the work to ensure that are taught all of the necessary academic subjects thoroughly, and are able to meet developmental milestones within reason.
You should NOT homeschool your children if you are not willing or able to provide them with plenty of opportunities (read: more than once a week) to exercise their social skills and interact with other children their own age.
Be responsible parents. Start your kids off right.