While many parents find home schooling offers lots of potential benefits, there are also drawbacks to consider, and many will have a significant impact on family life for the home schooled child but also his or her siblings and parents. This article outlines these potential disadvantages of home schooling to help parents decide whether it is the best option for their family.
Home Schooling is a Significant Sacrifice
Any parent or tutor leading a home schooling education will have to sacrifice a great deal of their time. If a child is 'unschooled', when he or she takes charge of his or her own education and a parent is a passive rather than active support, there will still be an investment of time and energy by the whole family. But if a parent is providing a child with home schooling in a more structured way, that takes a great deal of time and organisation.
The parent(s) will need to carry out a myriad of tasks, usually including organising and teaching lessons, making a timetable, preparing visits, resources and field trips, join local home schooling groups, and making plenty of arrangements with other home schooled children and/or extra curricular activities for socialisation. Parents giving their child a home education will have little time to themselves at home.
The Cost of Home Schooling
While a home education will tend to be cheaper than paying fees at a private school, parents who opt to home school their children rather than having them attend a mainstream state school will have to take care of higher costs, which might include buying a curriculum, text books, computer and writing resources, field trips, science equipment, etc. If a parent has to give up his or her job to become a home school teacher, there are also high costs in terms of lost earnings. There are no government funds available to parents who decide to home school their children.
The Socialisation Issue
Home schooling parents often dispute the fact that home schooling is a less social way of learning than within a school classroom, saying that home schooled children can still meet a great deal of people through activities such as extra-curricular activities and home schooling clubs. However, there is a greater responsible for the parents of home schooling children to ensure that their children are receiving opportunities for social development, where in a mainstream school these opportunities would be part of everyday life.
The Qualification Issue
Where in a school, teachers are qualified instructors with experience in teaching methods as well as their subject, parents may struggle to learn teaching skills or become successful at teaching effectively. Schools also provide specialist teachers and advisors such as guidance counsellors and PE teachers, who are able to contribute their particular skills to a child's education. A home schooled child will not usually have opportunities to learn from such a diverse range of skill backgrounds. This is especially true if a child has special educational needs and required expert teaching and care.