It’s time for me to bit the bullet and talk about the cons of homeschooling. This is something that many homeschoolers don’t want to talk about, at least not to anyone outside their community. As homeschoolers, we can sometimes feel as though we’re constantly defending our right to homeschool or be homeschooled. We’re explaining to people why— why we homeschool, why we believe in homeschooling, why homeschool stereotypes are often grossly wrong. Because of this, it almost seems counterintuitive to write about the downsides of homeschool—if not the downsides, the struggles that can make it seem impossible. However, it’s only by addressing these very real issues that we can hope to change the opinion on homeschooling.
1: My children resent me for not sending them to school
When my sister Alex was younger, she used to beg my parents to let her go to school. She wanted to be in that environment, surrounded by friends. It wasn’t until she went to a public school for a year that she realized that it wasn’t all she had imagined it to be.
2: My child feels excluded by his/her friends
If you’ve ever been homeschooled or homeschooled a child of your own, you know the sense of alienation that can go along with it. There can be a sense of ‘me against the world’ when homeschooled kids are surrounded by friends who aren’t homeschooled.
3. My child is behind all of his/her friends in a certain subject
This is a common problem, no matter how much we homeschoolers would like to deny it. Because the very heart of homeschooling is to teach a child at their own pace, very often a child can take longer to catch on to a topic. Once they do they can excel, but the waiting can often be painful and disheartening.
4. I feel exhausted all the time and I have no energy to teach
There are some days that, as a parent, you just can’t cope. It’s all too much. There are kids screaming and dirty dishes and a pile of schoolwork that needs to be proofread. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and unlike ‘public schooling’ parents, homeschooling parents don’t get to ship their kids off during the day so they can have ‘me time.’
These problems are all real, and none of them are easy to deal with. The thought of these problems can persuade would-be homeschoolers to keep their children in the system. It’s only by acknowledging these problems that we can move ahead.