I know I have a few years before even thinking about kiddo going to kindergarten, but I tend to start my overthinking and research way early when it comes to major decisions like this, so here I go. Let me start by saying that I know many teachers (my mother was a teacher as well), and I respect them and their chosen profession. By contemplating and possibly choosing home schooling, I in no way intend to give the impression that I think all teachers are horrible or that school is horrible. This first post is my initial organization of thoughts. I’m open to any discussion or questions that might help me better organize my position on home schooling. (I’m also open to the possibility that I will change my mind about home schooling and that public school might work better for our family.) With that said, here are a few thoughts on home schooling.
One on one attention vs. large classes
Learning in a home environment means that a child is getting one on one attention from an educator (usually a parent) rather than getting minimal individual attention as part of a class of 20-30 other students. Whether this means that the child is advancing through a curriculum more quickly or that more time is spent on other aspects of family life, total time spent on learning is maximized. Another benefit of one on one attention is the ability to change the planned curriculum to fit the abilities and interests of the child. Examples include using books from the library that the child chooses rather than a strict selection of books or doing science experiments that are of greater interest to the child.
One argument against home schooling is that the child won’t be able to learn socialization as well as a child in school, that the child will turn out weird due to isolation and limited interaction with other children. While I did make many awesome friends while in school, there are many other places a child can develop friendships: sports teams, art classes, on the playground, at the library, etc. There’s also the idea that the socialization aspect of school is more than friendships, that children learn taking turns, waiting in line, etc. Those things can easily be learned by living life, waiting in line at the grocery store or playing with friends in non-school situations, for example.
Flexibility for the family
A less important, yet still awesome, benefit of home schooling is the flexibility it gives a family. Rather than starting school in September and going until June, Monday through Friday, 8 to 3 (or so), home schooling can happen whenever and wherever you want. You can use the school schedule as your own, but you can also organize your breaks in whatever way you want, not just a week or so around Christmas and summer. You can go on vacations when everyone else is in school. You can go to museums, amusement parks, the zoo, etc. during the week when it’s less crowded. Taking a few days off for illness doesn’t mean the child’s missed out on anything.
These are just some basic initial thoughts, and I’m hoping that writing them out and possibly getting feedback will help me better articulate my position.