Whilst the majority of children go to school to gain an education and be taught, an alternative option that some people chose is to home school their children. But there are both pros and cons to homeschooling.
There are a growing number of children aged from five years and upwards in the UK who are being educated at home. Their parents choose to opt for homeschooling for a number of reasons – it could be that they’re not happy with the schools in their area, that their children wasn’t happy at school, that their child has a disability or learning problem that they feel they could handle better if educated at home, or that they simply feel their child would benefit from a more individual form of education.
Whilst education is compulsory, it’s not illegal to provide that education at home, instead of in a school.
The Pros Of Homeschooling
There are a variety of benefits with the homeschooling approach:
- Children can benefit from getting more attention to their own learning when they’re taught alone, or in small groups (some homeschooling families join together for learning).
- There’s more opportunity with homeschooling to focus and develop a child’s special interests. They’re also much more about to work at their own pace.
- If children have experienced problems at school, for example by being bullied, their learning often takes off when they’re removed from a school environment.
- There’s more flexibility with learning and the subjects being studied. Lessons can take place at home, in the garden, outside or on trips and there’s more flexibility and scope than just being in a classroom.
- Not having to stick to the exact timings of the school day can work well, although it’s good to stick to routines for the most part.
- Being at home doesn’t mean children can’t take GCSE exams – there are many options open to homeschoolers (e.g. doing them via distance learning education providers or through a local college) and one benefit is that they may well be able to do exams at an earlier stage than if at school.
The Cons Of Homeschooling
As with any method of schooling, there are downsides with homeschooling too. Here are some of them.
- Realistically, it’s a lot of work for parents and takes a huge amount of dedication and it can be exhausting to do all the lesson planning and instigating themselves.
- It’s also hard work coming up with new and interesting ideas to teach children.
- Some families find it’s actually a bit too much to be together all the time. Unless you organise set times to go out and take part in other activities and clubs, you can go a bit potty!
- Homeschooling does mean that children may miss out on some vital socialising (one reason why it’s vital they’re involved in non-education activities, groups and clubs too).
- Homeschooling can put a strain on finances, as it means one parent has to be at home to teach the kids.
Homeschooling isn’t something to go into lightly, especially as there’s a lot of work involved in being with and teaching your children each day. But many people do successfully teach their own children and if you do your homework and are certain that homeschooling is right for you, then good luck!