The subject of homeschooling is something which has received an increasing amount of attention in recent years. Once the preserve of the few who usually made the decision for lifestyle or religious reasons, it has grown in popularity, and a recent study suggested that around 48,000 children were home educated in the UK.
As with any debate, there are pros and cons on each side, and ultimately the choice comes down to the need of the individual child. It is essential to consider both sides of the argument before making a decision; to help make sure you have all the facts, we have put together a list of the ultimate pros and cons which come with home education.disa
Home Education – Advantages And Disadvantages
Home education is a self-explanatory concept; parents choose to remove or not enter their children in traditional mainstream education, instead choosing to educate them themselves within their own homes. If a child is never enrolled in school, the parents have no legal obligation to inform the authorities of their decision. Sometimes parents choose to withdraw their children from school after starting, and this is also perfectly legal as long as the Local Authority is fully informed of the choice.
The Pros Of Home Education
Home education comes with a range of benefits, including:
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages to homeschooling is the opportunity for flexible learning. Because pupils are not restricted by a timetable or the requirements of other students, there is a freedom in the choice of subjects and programme of education which is delivered. Home educated children in the UK are not required to follow the National Curriculum, giving much more freedom. If a particular topic or subject is of interest, or a child shows an aptitude for a specific area, this can be pursued and explored for as long as desired. Home education means there is more room in the timetable for trips and visits, as well as the chance to be more spontaneous with learning.
Tackle Difficult Learning Subjects
This flexibility is also a benefit in areas where your child may be struggling. In a traditional classroom, the needs of around thirty other pupils mean that there simply is not the time for the teacher to give a considerable amount of one to one attention to a single child, and this can result in misunderstandings not being addressed. With home education, parents and tutors have the time to return to a tricky topic time and again until it has been mastered.
Inspire Organic Learning
A love of learning is a wonderful thing for any child to experience, and home education allows you to bring knowledge naturally into every aspect of your lives. Children can apply their learning to everyday situations and events, and be encouraged to see a possibility to learn in every circumstance, not merely within the confines of a classroom setting. This can also be useful to learn about non-traditional subjects, such as digital skills like graphic design and video editing, household management and budgeting, as well as activities such as gardening to learn about nutrition. Learning is given a real-life application, and this has the potential to foster and encourage the natural curiosity in your child.
The Cons Of Home Education
As with any decision, there are disadvantages involved with the choice to home educate.
Time Commitment Involved In Home Schooling
Homeschooling requires a considerable time sacrifice on behalf of the parents. Not only does someone need to be around all day to actually teach the lessons, but there are also commitments involved in driving the child from activity to activity and making sure that all aspects of the education are attended to, such as adequate socialisation. Making sure that your child receives a fully balanced and well-rounded education requires a huge amount of time and energy, and this can be hard going on parents as they are essentially on call for 24 hours a day.
Cost Of Home Schooling
As we have discussed, home education requires a significant commitment from parents, and this includes a financial sacrifice. The demands of homeschooling often require at least one parent to be home all day in order to take care of necessities, and this can mean that the family is down one income.
Opportunities For Socialisation
One of the major disadvantages to home education can be the lack of opportunities for your child to socialise. In a classroom setting, children have multiple opportunities to interact and work collaboratively with their peers, and this offers a unique style of learning which has proven to be effective. While the opportunities for home educated children to socialise and work with others in the same boat are increasing, the system still lacks that instant interaction which can be so beneficial for pupils and their learning.
Fear Of Falling Behind In Some Subjects
As we have discussed, children who are home educated are not required to follow the National Curriculum. While many parents choose to pursue a structure loosely based on this system, there is a fear and risk that their child may fall behind their peers, and this can result in a considerable pressure to keep up with expected targets and levels. This can particularly be the case if there is a tendency to spend longer on some subjects than others; there is always a risk that this will mean less time spent on those topics which are less favoured, and this can result in a less well-rounded education.
Education is an essential part of any child life, and it is crucial that any decisions made surrounding their learning are well researched and thoroughly considered. Home education has both advantages and disadvantages, and may not be suitable for every child and type of learner. On the other hand, it can help some pupils to blossom and thrive, giving them the freedom to pursue their own strengths and passions, and discover a love for learning they may not have previously enjoyed. It is up to the individual parent and learner to weigh these up and decide the best course of action for each learner.