Homeschool has many benefits and most good parents love it because of the sense of control, like I did. When I began homeschooling, I was extrememly frustrated that there were seemingly NO good options for schooling for my kids!
Opting to homeschool didn’t seem like much of a choice to me because all other options were sub-par that really, in my mind, if I was to be a good mother to my children, homeschooling was THE option.
After homeschooling for a few years, we came to a crossroads that pushed us to re-evaluate the needs of our children. There were some things my kids were missing – and it wasn’t just the social aspect.
To be clear, I love homeschool. I will always cherish the years I got to spend with my kids in our little homeschool room. I loved seeing them learning, being with the family, and showing their curiosity for learning. Homeschool is a great option for many families and if it’s right for you, don’t pass up the opportunity.
However, there are problems, too. Hopefully this post will help you to approach the situation with your eyes wide open. The following reasons are why we chose not to continue to homeschool our kids:
Homeschool Is Too Comfortable!
They say positivity begets positivity. I think the same principle applies here. My kids were comfortable at home and often chose NOT to play with friends. I often heard from my son, “I just felt like coming home”. While this would melt any mama’s heart to hear he son say he would rather be at home than play with a friends, it was an area of concern for us.
I think the easiest way for me to explain it is this: When I struggled with anxiety and situations that, in my mind, were too stressful to go through, like calling people on the phone, showing up to a social event, or having to put forth a little effort to pretend to be happy in front of other people, I chose not to do those things. It was more comfortable for me to opt out of social situations. And the more I opted out, the more the anxiety of having to do those things got stronger and more difficult to push through.
It’s not just social anxiety if they spend a lot of time at home. When you’re in a classroom of one or two (if they have a sibling), then everything is perfect for you. If you hate one curriculum, we switch! If you don’t like a particular writing assignment, we find a more fun one! If you’re clearly just exhausted for the day, we stop! Everything becomes comfortable.
…..Everything is too easy because it can all be customized to the kids needs and they rarely have to push through difficult things that aren’t self-inflicted
The Kids Grow Exhausted with Everything Becoming a Lesson
An eager homeschool parent often tries to tie EVERYTHING into a learning experience. While yes, learning happens ALL THE TIME, parents, like me, make the mistake of making learning a dreaded word when we are constantly interrupting and forcing an answer to exclaim with enthusiasm, “What can we learn from this?!”
This just makes homeschool parents and kids tired of learning and teaching.
Creates Family Feuds
When you have to where both the mom and the teacher hat, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to withhold your criticism of others. An educator is there to point out to the student the time and in which areas they need improving. A mother is there to nurture, encourage, root for, and support the efforts of their children.
I found through homeschooling that I learned to love my children more because I knew their struggles and their successes a little more keenly. But that also meant that when they were not motivated or reaching their potential, I grew impatient, frustrated, and exhausted from worry.
Social Relationships are Skewed
As much as I tried to put my kids in situations where they would have opportunities to work with people outside of our family, it was never enough and disjointed. If you think about us as adults, most EVERY part of our lives involves us working with others and ESPECIALLY our peers. When you take your kids to a co-op, socializing is just something the kids have to endure and only lasts an hour or two. So if the kids don’t like some people in their group, they only have to endure that peer rather than learn how to work with that peer effectively. Co-ops only provide the surface level or what kids need socially. It’s more than just getting time to play with friends.
Socializing with peers outside of family fosters MANY areas of socio-emotional and cognitive development, such as coordinating different points of view, forsaking egocentricity, temperance. Children learn through working with peers strategy, turn-taking, negotiating rule, fair play, cooperation, anger and emotional management, speech, language, and reasoning skills.
Learning those skills takes time and practice; lots and lots of practice.
God put us on the earth and told us make more people. His perfect school for humans is to be around other people. He never intended each family to be separated and without AMPLE community and experience.
Differences in Curriculum Can Create Learning Problems Later
One benefit of an organized education from a private or public school is that the curriculum is consistent all the way through high school.
In home school, it’s easy to do one math curriculum one year, and then switch to another one next year. Since they may teach different ways of figuring out math problems, it can really keep kids from having a continuity in their learning. It’s also difficult to transition back to a different school later.
When I was a kid, I switched schools regularly as we moved from state-to-state. Because some schools taught different topics in different grades, we sometimes missed things. This led to my 30 year-old brother one day announcing that he was going to “Chicago, Iowa” on a business trip. He missed the states/capitals year of school 🙂
Only One Teacher
Most of us remember a few great teachers growing up. Those were the great teachers that made us enjoy or feel confident in a particular topic. If your kids only have one teacher (you), they may not ever experience that.
Being exposed to different points of view can broaden perspective and help kids be prepared to leave the house, live on their own, and govern themselves successfully. Much of being exposed to other points of view can be achieved through reading books and using the internet.
However, there is something to be said about experiencing someones different point of view when it is delivered raw, un-filtered, and maybe unexpectedly. Associating ourselves with a variety of in-person teachers can help…
When Family Time Rolls Around, You’re Already Tired of Being Together
We noticed that we spent less time just having fun as a family when we were homeschooling. Yes, we had TONS of time together, but it was always working on learning. We were ready for something different for play time, which wasn’t always positive.
Sometimes it’s nice for kids to have a teacher and a parent, and to not have those be the same person.
More Expensive – You Still have to Pay for Public School
Unfortunately, if you home school, you still have to pay huge property tax bills and income tax to pay for public schools. So it’s like you’re paying for school twice. There’s no tax break if you don’t use the public education system.
I paid for our homeschooling out of pocket. Many people choose to work with programs that help fund their schooling. These programs, nonetheless, aren’t giving money away for nothing. For that reason, I never liked using the funding programs. The programs require you to work within their parameters and report accordingly like turning in receipts or submitting certain photos at specified deadlines, etc. Homeschooling is already stressful, so needing to report to someone was never appealing to me.
Not Leaving Home
Remember quarantine during the pandemic? It can often feel like that if you get in a rut during homeschool. The winter when it’s cold outside can make it feel like you’re never out of your homeschool room.
This is really just something to be aware of. If you plan to get out and go on field trips often, you can overcome this one.
Making Friends is Tough
We tried so hard to make friends for the kids while we were homeschooling. They had friends from church and the neighborhood, but their buddies all hung out at school and had their own jokes and just spent more time together.
My kids usually felt a bit like outsiders.
Kids Don’t Learn to Work Out Problems with Friends
Working out problems with siblings is different than friends. You can’t stop hanging out with a sibling so you always have to find a way to work it out.
With friends, it’s different. There will be problems, and you have to learn not to write people off all the time, but to stick to a friendship and solve issues. I found that my kids struggled with friends while homeschooled because they kept finding faults in friends that made them “unsuitable.”
Again, this is a problem that can be overcome with some parental coaching, but I have seen it to be an issue.
Always Wondering If You Are Falling Behind
I always had anxiety as a homeschool parent about my kids falling behind. As much as I tried, I never really knew if my instruction was keeping them at pace with or ahead of the public school.
Usually, parents overestimate how their child is doing. Nearly every homeschool parent thinks their kids are getting ahead, but public school teachers who have those kids in their classrooms in future years will often disagree.
Obviously, you can get far ahead while homeschooling. No question. The real problem is the anxiety of knowing if you’re doing enough.
The Kids Were Lonely
This is usually what it comes down to. Most kids love spending lots of time with their parents for homeschool and being in a comfortable, safe, creative environment. Homeschool is wonderful in so many ways.
But over time, kids usually get lonely and lack the companionship of feeling like they are on a team with their peers as they all learn together.
There are many homeschool co-ops and groups and that can help a lot, but for my kids, they still felt lonely.