Homeschooling - Benefits and Have You Ever Considered It?

Updated on October 14, 2011
D.D. asks from Phoenix, AZ
11 answers

My kids attend public school. But I have thought about homeschooling - albeit I don't know much about it except that I would be the teacher--with them all day--and trying to educate them. We don't have religious beliefs that preclude us from participating in the public school system. But what are the benefits versus public school, in your view? Is it hard being a teacher to more than one child in different grades? I may ETA later with more q's later after a few responses. TIA.

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answers from Lincoln on

I also have a great deal of respect for anyone who home schools b/c I know I would be terrible. I don't have the discipline to teach him everything he needs all day long. I would be too hard on myself that perhaps I wasn't doing a good enough job. My son has blossomed since he started school and I think the social interaction has helped him so much. It's just him and me and home school would be WAY too much time together. For me, it takes a village. :-)

Good luck!

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answers from Phoenix on

I have accepted that I'm NOT smarter than my 6th grader OR my 3rd grader so no way would I homeschool! I think they not only benefit from teachers who KNOW how to teach them, but also the social aspect of school. I think you should only consider it if you really know a good deal about every subject and think you actually could be home with them all day AND to make sure they get out enough with their peers also. Good luck.

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answers from Los Angeles on

my SIL have home schooled. Their kids finished their school work by noon. It gave them a lot of flexibility in the day. They did outings and had lots more play time. Granted they were a brother/sister competing to complete school work before the other so that won't be the case for all.
My other SIL did it because of a move and didn't want to change schools mid year. Her boy fell behind and scored much worse than expected in math. Not a real go getter and still is not. Scholastically it can go either way. Socially, they are all fine. And yes, it took a whole lot of dedication on mom's part.

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answers from New York on

No way would I homeschool. Teachers go through lots of training and although I could certainly do a proficient job, that is not my profession. I am a mother. And yes, I do teach my son but in a different way. It's good to have other people in your child's life who are more impartial than you are. I think this is especially true if your child needs some extra services for any kind of special needs. Also, let's keep it real, it's good for everyone to have some time away from eachother.

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answers from Flagstaff on

I am a certified teacher but a SAHM, and yes from time to time I've considered homeschooling. Home schooled children are often advanced academically since they have one-on-one education. However, one thing has always held me back. There are things kids learn in school that are not on the academic curriculum. These include the dynamics of crowds, how to wait politely, respecting authority, and there are more. These are things that home schooled children can't learn, so when they go out in the workplace where we have to deal with this every day, how will they get along.

I did home school my oldest daughter for geometry because it wasn't offered at the Jr. High. It was tough because kids (especially early teens) don't like to listen to their parents and treat their parents differently than they do a teacher. Good luck. I know this is a tough decision for you. Do what's best for you and your child. I know it's different for everyone as each child is unique.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I love HSing my kids. To address a few myths:
1. you don't have to be smarter than an X-grader. You want to teach them to learn so they can be successful at whatever they are learning. And there is a strong HS community out there if you do need help in any one area.
2. You do not formally teach your kids all day long. A few hours at most. There is no sitting with books open for 7 hours for us or most of the HS families I know.

I have many opinions, but will stop there!

ETA: I just MUST address Cris' comment of "There are things kids learn in school that are not on the academic curriculum. These include the dynamics of crowds, how to wait politely, respecting authority, and there are more. These are things that home schooled children can't learn, so when they go out in the workplace where we have to deal with this every day, how will they get along." Whenever I am out and in the midst of school groups, I cannot say I consistently see them pleasantly affecting the dynamic of a group, respecting authority or waiting politely. HS kids absolutely can and do learn these things. A school environment does NOT mimic a workplace at all. HS kids often get to enter a work environment earlier to pursue their passions and learn how to interact in a healthy, respectful way. I also do not know any HS kids that stay home all the time. HSers get out there and experience life and group dynamics. The socialization argument is not valid!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I could never do it. I am that mom that the kids go look, the sun is shining! Yes it is, lets go to the park. Then I wake up they are 18 and still don't know how to read. :(

I have a lot of respect for those that homeschool. I could never do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I homeschooled 2 of my kids, my DD from k-2nd, she's in 3rd now and doing very well in public school and is very social and happy. and DS from 2nd-5th, he's still home with me because he was wait listed for open enrollment at the school we wanted him in.

I use an online school because the material is provided and I know I am meeting state standards and not leaving out things. It also means my kids technically go to public school and makes the transition easier later and less paper work and work on my end to legally homeschool.

I think there are good reasons to do it and good reasons not to. Depends on the kid. DD has done really really well. Great grades so far, tons of friends, wants to be involved in everything ect. Confident and smart as can be. Her entering school at age 8 allowed her to start a new building when all the other 3rd graders were new to the building as well, and it's a good age before girls get mean and peer pressure really starts to be popular and such.

Now DS is home because he has trouble with school and struggles. i worry that him starting public school in 6th grade next fall will be tough when it comes to friends. It's a tough age and middle school is tough, and if it doesn't go well he might come back home, time will tell.

It is doable and it's great to be able to spend that time with them. I alone taught my DD to read, I think that's neat.

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answers from Phoenix on

This is one of those topics that everyone has an opinion whether or not they've actually done it. I suggest doing some research (evidence-based studies) that show some of the benefits/disadvantages of each. Of course, it's personally different for everyone but some of the overall facts will be there. That is what I did before deciding to homeschool. One the studies that impacted me the most stated that girls' self-esteem decreases by 80% by the time they finish high school and boys 60%, mostly from school-based experiences.
I started homeschooling my 2 kids this year and absolutely love it and they love it too. Here are some of my experiences:
-I used to think that I would never have the patience to homeschool. This turned out to be completely untrue (we find a lot of excuses or just underestimate our abilities).
-I was afraid of not having time for myself. False. I still find and make time.
-My kids had previously attended charter and public schools. I always volunteered in their classes. I found that many teachers were bullies or treated the children in less than ideal ways (nothing reprimandable just subtle ignoring or negative comments, excessive yelling, etc). I understand they have a difficult job but it was discomforting. These were top-rated schools btw.
-My kids are now much better behaved and appear happier. Maybe it's because they don't have as many adults with different rules/expectations in their day
-The homeschooled kids I've met are very sociable and well behaved (usually even better so that regularly schooled kids).
-You're not completely on your own. You follow a set curriculum but you do need the discipline to actually do it.
-You don't need a teaching degree or to be a genius. I'm sure my oldest has a higher IQ that me (and than all of his previous school teachers) but the curriculums are detailed enough anyone of average intelligence can follow them,
-Homeschooled kids can still learn dynamics of crowds (school is not the only environment that allows for this), how to wait politely, respect authority, etc. You just have more control of how they learn this.
-Classroom sizes are too big for kids to get enough individual attention and have customized learning experiences.
-Arizona has many resources for homeschooling.
I have found that there are very few homeschooling mamas and kids who don't love the experience. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I home school my kids (11 and 5). It has been already 4 years. I suggest you to check out the web site of HSLDA and you will find more information about it from legal aspects to home schooling itself. You will not be "trying" to educate your children if you decide seriously to teach them and educate them. For this you have many, many resources out there, many curricula of any kind. First of all, you need to know why you want to home school your kids, and what you want them to learn, your goals, your style and their learning style, and then start from there. There are different ways to prepare your school day, some moms are flexible, unschooled and relaxed and others follow a schedule, a course plan and a specific curriculum, like me. However, flexibility is the nice thing H.. You choose your curriculum, or mix different, or make your own from different resources (library, internet, Abeka, Kolbe, curriculum from a PS....yeah the have it too) etc., you attend activities, sports or field trips in hours when many other kids are in the classroom. If you have to travel, just do it and make it up later. You choose the schedule or time. But keep in mind that every state has its own rules. You can find out that for your state in HSLDA. In my state I have to teach 1,000 hours/year, 600 in basics (Reading, Math,Science,English,Soc. Studies, etc) and 400 hrs. in other subjects of your election (Religion, languages, cooking, gardening etc.) and I have to keep a log or proof of attendance, school work samples of my children, etc. So it takes time, commitment and a sense of responsibility if you want to do it right. Home schooling is hard since as you said, you are the teacher and the mom, that mommy part is always there and you add the teaching part which takes a lot of time and change your priorities and your life, not only as a mom but as woman, as a family. I made the decision and I feel happy. It is not easy, but very very doable even for those who say: "Oh I could never do that"..or "I don't have patience"..You don't need patience you need to have real reasons to home school your kids and never forget them. You just need to think what you want for them not only now but for their future.
More benefits? One to one (2,3,4,5,6 children) in the "class (your kitchen, a special and cute place in the house, library, study room, park, whenever), no 20. Plenty of time to teach what the kids do not master, and practice it until they get it; more breaks between subjects; flexibility as I said before; learning is everywhere, and the kids learn to love what they do, what they are studying and they jump from their beds to sit at the table to study. You can teach whatever you want besides the basic, I want my children to know more than basics. I am sure there will be more moms who can tell you much more.
Good luck on your decision, but think a lot about it and do your research, do not believe in the "myth" of lack of socialization, because does NOT exist, and believe in your decision and your kids.
****UPDATED*** I am sorry, but I totally disagree with Cris. Home schooled kids CAN be polite, wait patiently and participate in the "dynamics of crowds"; respect authority and get along , lets say, in a more socialized environment. As in any other school (public or private) there are kids with the above problems and among home schoolers BUT this only depend ON HOW YOU EDUCATE your children. This is part of socialization (or socializing??) and as I said earlier in my answer is JUST A MYTH. I am very proud of my kids, wherever we go I get compliments about their behavior and how social and polite they are, and not just mine, I have SEEN many other home schoolers who really behave very well and manage themselves in different environment and situations. Home schoolers are not odd or just "weird" people, they are normal, active and respectful children.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I am a nationally board certified teacher and now a stay-at-home mother of a 2 year old. I get asked all the time if I am planning to home school her, and the truth is, I don't know! So I am glad to see this post. Here are the things bouncing around my mind on the topic:
-Would my daughter listen to me? As it is now, she allows me to teach her if I use puppets as the teachers. With older kids, I always told struggling parents of my class to literally put on their "teacher hat" (a silly hat they wear when doing school work with their child), so their child would observe the shift in role from parent to teacher.
-Would I be able to socially meet her needs?
-It is important for children to learn to deal with authority figures other than their parents. Yes, I can take her to gymnastics or music, etc, but I am still involved in that. She needs to learn to listen to others w/o my being present. I know that home school parents can form groups, and one parent could teach a subject or theme to the whole group. Something like that would be good.
-What happens when middle and high school start? At this age, she may choose to start traditional school b/c of the extracurricular activities or just plain curiosity....what kind of transition would it take for her to be successful in a large middle or high school after being home all these years?
-Charter schools are really good in my area, and these are viable options to consider. I believe in public education, but I want my daughter to stay challenged. I can already tell she will have behavior issues if she is bored or misunderstood by a "bad teacher."
-Agreed (with all the previous posts), one does not have to know a content intimately to teach it well, though it's certainly a plus. A good teacher facilitates learning, uses inquiry methods for example to allow the learner to explore new concepts, models the self-discipline to follow through, etc. However, it is worth noting that I appreciate my own upbringing of having different teachers, different experts, different styles, different methods, different personalities to learn with, etc.

Bottom line: I think it depends a great deal on the learner. For my daughter, the jury's still out!

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