Disadvantages of Homeschooling

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The number of parents choosing to homeschool their children is growing rapidly. There are many reasons why, but safety as well as religious concerns are at the top of the list. Many parents want the freedom to decide what curriculum their children will study as well as control the environment in which they learn. However justified, these concerns do not negate the reality that homeschooling can have long-term effects on children that are not positive.

1 Narrow Academic Focus

Parents have basically two choices when it comes to selecting a curriculum. They can sign up with their local school district and use the curriculum already adopted, or they can choose from the many homeschool programs that exists. Many of these are faith-based. Parents having religious concerns generally prefer this type of program. Whatever the curriculum type, if it is taught by one parent, the focus is inherently narrow. That is, the parent's viewpoint supersedes any other opinion. For the short-term, this might be alright. In the long run, students will be at a disadvantage if they go to college. Having many professors with numerous opinions may be confusing.

2 Limited Social Exposure

There are organizations that help homeschooling families have outside learning experiences like field trips. This does not provide the amount of social exposure that maturing children need. Parents may not like the lack of control they have over a school's environment . They also will not be able to choose who their children associate with at school. However, children need to have time away from the security of home to learn how to adjust. They need to learn that situations will arise in which they may not get their way. Time spent away from immediate family is when they can learn the art of compromise and getting along. Homeschooling with siblings provides this to an extent, but not in the same way because brothers and sister have the same prior experiences. This will not be true of all classmates at school.

3 Poor Preparedness

Most colleges will make provisions for allowing the homeschooled child to attend their institutions. They may be allowed to take entrance tests or be admitted based on academic performance and/or SAT/ACT scores. Getting into college will not be too challenging. But staying and succeeding may not be as easy. There is the immediate adjustment of living away from home on a regular basis. Even if they are able to live by themselves, students will have to live within the college environment with others. This will be a huge change from the sheltered home school life. Then there is the academic struggle. Students may have excelled in homeschool studies, but unless their instructor has been a trained teacher or other highly qualified lay person, they may not be able to make the structural adjustments necessary. These include note taking, writing and extensive studying.

4 Lack of Opportunities

Homeschool students will not have the same access to certain benefits that their public school counterparts do. Counselors work hard to find scholarships for which students may be eligible. They are privy to information on how to secure financial help via sources unknown to most home school parents. Again, there may be a few exceptions, but most homeschooled children will miss out on opportunities to go to the best schools or secure financial and career help through college.

5 Significance

The disadvantages of homeschooling outweigh any benefits. The short-term convenience and control that the parents have now will not mean much compared to the problems their children will face in the future. Being prepared for adult life, in general, is not easy for anyone. It will prove to be much more daunting for children who has been sheltered, controlled and regimented within narrow constraints that do not in any way mirror the real world.

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.