With public schools in the U.S facing historic issues like teacher shortages and falling test scores, there has been a trend towards homeschooling in recent years as parents search for a better education for their young ones.
In fact, according to the National Home Education Research Institute, there were over 2.5 million homeschooled students in the U.S during 2019 and that number is increasing by around 4% each year.
The National Center For Education Statistics also found that 91% of homeschooled students had parents who said that a concern about the environment of public schools was an important reason for homeschooling their child. These newfound supportive attitudes towards homeschooling are in part because of a campaign by homeschooling organizations to advertise and pay for studies that support the practice.
Still, there are a number of reasons to choose public or private schools instead of homeschools. From proper socialization to building independence, public schools offer a lot of unique advantages.
Children need to forge their own paths and experience the world independently, homeschooling can often hold them back from doing just that. So today we are going to discuss three reasons not to homeschool.
Socialization Is Vital
When it comes to homeschooling vs. private or public school, the issue isn’t the quality of education. Rather, the number one reason to choose regular school over homeschool is to improve your child’s socialization and emotional development.
There are a lot of studies out there, many of which are paid for by homeschooling organizations, that cherry-pick small amounts of homeschooled students in order to illustrate their ‘superiority’ to public school students. Be careful of falling for these studies.
Not only do they use students from higher-income families as a basis of comparison, they often fudge numbers to make things look better for homeschooling organizations who fund their studies.
For example, Richard G. Medlin of Stetson University used a total of two, self-selected, 6th-grade homeschool students to draw conclusions about a population of over 2.5 million and their socialization. That’s bad science, to say the least.
The reality is we all know how vital socialization is, and we all know that the only way to get it is to be with your peer group. It’s really tragic to read the thousands of stories of homeschoolers on Reddit who are begging to get out of their current situation so they can be with their peers in a normal school. Just listen to Bethany Ramos, who was homeschooled herself as a child, discuss why she won’t homeschool her children:
“While homeschooling has the potential to cultivate exceptional intelligence, the social and emotional intelligence aspect is sorely lacking. Yes, we went to church activities with other kids. Yes, we had friends whom we met in homeschool groups. Yes, plenty of children who are homeschooled join competitive sports teams, dance classes, math leagues and the like.
But what about the other six hours in the day when we were confined to the house with my frazzled and frustrated mother? Instead of being allowed to spend time in a conventional classroom with a dozen other students of different genders, races, backgrounds and belief systems, my worldview was shaped by the four other people in my family.”
Homeschooling Is Time-Consuming and Difficult
If your child’s emotional development and socialization aren’t enough to convince you to go with public or private school over homeschool, then maybe the time constraints and difficulty of the practice might.
Homeschooling is only a viable option for families where at least one parent doesn’t work. That’s because you will need to spend 8 hours a day teaching your children. If you don’t there could be legal consequences. That’s right homeschooling isn’t do what you want, when you want, there are legal obligations that differ depending on your state.
Some states require registration with a local school district and even in-home inspection or exams to test education levels. That means if you were thinking of just teaching your child whatever you wanted, think again. Every child in the U.S has a required curriculum that includes the basics like math, English, science, history, etc. Teaching these subjects to your unruly child isn’t as easy as you may think.
The reality is a majority of homeschool moms end up resenting their duties as a teacher—especially moms who homeschool starting a young age. Don’t believe me? Just listen to the horror stories of this homeschooling mom from Renegademothering.com. There are thousands more like it all over the internet.
“So I have this kid who would rather stab himself in the eye than do schoolwork and this toddler who would rather stab him in the eye too, and neither of them are budging and the moments are crawling and we’re making no progress and my patience is waning and I’m trying to keep a 6-year old engaged and a toddler away from him and not dead and I am failing on every front and putting out fires as they come. and BOOM! One minute I blow. I can’t fucking take it.”
Independence and Getting Used To A Lifetime Of Structured Environments
Unless your child ends up being a UFC fighter or a stripper the rest of their lives will be spent in structured environments away from the home. Work, school, clubs, events, the majority of modern life is spent in environments like school. That’s why putting your child in public or private school and getting them used to the experience is so vital.
Many homeschooling parents argue they offer structured environments when they go out to meet with church groups or go to homeschooling events. However, as Bethany Ramos discussed in her experience as a homeschooler, the other six-plus hours of the day are going to be spent at home, with only your family as a company. That doesn’t lead to feeling comfortable in structured environments.
Also, building independence as a homeschooled student is exceedingly difficult. If your mom has taught you everything you know, it can be difficult to break that connection and go out into the world on your own. Don’t rob your children of their independence because of your fears about the quality of education they may receive.
I understand that many homeschool parents are worried that public schools just don’t offer their children the best outcomes, but that’s where private schools like Cadence Education come in, not homeschooling which robs so much from young children. Private schools offer enhanced curriculum, superior academic results and the socialization that your child really needs.
All in all, homeschooling may be the answer for some parents, but the majority simply don’t have the time and energy. Even those who do may want to question whether they should. Kids need to be with their peers, not just for socialzation and to develop independence, but just for their own enjoyment.
Homeschooling may be the answer for some families, but for the vast majority, public or private schools are the answer.