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Pros and Cons of Homeschooling: Is Homeschooling Good or Bad

Famous People Who Were Homeschooled

While homeschooling has long been a topic of controversy, it’s interesting to note that laws requiring compulsory education in America were not introduced until 1852. Prior to that, most American children were taught at home; homeschooled students were successful, and the effectiveness of homeschooling was never in question. In fact, some of the best writers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and political leaders of all time were homeschooled. Countless famous people were homeschooled at one point or another in their lifetime and include Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Dickens, Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Robert Frost, William F. Buckley, Irving Berlin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Leonardo da Vinci. The list of successful homeschoolers is literally endless.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

~Albert Einstein

Ups and Downs of Homeschooling

Ups and Downs of Homeschooling

Ups and Downs of Homeschooling

Homeschooling and Public School

Schooling at home is certainly not new, but the modern-day homeschooling movement is still pioneering its own way, especially due to technology. Homeschooling remained a virtually underground operation until the 1970’s. In 1983, tax regulations for Christian schools were changed as a result of legal disputes. Thousands of private Christian schools lost their tax-exempt status and chose to increase the cost of tuition in order to balance their budgets. This added tuition cost forced many families away from private schools and resulted in many of these schools shutting their doors. Many of those private-school families made the choice to teach their children at home, and homeschooling numbers soared to record highs. Homeschooling numbers continue to increase at about eleven percent a year and are projected to increase because of improved technology and virtual classrooms.

In the first place God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.

~ Mark Twain

Reason for Homeschooling: NCES Statistics From 1999

Reason for HomeschoolingNumber of Homeschooled StudentsPercent of Homeschooled Students

Better education at home



Religious reason(s)



Poor environment at school



Family reason(s)



To teach character/morality



Object to school teachings



School not challenging



Problem(s) with available schools



Child has special needs or disability



Transportation and convenience



Child too young to enter school



Parent's career necessitates



Denied enrollment in desired school



Other reasons not listed



All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.

~Sir Walter Scott

Alternative Education

Sometimes neither public education nor homeschooling is the option. There are other options available. These alternative choices include:

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Homeschooling Advantages

The Pros of Homeschooling

  • Many homeschooled students have the choice to study and learn about topics that interest them and to spend as much time on it as they like. While online courses and certain states have restrictive requirements, the majority of homeschooled children still enjoy greater choice and curricular freedom to explore topics of interest, often referred to as natural learning.
  • Parents often say that their homeschooled children experience a sense of freedom, because they are no longer tethered to the school calendar and homework requirements. This added freedom allows parents greater flexibility in scheduling vacations and other activities.
  • Public schools are riddled with bullies and bad influences. Homeschooled students are shielded from fickle fashion trends, drugs, violence, and sex.
  • Competition and peer pressure are all part of a typical school day for many students. Homeschooled students don’t have to deal with the negative aspects of public schools.
  • Many families feel their religious beliefs are infringed upon or not taught at all. Homeschooling eliminates this possibility and provides additional opportunities to either completely remove religion from the curriculum or to incorporate religion into education.
  • Homeschooling allows students to get more sleep. More and more studies are concluding that some students, especially teens and preteens, are not getting enough sleep because of rigorous schedules.
  • Homeschooled children often accomplish the same amount of work in only a few hours, because so much of the day, in a public school, is spent on nonacademic tasks.
  • Homeschooled children often find that they have no homework or that they can flex that work into the next day.
  • Teachers are often criticized for assigning busy work, work that provides the teacher with extra time to grade papers and do lesson plans. Homeschooled students don’t have to do this busy work.
  • Homeschooled children can progress slowly or quickly and more according to their ability level.
  • Many people are displeased with public schools. While private schools typically have a better reputation, they are often expensive. Homeschooling curriculum and resources cost less than a tenth of tuition at most private schools.
  • Nutrition is an important part of a child’s development. Cafeteria foods are often undesirable, so they are often left uneaten. That means that parents are often packing lunches for their children. When a child is homeschooled, nobody needs to worry about packing lunches.
  • Many homeschooled students do better on standardized tests, as much as thirty-seven percent better according to one study. Study after study confirms that homeschooling averages typically exceed those of public schools.
  • Studies indicate that public school performance gaps between minority students and genders are significant and consistent. Homeschooled performance gaps are almost non-existent. Race and gender do not appear to be a factor when looking at standardized test results among homeschooled students.
  • Homeschooling opponents typically claim that students who are homeschooled have a harder time getting into college or getting a job, but studies do not necessarily confirm this. In fact several studies show just the opposite. In a recent Canadian study, homeschooled students ended up earning more money as adults. The same study concluded that homeschooled students were far, far less likely to receive government assistance in the future.

Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.

~Mark Twain

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Homeschooling Cons

The Cons of Homeschooling

  • Homeschooling can be a difficult, full-time job. It takes time to research, prepare, set up, clean up, organize, and teach. Unless your child is completely independent, expect homeschooling your child to be a highly time-consuming activity.
  • Homeschooling typically requires one spouse to be at home, foregoing full-time employment. This can be a big financial sacrifice for families.
  • While a public education has few additional costs beyond your regular taxes, there may be many costs associated with homeschooling.
  • Homeschooled children are often placed in public education at some point in their academic career. Course credits often become a significant issue when these homeschooled children are placed in middle schools and high schools.
  • Homeschooled children typically miss out on socialization. Being with adults or siblings isn’t a substitute for time spent with peers, and homeschooled children are often looked at as pariahs or outcasts.
  • Parents and children often quarrel when they spend too much time with each other, because homeschooling can also result in stress.
  • It’s easy to neglect lessons and put off education in order to make time for daily activities. Teachers often say, “Homeschooling means no schooling.” Homeschooling requires intense dedication.
  • While an approved curriculum is required in some places, many parents neglect to make sure their children are studying material that is age appropriate or essential. This kind of homeschooling is sometimes called unschooling, because many parents tend to believe in a curriculum-free education or one that is based solely on student interests and likes. Unschooling often results in future academic deficiencies.
  • Homeschoolers have no real way of knowing if they are behind or ahead of other children unless standardized tests are administered.
  • Homeschoolers are often unable to participate in after-school sports and clubs. When they are able to do so, they are still often treated as outsiders.
  • Parents may be unable to address the needs of gifted children or students with special needs.
  • Family crises often result in lax supervision of homeschooled children. This isn’t the case when children attend school.
  • Many people report that it is harder for their children to get into college when they have been homeschooled. While many homeschooled children do quite well on college entrance exams, others find that their homeschooling has put them behind their peers. Even with high test scores, some colleges frown upon homeschooling. While several Internet sites provide lists of colleges that accept homeschooled children, none seem to indicate the likelihood of this occurring.
  • Many people report that it is harder to get a job after finishing their homeschooled years. When an employer sees that a student has been homeschooled up until high school, many employers assume this means that the child dropped out of school.
  • While it is true that SAT scores are typically higher for homeschooled students, studies confirm that the average child in a public school comes from a poorer home environment. Because of this, it’s difficult to really state that the reason homeschooled children do better on standardized tests is solely due to improved educational opportunities. Many argue that these same students would excel both in public schools and on standardized tests.

Public schools were designed as the great equalizers of our society - the place where all children could have access to educational opportunities to make something of themselves in adulthood.

~Janet Napolitano

Homeschooling and Socialization

What do you think about homeschooling?

idratherbe on March 13, 2012:

Very informative hub, voted up. This will definately answer a lot of questions for parents considering home schooling.

arizonataylor (author) from Arizona on February 16, 2012:

You're absolutely right. Socialization is one of the primary concerns of homeschooling. Fewer and fewer people are discussing the academic differences. Instead, the discussion often revolves around socialization, sports, and extracurricular opportunities.

Thank you for your great response.

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on February 16, 2012:

I taught in a private Christian school for 14 years. For a long time I really did not approve of homeschooling. After learning more about it, for the most part, I think it's a viable option for many families. The pros and cons you point out are quite valid. My biggest cons are a lack of "real" socialization away from parents and not being able to participate in extracurricular sports and music activities.

A friend of mine has always homeschooled her 10-year-old daughter. This sweet girl meets with other homeschoolers once a week for 4 hours in a group setting. Other than that, she never talks with friends on the phone, visits friends or has them visit her, has never slept-over or had a friend sleep over, had no tea parties with peers and never been to a birthday party without her parents. I think this child may come to resent her parents for (at least some) of this when she grows up.

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