The previous information about home schooling is what is so often published to try to sway you to home school your children, but are they being up front and honest, telling you everything that you need to know? Of course, many of you already know that the answer to that question is no. You need to be aware of the bad things that come along with home schooling, so that you can make the best decision for both you and your child.
While I can't argue that it's best to make an informed decision, considering both positives and negatives, I'm not convinced that those who support homeschooling are failing to be "up front and honest" or are not "telling you everything that you need to know." In most cases, parents considering homeschooling seem to be well aware of the downside of homeschooling, particularly the issues mentioned by the author. Still, let's give this person the benefit of the doubt.
You need to remember that your child’s academic success or failure will weigh solely on your shoulders, so if you slip, if you don’t assign homework, or if you don’t make him do his homework, or settle down long enough to learn, then you are to blame. You have to be certain that your child stays on the same academic level as his peers, and if he isn’t do whatever it takes to get and keep him there.
This is a very significant point. However, the assumption here is that it's difficult to "be certain that your child stays on the same academic level as his peers." In truth, there are few homeschoolers who don't accomplish at least that much. In many cases simply turning off the TV and video games and allowing the child to explore his or her world will allow that child to stay at the public school's academic level. Adding an hour or so of reading aloud to the child and some time interacting over grocery shopping or baking can provide what most children need in terms of math, science, and history during the first 4 to 6 years of their education. CAN you do more? Of course! Do you NEED to do more to keep your child up with their peers? Probably not.
On the other hand, homeschooling does require that parents make deliberate choices about whether kids need to "keep up with" their peers or not. It also does require that parents do whatever it takes to get the child to the parents' own minimum expectations. For us, that means I insist on reading and math, no matter how my children protest. Other families may establish other minimum goals, but the accomplishment of those goals obviously lies entirely on the determination of the parent and the student.
One of the good and possibly bad parts of home schooling is that you get to spend almost all of your time together with your children. This is good in that you develop a closer relationship, and you know what is going on, without having to rely on someone else to nurture and teach your child. The bad part of this is that when your child is having a bad day, or you are having a bad day, you can’t take him to school, go somewhere and relax, and then pick him up later. You have to deal with the tantrums and bad behavior all on your own, so you need to make sure that you have enough patience to do so.
This is one of the biggest things that keeps parents from choosing to homeschool. "Oh, I don't have the patience for that," is what I hear from so many, as if I, the homeschooling mother, had some sort of supernatural patience. In truth, it takes no more patience to homeschool than it does to live with a preschooler. Sure, there are many difficult moments; there are also many highly rewarding moments that help make it worth the cost. See my post on "Homeschooling Secrets" for more on the incredible rewards and benefits of homeschooling.
You also need to remember that teaching your child will become your full time job. Your husband will become the sole source of your family’s income, and you will have to learn how to cut corners to stretch your budget as far as possible. If you can’t live on that budget, or if it will cause undue stress and strain on your marriage, then home schooling may not be the best route to take at this time.
This is not entirely true. Homeschooling does not take up every spare minute of a parent's time. Yes, you may have to give up a full-time job in order to homeschool. But there are many hidden sources of savings in homeschooling, including the lower cost of clothing (both for Mom and for kids), significantly lower meal costs (since you eat out less and use fewer convenience foods), and generally lower transportation costs. Often parents are surprised to discover how much less it costs to live when one parent is home much of the time. In addition, there are many homeschooling parents who work at least part time. I work two part-time jobs (a total of about 15 hours/week) and bring in about $700/month to our home, almost entirely tax-free. And many of my friends work when Dad is home; some even work full-time and arrange homeschooling around that. The budget issue need not be a "deal-breaker" for homeschooling.
You can’t be a pushover for your child; you have to make him do his lessons and his homework, no matter how much he tries to convince you otherwise. No one loves your child like his parents, but you have to be strong enough to make him do the things that are best for him, even if he doesn’t realize it at the time.
Here I can't argue. Unless you're going to "unschool" and let your child run his or her own day, there are going to be times you will have to make your child do what is best for him or her. To me, that is well rewarded by the incredible joy of seeing my children learning, growing, and prospering, and knowing I've been a part of that.
Never underestimate the pride and the thrill you will experience when your child turns to you and says, "I did it! I read the whole book!," or when you hear someone else compliment you on how gentle your pre-teen is with younger children. Those rewards make all the difficulties worth it. And I think THAT'S the homeschooling information you don't hear about!