Homeschooling is a great fit for many families but it does not come without disadvantages and challenges along the way. Below are common challenges faced by homeschooling families and ideas to overcome them.
It’s important to note that while these are viewed as some of the common disadvantages of homeschooling, they are outweighed by the many advantages a homeschool has to offer!
What are the disadvantages of homeschooling? Is there negative effects of homeschooling?
- Limited alone time
- Full academic responsibility
- Household management
- Homeschool costs
- Finding curriculum
- Homeschooling multiple children
- Finding support
- Helping struggling learners
- Stressful days
Homeschooling limits alone time
Homeschooling leaves little, if any, time during the day for a parent to be alone or have a stretch of quiet time. We love our kids, but it can get to be overwhelming at times.
Homeschool parents feel the pressure to be “on” in both roles of parenting and teaching and it can lead to fatigue quickly.
Homeschooling families have to create systems and boundaries for school, free time and family time. It’s important for parents to have a support system of family or friends who can be called upon when you just need to take a break and recharge!
Homeschooling academic responsibility
The weight of managing all academics for your children can have the negative effect of feeling like a heavy burden at times.
Some parents may feel pressure to cover more content areas in-depth or worry about instructional gaps.
Full academic responsibility is a positive as it allows you to choose and implement material based on the needs of your family, but it can also feel overwhelming at times.
It helps to remember that homeschooling allows each child’s educational journey to be different and unique based on their strengths and interests. This often allows them to tap into those interests earlier and use them to successfully navigate adulthood.
Managing household and homeschool
Maintaining a household and keeping everything in your day-to-day life together can be difficult in and of itself. Homeschooling students on top of all of this can be very challenging!
Keeping a routine yet flexible schedule helps this situation for most homeschool families. Also, involving your children in household duties is part of routines and teaching responsibility.
Self-doubt when homeschooling
It’s hard to avoid self-doubt along the homeschooling journey, especially on the most challenging days.
At these times, you need a network of like-minded people. People who understand the benefits and challenges of homeschooling and can offer encouragement or support.
Homeschooling co-ops are groups that meet for both parents and students to form friendships and a network of support.
There are costs associated with homeschooling and it’s an important consideration for families.
For families who need an all-in-one comprehensive curriculum and different materials for multiple children, the expense can add up quickly. For working families who have to rely on additional help from sitters or tutors, homeschooling has to be considered in the monthly budget.
It is possible to save money on homeschooling and find materials for free but it’s not an option for every family and situation. These costs have to be considered so that finances do not become an additional burden for your family.
Finding homeschool curriculum
Ask any homeschooling parent… Finding homeschool curriculum is fun for about the first hour of research! Then it becomes a bottomless pit of choices and quickly leads to overwhelm!
It’s a good problem that so many curriculum choices exist, but sometimes parents regret a big curriculum purchase when they find out it just doesn’t work for them.
A good way to approach finding homeschool curriculum is to first start small and use free samples to help guide decisions.
As an example, below is an entire set of the mathematics series, Life of Fred.
Perhaps you researched and this series met a lot of criteria that suited your child (math integrated with stories for a strong reader, a preference for non-secular curriculum, a physical book with answers) but it wouldn’t make sense to purchase an entire set. Instead, you can find a sample chapter to start or buy one book and test it out.
The mistake many people make with curriculum is buying too much, too soon and it leads to stress when it’s not a good fit. It’s better to start small, sample, and make decisions along the way rather than all at once.
Homeschooling multiple children
Taking care of and raising multiple children at the same time is a difficult task for most. When you begin to also school multiple children, it can become overwhelming and a lot to handle.
Keeping track of different curriculum materials, records and academic standings is a task that requires organization and good time management.
You could consider a paid resource that provides planning, organization and record keeping tools such as Homeschool Planet.
Using organizational systems for records and curriculum, either hard copy or electronically, help with managing multiple children. Homeschool Toolbox has articles posted that give great ideas for this topic.
Homeschool support system
Homeschool is becoming more and more mainstream but people who don’t have any frame of reference for it can say things that are hurtful. Unfortunately, you may find that former friends may cut you off once they learn that you are doing school from home.
As mentioned above, a co-op or finding a network of people who understand the ins and outs of homeschooling is a benefit to both parents and students. It helps everyone to know that they’re others who have chosen a similar path and share common beliefs about learning at home.
Homeschooling struggling learners
Helping the student who struggles, whether it’s academics or behavior, can be stressful in and of itself. This child will need more of your time and additional resources to be successful. It can try your patience!
Parents can be reassured that this form of schooling provides a struggling learner with a safe and comfortable environment where they can work through the challenges. In a traditional classroom, kids who struggle may shy away from asking for help for fear of embarrassment or being singled out.
Struggling learners often need the extra time and flexible schedule to work at their own pace that a homeschooling environment provides.
Stressful homeschool days
Any homeschooling parent will tell you that homeschooling does not come without stressful days! Especially if one child is sick or the routine is interrupted. There are those days where it feels like everyone needs extra attention and parents are running on fumes.
The great thing about homeschooling is there is always the option to take a break or take a day off!
Homeschooling has advantages and disadvantages that every family should consider as they seek the best educational fit for their children and lifestyle.