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The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

The Cons
Time Restraints. There's no way around it: learning outside of a school environment can consume a lot of mom or dad's time. Most folks visualize that time being spent at the kitchen table with textbooks and worksheets, but for most families, that's not the case. My family has never gone that route, choosing hands-on experiences and interesting activities as learning tools, instead. However, planning, driving to, and participating in those activities (or waiting for them to be over) constitute the bulk of my day. And that can be very draining.

As a single homeschooling mom, Mickey wrote to say that single parents who homeschool their kids face even greater time restraints: "We have to be very creative in our timing because I work and homeschool. Luckily, I work close to home and have a lot of time off, but it's still a challenge."

Financial Restraints. For married parents, one partner often foregoes full-time employment out of the home in order to homeschool. This can be a big sacrifice for families who are struggling to balance their budget. Surprisingly, most homeschooling families believe that the brief loss of income is well worth the satisfaction of watching their kids grow and learn in freedom.

Being with Your Kids 24/7. There's no denying it — if you choose to homeschool, you're going to be with your kids most of the time. If you don't enjoy being together, then homeschooling is not for you. While it can sometimes be difficult, most homeschool parents view their daily interactions with their kids — the ups as well as the downs — as opportunities for personal and familial growth.

Limited Team Sports. While community sports activities fill the void for younger kids, teens often find limited opportunities to join sports teams, especially competitive ones. Depending on where you live, homeschoolers may or may not be welcome to participate on teams with their public-schooled peers. Several parents did mention that a few families overcame this problem by creating their own teams.

Living Outside the Norm. Like any activity that challenges mainstream thinking, homeschooling may be seen as an oddity at best, or even as a threat to those who are unable to accept ordinary parents succeeding where trained professionals often fail. My family has developed a bit of a tough exterior over the years, but negative comments and criticisms still filter in occasionally. If you are unable to live "outside of the box," then homeschooling is not for you.

One Last Pro
Although this list is by no means comprehensive, it does provide an accurate overview of the pros and cons of the homeschooling lifestyle. But I did save one of the best "pros" (from Bev) for last: "When you need a hug, there's always one to be found!"



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