Choosing to homeschool your child can offer a variety of benefits for both students and their families. Though the homeschooling experience can vary widely, depending on individual circumstances, it is important to consider your student’s academic goals, the benefits, the drawbacks, and the manner in which it suits your lifestyle. If you are currently considering homeschooling your child, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Benefits of Homeschooling vs. Public Schooling
Homeschooling truly allows students and their families to be the engineers of their learning plans while achieving higher academic heights. Some of the benefits of homeschooling are:
- Differentiation of instruction: Differentiating instruction is much easier when students and their caregivers work one-on-one to achieve academic goals and strengthen key foundational skills. As students engage with their caregiver, they’ll have the flexibility to excel in areas that they are passionate about, set their learning pace, and make their interests known. In doing so, parents can cater to their student’s unique needs and interests in a way that makes learning more fun and targeted.
- Flexible schedule: Becoming the engineer or your learning path involves creating a certain type of flexibility that allows parents and their students to set their own schedules based on preferences, existing schedules, and other lifestyle factors. Using this instructional model, families can choose when school is in session, how long lessons are, when field trips or vacations occur, and when extracurricular activities will take place. This flexibility makes it easier to accommodate existing schedules while also making sure that the times that are selected for instruction are conducive to learning.
- Strengthening family ties: Engaging in homeschooling has the potential to strengthen the bond between student and parent due to the abundance of time they spend together. As parents take an active role in their student’s education, they will have the time and space to create shared experiences and foster closer relationships.
- Comfortable learning environment: School can be a place that makes students feel a little uncomfortable. From encountering new, more challenging texts to finding your voice, it can feel a little daunting for some students. As a homeschooled student, though, they may inherently feel more comfortable engaging with the lessons and challenging themselves with new subjects or texts of increasing complexity due to the fact that they are engaging in schooling from the comfort of home with an instructor that they know and trust.
- Nurturing cultural or religious beliefs: Each family may have varying cultural or religious beliefs. Engaging in homeschooling allows families to select the appropriate curriculum and corresponding resources that align with their respective beliefs while ensuring that their student receives a quality education. This means that students and their families are able to make time to observe cultural or religious holidays and other items that are important to them.
- Diverse learning opportunities: When families choose to homeschool their students, they tend to expose them to a diverse selection of experiences and resources. If a student is working to refine their reading skills, their parents may take them to a library. Similarly, if they are in the process of learning about important Social Studies issues, they may take their student to a museum to supplement instruction.
- Finding and engaging in your passion: Homeschooling allows families to grant their student more time to discover and pursue their hobbies or interests. These interests can then be used in activities. For example, if your student loves insects, then their science lesson may be about getting outdoors and experiencing insects firsthand or studying their features for a deeper understanding.
The Disadvantages of Homeschooling
Determining whether homeschooling is right for you and your student is a little more complex than one may think. Here are a few of the disadvantages associated with homeschooling to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
- The perception of limited social interaction: Those considering homeschooling may be concerned that their student(s) will receive limited social interaction, potentially causing a lack of social development, but this simply is not the case. In fact, according to a 2020 study conducted by Kansas State University, engaging in homeschooling actually allows students to develop good morals and better social skills. Using a customized homeschool curriculum, parents are able to address their student’s developmental needs and create an understanding of the complexities of social interactions. Though a lack of social development is not considered to be a result of homeschooling, this stereotype can certainly affect the perceptions of homeschooled students.
- Lack of diverse perspectives: Traditional schooling provides exposure to diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which can assist in the development of a well-rounded perspective of the world. Should a student engage in homeschooling, it can inadvertently create a lack of diversity in the people, perspectives, and backgrounds they are exposed to.
- Budgeting: Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling can actually get quite costly, depending on the household. From purchasing curriculum materials to field trips, the costs slowly add up. According to Time4Learning, the average cost of homeschooling for one child per year can fall within the following ranges:
Field Trips: $100-$250
Approximate total cost per year per student: $700-$1800
In addition, there are other costs associated with homeschooling, such as a potential increase in grocery costs due to being home more, gas money for field trips or outings, and additional academic supplies.
The Tax Benefits of Homeschooling
The tax benefits of homeschooling vary depending on your location and the specific laws that apply to where you live. Some of the benefits you may receive include:
- State tax credits
- A tax-deferred 529 savings plans
- The Child Tax Credit
- Business or educational deductions
For more information about which tax benefits apply to you, consult the Department of Education in your state.
Deciding if Homeschooling is Right for Your Family
The decision to homeschool your student(s) is not one to take lightly. Outside of accommodating your schedule and your budget, engaging in homeschooling truly involves planning, organizing, budgeting, and researching the best curriculum and resources to match. If you find that you are still a bit unsure of where to start, we recommend you take a look at how Learning A-Z can help.
Enhance Your Homeschooling Efforts With Learning A-Z
Learn more about the tools and resources we offer that can help accelerate learning and supplement homeschool instruction.Tools for homeschool
- Team. “How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?” Time4Learning, Cambium Learning Group, 11 Jan. 2018, www.time4learning.com/blog/homeschool/how-much-does-homeschooling-cost/.
- “What Can Homeschoolers Deduct on Their Taxes?” Southeast Homeschool Expo, Southeast Homeschool Expo, 10 Jan. 2019, www.southeasthomeschoolexpo.com/tax-deduction-for-homeschoolers/.
- Abuzandah, S. (2020) Social Skills for Homeschooling Students. Creative Education, 11, 1064-1072. doi: 10.4236/ce.2020.117078.