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The Pros and Cons of Home Schooling


For some parents and guardians, making a decision about their child's early education is easy. For others, there are so many options out there that it can be difficult to decide which area school - and which type of school - is right for their little one's educational needs. 

A growing option

The number of families choosing to home-school their children is growing here in the U.S. According to research conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the 2011-2012 school year, over 3 percent of U.S. children between the ages of five and seventeen were home-schooled that year. This is up from 2007, when the NCES found 2.9 percent of school-aged children were being home-schooled. This might not sound like a large jump, but it represents thousands of new families choosing to place their child's education in the home.

a pregnant woman hosting a baby showerHome schooling can be a great option for some parents.

If you're thinking about home-schooling your child when they reach preschool or kindergarten, first examine the home school laws in your state. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) offers comprehensive information about home school laws in all of the 50 U.S. states on their website. Remember, there are many learning requirements and educational standards that children still need to follow and achieve if they are home-schooled; families don't get a pass on state education requirements if they don't place their child in a public, private or charter school. But, also note that according to, parents and guardians also do not need a degree in education to home-school their child, so while there are many standards children need to meet in their education, many families are free to homeschool their children without a degree. 

Next, consider these advantages and disadvantages.


1. You get to spend each day with your child. For many parents, being at home with their children all day is a huge perk of choosing to homeschool. They get to be part of many developmental milestones in their child's education that they might not have participated in if they had not chosen this educational option.

"Children with exceptionalities often require one-on-one tutoring and a personalized education to meet their learning needs."

2. You are in charge of their learning environment and development. This reason is a big one for a lot of families for a number of reasons. Children with exceptionalities - or children who have special needs due to an intellectual or physical disability and children who are intellectually gifted - often require one-on-one tutoring and a personalized education to meet their learning needs, and home schooling can offer this. But children with exceptionalities aren't the only ones who may benefit from a home-based learning environment and individualized curricula. According to the NCES, in 2007 21 percent of parents home-schooled their child because they were worried about the learning environment in the schools, 17 percent didn't feel as if the academic instruction met their needs, and another 36 percent chose to homeschool to teach their children about their religion and morality.   

4. You can still be part of your local public school's sports teams. In the past, a lot of families who chose to home-school their children could only be part of local club teams. Now, in many areas around the country homeschooled children are eligible to be part of their community's public school sports team. For instance, 31 states allow home-schooled children to be part of sports teams through the Tim Tebow law, according to the legislation's website. If being part of sports teams or other school-based extracurriculars are important for your family, look into the laws in your area before you make a decision. 

5. Flexibility for vacations, moves and health needs. A lot of times, work schedules and health schedules don't always line up with school schedules, and so families choose to homeschool their children to meet these family needs. 


1. It can become expensive. Even if you create a strict budget for textbooks, notebooks, pencils and the like, home schooling can add up quickly. According to the HSLDA, home schooling costs an average of $900 each year per child. Depending on if you buy curricula and your child's learning needs (as well as how many children you have), you could be spending even more. 

2. If you don't have a background in education, it can be intimidating trying to create curricula. Developing a comprehensive curriculum that not only meets the needs of your child but also state standards takes a lot of practice, and it can be difficult for parents and guardians who don't have experience choosing lessons and understanding children's developmental needs to determine the right combination. 

"Don't take on the commitment of homeschooling if your family isn't ready for it."

3. Home schooling isn't a hobby - it's a complete investment of your time and energy. You have to be committed to home-schooling for it to work. For children, school is their full-time "job," and so every lesson should be deliberate and everyone be on board with helping the child learn. Don't take on the commitment of home schooling if your family isn't ready for it. 

4. Your child may need more playdates to learn necessary social skills. One of the big advantages (and for some families, disadvantages) of children being taught outside of the home is that they get to interact with other little ones to have fun, make friends and develop social skills. To encourage their child to connect with friends they might not see everyday at school, many families look into sports clubs and various peer communities to overcome this potential challenge. 

It's always important to weigh your options when it comes to your child's education, so if you feel like home schooling is right for your little one and family, continue to look into this type of learning environment

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