Homeschooling – the darker side

It’s not all hunky-dory and smooth sailing on the homeschooling front. Like all things in life, there is a downside that has to be seriously considered when you explore the homeschooling option.
Though one man’s bane may be another man’s boon, there are certain common reasons for concern.

The responsibility of teaching your child rests solely on you. You cannot blame anyone else if your child is seen wanting in the skills that his peers excel in. If your child cannot do the things that are expected from other children of his age group, it reflects badly on you as an educator as well as a parent.

A critical part of homeschooling is the time that you have to spend with your children. You may have to give up your friends, shopping and other entertainment and dedicate all these to your child. This can become frustrating at times. You have to learn to take the aggravation with equanimity and wait for the rewards with patience and enthusiasm.

A parent who is dedicated to tutor his or her child single handedly does not realistically have much time left over for a career. This means that the family is robbed of an additional source of income. In turn, this may lead to stress over finances. You will have to train yourself to live on a strictly controlled budget. While this is a matter of habit, it does need some getting used to.

You cannot take a break when you feel like it. Feelings of guilt will assail you if you neglect studies just because you are feeling blue. You also fear that the child will take advantage of the situation. Even when you have given homework, you have to be around to give a helping hand. This means that anytime your child is around you, you are on duty! For some, this may mean working every waking hour. The child studying at home also needs to get out more. This comes from staying at home all the time.
Interaction with adults and other children needs to be given special attention.

Children tutored at home cannot develop in the various directions that are open to children attending public schools. To achieve that kind of exposure, you either have to be a super-parent skilled in everything, or enroll your child to various activities.
This may not only prove too costly, but also be counter-productive.

It is sometimes observed that homeschooled children do not do as well in SAT tests as their school-going counterparts. Without a diploma or a GED, some students find it difficult to get into the military.

Lastly, if you envision enrolling your child to a public school, there may be a certain period of emotional as well as social adjustment. A child who is used to being at home for the whole day and enjoying so much of uncontained freedom may have to undergo some distressing emotional upheavals before he or she gets used to the rigors of a regular school life.

Homeschool burnout

When a parent takes on the responsibility of educating his or her child, homeschool burnout is one of the more common issues they have to deal with. There are many reasons that lead to this burnout: an illness, a new baby, added responsibility, change in routine etc.

IS098-015The symptoms of burnout vary from lack of patience to overeating and crying without any apparent reasons. Surprisingly, a burnout need not be such a bad thing. It is a wake-up call – an indicator that things are not going well and that you need to reschedule. Reversing or avoiding a burnout is possible if you get fair warning.

Firstly, lower your expectations. Do not be a perfectionist. Take the good days with the bad. Next, when something does not seem to work, look for alternative methods. Flexibility is a key factor. If tension starts mounting, take a break. When necessary, change the style of teaching. For instance, small children love to take on their spellings when they quiz an adult.

Avoid overkill. Do not pack too many activities for the sake of socializing your child. A worn out mom means a grouchy kid and that means no happiness. Get support from your spouse or a neighbor or a support group. Don’t try to achieve everything by yourself. Homeschooling means ‘happy schooling’ – don’t forget that.

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One thought on “Homeschooling – the darker side

  1. There is a lot of wisdom in this post.

    My wife spent a year, not homeschooling, but facilitating an online program for my son who was having challenges in school.

    They both suffered from burnt out working at home, and their relationship became very volatile.

    This post is a great summary of the potential challenges

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