School's Out: Is Homeschooling Right For Your Family?
- Parents Only
What was once considered an alternative approach to education could now being going mainstream. You might have never considered the option of homeschooling your child, but with the threat of Covid-19 in the air, and the possible closure of schools around the country, homeschooling is suddenly a real possibility for Australian families.
Homeschooling can be an enriching experience for all involved. However, there are many pros and cons to weigh up before you take the books into your own hands, so take a look at this list to see if it's right for your family.
Advantages Of Homeschooling
Classes are tailored to your child: if your child has a passion for the arts, you can mould the curriculum in more creative ways, or if your child has a flair for maths you can spend more time on that subject. That being said, as a home educator, you still need to cover all curriculum areas, you just have more control and flexibility over how they're taught. This is standard practice in classrooms today with teachers trained in personalised learning - however, with the increasing size of classrooms and timetable constraints, you can imagine that this doesn't always work out.
A safe learning environment: for a child who has experienced bullying at school, homeschooling can be an attractive option. There's none of the classroom hierarchy to navigate, no peer pressure, nor is there the risk of boredom or 'slipping through the cracks' that you might find in large classrooms these days.
Increased sociability with adults: homeschoolers will often take excursions within the community and have one on one time to learn from other adults, for example, taking part in museum tours. Generally, they are more adept at socialising with adults. Likewise, the family unit usually becomes a lot tighter when you're all in 'class' together.
Freedom for learning opportunities: schools are extremely constrained when it comes to their timetables - they have to be to run effectively - but when you're homeschooled, there is so much freedom for last-minute events that can enrich learning.
Disadvantages Of Homeschooling
Parenting is around the clock: This is one of the big ones that can make or break the deal. Some say it takes away from the joy of parenting when teaching is compounded into your daily routine. It can be exhausting and a real test of your patience!
It can be isolating for children: at school, your kids are forced to interact with others, in the classroom and at recess and lunch. As a homeschool teacher you must make an effort after school hours to socialise your child, whether it be through sporting clubs or play dates - this becomes almost like another 'subject area' to add to your list.
There's no training: Homeschooled children are usually taught by someone who is not trained to teach, and this can place limits on education. However, that one-to-one teacher ratio has a lot to be said for it.
It can be very costly: There is no funding for children who are homeschooled, or for their parents who are taking on the job of a teacher. In reality, it means one parent is giving up their day job.
Is One Better Than The Other?
The research out there is inconclusive, and it's such an individual rate of success. There is no evidence to say that one way is better than the other; in fact, their academic outcomes by Year 12 are very similar. However according to the Board of Studies, if we look at NAPLAN, homeschoolers outperform in all areas - although to be fair, the results are skewed as the vast majority of homeschoolers choose not to participate in standardised testing.
If you are looking to homeschool your child, the first thing you must do is get registered, find out more about the NSW process here.
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