Recently, I discussed the up side of homeschooling a child. Now I’d like to play devil’s advocate and discuss the potential negative aspects of home school. While using distance education to home school a child offers greater control and flexibility, it only caters to the learning side of school. In reality, going to school with other children shapes a child’s development in many ways. But first things first.
Can you teach? – Teachers do not just stumble into the profession, they go to school, and get specialized degrees. They intern, and serve as class helpers to get experience. Different teachers focus on different age groups, and learn how to reach them and keep them in line. This is not easy work. Before deciding to home school a child, a parent has to understand the commitment involved with teaching and decide if they are capable of the task. It takes discipline, both for the teacher and the student, and also a certain skill set to be able to convey concepts to the student. Speaking personally, I get frustrated trying to work on my 7-year-olds homework, because I can’t figure out how to explain it to a 7 year old. I could do it for her, but explaining it is much harder. Quite simply, I am not a teacher.
Diversity – Without exposure to other people from different walks of life, a child risks becoming sheltered. I’ll talk about socialization later, but this is different, this is a child meeting people of different races, colors, creeds, religions, beliefs, and nationalities. Perhaps some people prefer a homogenous existence, but that is unworkable in most places in the world. A child learning that different points of view exist is important in their development.
Limited resources – Schools have libraries, tutors, guidance counselors, teachers, and administrators. The educational system provides broad resources to the student. Some families can provide similar, if not superior, resources for their home student. But not all families have deep pockets. Will the student have what he or she needs to thrive and succeed with their education? And one of those resources is something money can’t buy – expertise. Exposure to more experts in different fields (either fields of study or fields of life) will benefit the child’s overall education.
Socialization – This is the big one. There is so much more to school than the classroom, for better or worse. Cliques, bullies, and bad influences are out there. But so is friendship, so is standing up to a bully, and learning to lead and not follow, and all these other great things that are part of growing up. Without exposure to other people, both children and adults, the developmental process can be arrested. Socialization, and learning how to act in society, is very important in the development of a child to an adult. Depriving children of that life experience can be harmful in the long term, and life experience is something that cannot be taught.