Homeschooling pros can include:
Being able to tailor the children’s academics to their personal needs and development (i.e. I have a gifted child working a year or so above her “grade” level according to age and another child whose focus is less academic who is plodding at grade level but is an excellent violinist and spends time practicing each day and another child working two years ahead in math and at peer level with everything else. None of this is an issue, they are not put under pressure or forced to fit into a mold.
Flexibility. If there is family drama (i.e. a death in the family) we can put academics aside and focus on that without missing anything or having to go back in and “catch up”. If there is an opportunity to go camping or go take part in a robotics workshop etc. we can do that. If the kids get into it they can finish their “school work” quickly and use their time to pursue their own interests.
The line between school and not-school is blurred. A lot of kids shy away from doing anything outside of school hours that may seem even slightly educational. My kids are a bit more open and interested in learning (learning – not doing book work you understand, they are still human!)
My kids are free to be who they are rather than being pressured to conform. My kids are unique individuals with interests like face and body painting, playing violin, “geek” culture etc. At the local school here a lot of the kids are really good kids but there are the usual issues when you get a group of kids together. My son would probably be teased daily for playing the violin, my daughter would be thought of as “weird” for being geeky and painting herself up as a leopard etc.
The buck can’t be passed. I can’t brush of a behaviour as learned at school, the teachers can’t brush it off as coming from home life – because I am both! It needs to be dealt with and the kid is better off for it.
I get to my kids learn and develop, having the time to work on our relationship, the amazing conversations we get to have, the privilege of spending time with them.
I get to include things in their curriculum which is not necessarily in most schools (i.e. critical thinking, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, comprehensive world history)
Less wasted time commuting, waiting for other students, moving between classes, lining up etc.
Less chance for bullying, harassment and negative influences during formative years.
The reality is, there are also cons as with any life choice:
Having it all land on me is hard. My husband is a very active part of our homeschool but the day to day is me and that is a lot of pressure.
Lack of down time. I have no close, supportive, able bodied family. There are lots of little (and not so little) people being in turns adorable and exasperating all day every day. As an extreme introvert I find this challenging.
Having a wide range of ages/levels to teach is very demanding. This coming year my goals for my oldest are that she develops her essay writing skills, completes pre-algebra math and year 7 science and develops her logic and critical thinking skills. My goals severely disabled for my 4 year old include learning to walk, learning to communicate using an assistive communication device, showing finger isolation (learning to poke, point and eventually pinch) and showing an understanding of cause and effect. And the other lie pretty much everywhere in between. There’s a lot of organisation and challenge involved in teaching that every day.
Supersized ovarian guilt and paranoia. When a school kid doesn’t know how to spell a simple word you get mad at the teacher, when a homeschooled kid doesn’t know getting mad at the teacher is the same as getting mad at yourself. Whenever my 9 year old writes I feel a twinge about how awful his handwriting is!
Making friends and developing friendships requires being proactive. For example, this weekend I organised a playdate with another homeschool family and spent a few hours at the park with them. It was nice, they are lovely people – but to be brutally honest I’d rather have been at home taking a nap. In the younger years I find a lot of school kids are too tired for playdates etc. so making friends can be a challenge.