Challenges of Homeschooling to Learners and Parents
Homeschooling for high schools and other levels of education is growing amid the stay-at-home and social distancing directives. It is the fastest-growing system of learning across the globe. Despite its growth, homeschooling comes with some unique challenges as well.
Homeschooling students is the best decision that parents do make due to numerous reasons. One major reason for homeschooling is due to the fact that research shows that homeschooled students perform better in tests, particularly where learners had been homeschooled throughout their high school level. Also, homeschooled learners tend to be more independent in their studies and life, never feeling the necessity of following the crown.
The other reason is that learning at home removes a lot of the stress of the traditional classroom. Students have no pressure to give in to peer pressure and fit in or be exposed to and suffer from bullying, drugs, and being ostracized.
That said, some individuals think that homeschooling is an easier and simple educational route for teens. Nevertheless, parents who have opted to homeschool their children can differ. Homeschooling differs greatly from traditional schooling, and so it presents some unique challenges as well. The learning goals of homeschooling might be similar to traditional schooling, but the methods and environments are entirely different. Homeschooling parents who went through traditional schooling systems can prove that.
In case you want to homeschool your teens, then you ought to be familiar with the major struggles and challenges that go hand in hand with this kind of learning.
Struggles and Realities of Homeschooling
Below we’ll highlight the challenges that homeschoolers face as you prepare to homeschool them or inform your choice if you are considering going this educational route.
Chances of Isolation
Even though there are many homeschool groups, resource centers, and email lists, and although homeschooling students do, as a whole, have a lot of time to pursue passions and socialize with their colleagues, homeschooling can be an isolating experience.
It is difficult to maintain a lifestyle that varies in a big way from the lifestyle of a lot of persons around you. As other students go to school every morning, you will be hyper-aware of the difference as well as get a reminder of the separateness. And while homeschooled students will be perhaps happy about that, they may find themselves wishing that they could do what other students are doing so that they can fit in.
The other reason why homeschooling can isolate your learners is that they might not reside in your immediate location, and this can make it challenging to meet regularly. Certainly, parents and their learners can take classes, visit beaches and museums, and go on trips, but with the absence of parent association provided by the school or an in-built peer group, it can be challenging to get a wingman.
Bearing the Sole Responsibility for the Education of Your Chil
When you are a parent, and you opt to homeschool your teen, you take the responsibility of educating your learners within the comforts of your own home.
Unless there is another person in your family or in your home who can help you teach your students, you truly have to assign and dedicate most of your time to helping your children learn adequately. This can be a good thing or not, depending on your situation as a parent.
Additionally, parents have to develop lesson plans, come up with learning activities, and produce tests. Homeschooling is the other title for parents apart from being parents only. Homeschooling requires a lot of time, knowledge, effort, dedication; hence the homeschooled learner can acquire quality education.
For single parents and working parents, all this can be very challenging since, apart from their parental duties, they also have to be educators. It sounds arduous indeed. This is the reality of homeschooling that you ought to know prior to following this path.
Homeschooling demands a lot of patience from parents and learners. You can add another extra if that is not adequate.
One of the challenging aspects of being a homeschooling parent is the fact that your patience will be greatly tested and shaken as you educate your children.
When homeschooling students do not understand or grasp curriculum content, even after numerous trials, then your patience as a parent will be tested. There will be days when learners are distracted by something and not concentrating, and it will drive you nuts.
When the performance of homeschooling students is poor or drops, parents can become frustrated. In some cases, the expectations of parents can be beyond the current abilities of their children, and they are not met, a parent can bring down their spirits. As a result, this affects the entire learning process as both the motivation and mood of the learner and parent are greatly affected.
The major challenge here is drawing the line between being a teacher and a parent, which is difficult to keep tabs on for both the parent and students.
Keeping your family, work, and life in equilibrium can be challenging. But by adding the responsibility of homeschooling to the mix, things can become worse. In addition to the roles that parents play in the lives of their children, you will be adding the principal, guidance counselor, and teacher. Even by taking the most carefree unschooling method, you will need to play all these responsibilities to assist your children in making decisions regarding their future or learning new concepts.
Additionally, you will be dealing with queries from people who have made different decisions regarding learning, trying to maintain records while organizing classes and activities, as well as when something or someone questions your approach.
Overcoming Common Homeschooling Challenges
- Attending Special Events
You may decide to homeschool simply because you or your child has difficulty socializing with other children and getting along with others can be a challenge. For some families, this is the primary reason for choosing to homeschool over traditional schooling. So it’s not surprising that one of the challenges faced by many homeschooling families is attending special events such as sporting events, field trips, and other social gatherings.
You may be able to handle the situation by doing two things:
Planning ahead – You can plan ahead and arrange your child’s day so that he or she doesn’t miss out on anything that will happen at school.
If you are going to attend the event, your child can assist in preparing for it such as folding handouts or laminating them. Your child also may be able to participate in a group activity with other homeschoolers dealing with that subject matter.
Have “make-up” assignments – If your child doesn’t want to miss out on anything, you can help him or her make up any work he or she misses by giving extra assignments, helping him or her get started at home, and then requiring the full assignment done before bedtime that night.
- Motivating Students with Special Needs
Students with disabilities may need more time on assignments in order to master the material without the frustration of feeling like they couldn’t keep up with their peers. Be sure and provide ample amounts of time for children with learning challenges as they can become quickly discouraged if too much work is given at one time. For example, instead of asking them to do an hour-long assignment, ask your child to complete a 25-minute sample and then have him or her work on the remainder over the next couple of days.
Consider rewarding your child when he or she does well in an area they struggle with. This may be as simple as letting him/her pick out a favorite video to watch after finishing a challenging paper. You always want them to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments no matter how small.
- Maintaining Structured Homeschooling Sessions
This can be particularly difficult if you are not accustomed to regular structure or live in a volatile environment where schedules get interrupted regularly. However, even homeschoolers who have been doing this for many years still face challenges keeping the daily schedule intact during vacations and holidays because of all the family activities that suddenly become more important than hitting those school books. In addition, there can also be challenges when you need to take a break due to health issues or some other unforeseen event. So how can you avoid having your homeschooling schedule fall apart? Here are a few tips:
Know that it’s okay if things don’t go as planned. Sometimes no matter how hard we try; unexpected interruptions and disruptions do occur. Don’t worry about feeling like you have failed just because the schedule got broken or disrupted for one day or even several days. Just be happy there is still light at the end of the tunnel …this will not end your educational year!
Make sure you always have great resources on hand so you can keep going in between sessions. For example, if an emergency keeps everyone from going out each day but allows you to have more time with your children then you may want to consider using that time for extra special projects and activities.
Stay organized so you always know what lessons need to be completed on what days of the week.
Make sure you allow plenty of wiggle room in your schedule if something comes up unexpectedly or gets prolonged due to unforeseen circumstances. A little flexibility will help prevent frustration from setting in when things don’t go as planned. This way it’s okay if families are late getting home, breaks get extended because someone is feeling under the weather, or a subject needs additional reinforcement by moving it from one day to another or adding an extra assignment at the end of the week because they didn’t master it completely earlier on as they had originally planned.
- Finding the Time to Homeschool
Schedule regular weekly events each month such as grocery shopping, learning field trips, church activities, special outings like picnics or camping trips, community service projects, work experience classes, etc.
Schedule as much as possible during the times your family typically has free time such as weekends, evenings or before work and school days. This may include homeschooling during dinner time, on the sofa while watching TV or game playing, and bedtime lessons for those that need them.
Remember important holidays and special events will require additional time so make sure you plan ahead! You don’t want to be frazzled trying to finish the last week’s bookwork just before starting a new one at the beginning of a holiday weekend!
No matter what kind of schooling environment you choose (classroom versus home) there is always going to be an adjustment period when you first begin this exciting experience so just enjoy it for what it is and don’t expect perfection from the start. You will be surprised how quickly you find your routine and as long as you have a clear plan, great resources, & guided support this will go much smoother than you think!
- Keeping It Realistic
There are many benefits to homeschooling your children such as flexibility of schedule for those with unpredictable work schedules including shift work or seasonal employment, less expensive than traditional schooling (especially if extended family members can help share the cost), more time to bond with your children, one-on-one attention that enables students to learn at their own pace without having to worry about fitting in or being left behind by other students no matter age or skill level, and the option to customize the learning program as your child grows both academically and personally.
To be successful with this kind of lifestyle you have to keep it real! Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others because no one is perfect (even homeschooling experts!) so just do the best you can in each situation when it comes up …and remember mistakes happen. They are usually more educational, character-building, and therapeutic than not making them at all. This happens because we feel less stressed about getting everything done perfectly when we get into a routine along with being able to plan ahead & schedule accordingly for those times when things don’t go as scheduled especially if there is an emergency involved!
If you can adopt this mindset then you will be able to homeschool your child and still get as much done each day as you would with traditional schooling when it comes to eating, sleeping, and social interactions, all of which is necessary for a healthy happy balanced life!
- Keeping A Schedule
To make this process work for you and your family keep a schedule that includes meals times (both school-time & non-school time), field trip information including transportation arrangements; learning activities both inside the home and outside in nature or at cultural events such as museums, libraries, historical sites, amusement parks or other educational venues; TV scheduling (if any) together with favorite shows or movies; chores, responsibilities & projects that need to be completed by the end of the week such as yard cleaning or family projects around the house; special events, games & sports days, dance lessons and other social activities or organized after school programs. This will not only keep you on schedule but will also give your child a sense of routine which is an important part of homeschooling!
Write everything down on paper …and I mean everything! I find it much easier to plan my day ahead when we have limited time due to our unpredictable work schedules …especially since most jobs don’t pay overtime so looking up things while they are fresh in my head can be challenging especially if I am in the middle of something with a few minutes left for lunch break because my brain has already been working for several hours before that.
- Keeping A Flexible Schedule
Make sure you keep a flexible schedule as some days will require more time to complete certain tasks & activities on your child’s homeschool planner than others so try not to feel guilty when it comes to that because this is just a learning experience for everyone. On those busy/stressful days make sure you have all the tools ready and are prepared to go with whatever life brings …and remember it’s only temporary stress so don’t let it cloud your judgment or bring you down! Relax, take a deep breath, and smile …you’re doing great! You’re almost done with today! Enjoy every minute of your precious time together 🙂
Homeschooling is very challenging, as you can now tell. However, homeschooling can be very fulfilling for both parents and students. It might not be for all parents, of course, but it has its place in society and may even be necessary for some instances.
With adequate preparation and planning, you can truly give your student the best homeschooled learning and see the sweet fruits of it all in the lives of your teens.
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