We are a Catholic home school family. I wrote this article some time ago as a give away for another website I had. I thought I would repost it here.
There are many important things to consider when trying to decide whether or not to homeschool your children. Here is a list of things to consider that we have either had to deal with or have been challenged with in own personal experience. These are presented in no particular order.
10 pros for Catholic homeschooling:
- You know the teacher. Most teachers in elementary and high schools are hard-working dedicated teachers who do a good job. But this is not always the case. Depending on where you live or just the luck of the draw you may end up with a teacher who is not up to par. As a homeschooling parent this is not something that you have to worry about.
- Support groups. There are many good Catholic homeschool groups that can help guide you into your journey in homeschooling. You can learn many things in these homeschool groups. This includes everything from how to present subject matter to how to deal with day-to-day frustrations.
- Flexibility. Homeschooling allows you the flexibility to work on schooling in ways that you might not have imagined. You can take family trips without missing school for example. If certain times of the day work better than others, there’s nothing to stop you from doing that.
- Health. Oftentimes schools become a breeding ground for germs. Diseases get transferred from one student to the next. You’re homeschool students won’t be exposed to this as much as other children.
- Increased amount of time spent together. This is a fairly obvious point but the opportunities for bonding are increased because you will be spending more time with your children.
- Peer pressure. Your children will be hearing your values much more than the values of their peers because of the amount of time they spend with you and with other homeschoolers who share the same values.
- Direct involvement. Many teachers often say that one of the best indicators of a child’s success in school is how involved his parents are. You can’t get more involved in a child’s education than homeschooling.
- Individualized curriculum. Even in a good school you may run into one or two classes that are not very good. This may be because of a poor choice of textbook or method of study that is not well suited to your child. As a homeschooler you are free to tailor your child’s education to suit his particular needs.
- Ensure orthodoxy. In many parochial schools religious ed courses are now taught by lay teachers instead of religious. While you may have a very knowledgeable teacher for religious education, all too often students are exposed to questionable teachings. As a homeschooler you can ensure that religious education is in line with Catholic teaching.
- Controlled environment. When students are taught at home You don’t have to worry about the following things that sometimes occur in school: bullying, drug use, gangs, inappropriate sex education, hazing, etc.
10 cons for Catholic homeschooling:
- Socialization. This is usually the first objection people raise if they hear you’re thinking about homeschooling. There is some truth to this but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Your child may feel that he is the odd man out because his friends from the neighborhood most likely spend more time together. However there are plenty activities that can act as a substitute. Look to see if your community offers sports teams through the local park district, reading or studying groups through the local library, or playgroups through a local homeschool group. These types of activities can help your child grow friendships with other children their age.
- Time. Homeschooling will require you to think about time management. You must guard against letting the day slip by you without getting into your study materials. This can become tricky when circumstances in your household change such as when there is a new addition to your family.
- Organization. Find an organization method that works for you and stick with it as best as you can. Preparing for lessons requires that you know what lessons are coming up, what materials are that you’ll need, and having everything ready for the school day. Your children will lose interest fast if you end up searching your house for a book or some other type of material halfway through a lesson.
- Distractions. It can become easy to get distracted at home. As you look around there all types of things that are calling out for your attention. This is also true for your children. Try to get into a pattern of dedicated study time to avoid this problem.
- You’re not an expert in everything. You’re going to run into subjects that you’re not very familiar with. This will require you to do some research so that you can teach effectively. In the long run this is a benefit for you but in the short term it means more work.
- Cabin fever. Spending time day in and day out within the confines of your home can cause boredom to set in. Try to arrange for field trips and play dates with other families to keep your children from getting bored. Make sure that you get out of the house from time to time to get a break from the monotony. Don’t let yourself get burned out .
- Motivation. When you’re in the long stretch of the school year it can become hard to stay motivated. Make sure that you have breaks in your routine periodically. You should also keep long-term and short-term goals to help you maintain perspective.
- Unsure of progress. If you are grading your own child’s progress it may be hard to gauge if they are operating at the levels that they should be. Contact with other homeschool families can help in this matter. There are also standardized tests that your child can take.
- Criticism from others. Many people think that homeschooling is strange or that the families who homeschool are strange. Oftentimes they’re not afraid to express their opinions to you. You may feel like you need to justify your decision to others repeatedly. Don’t let this get you down. There are a lot of great reasons to homeschool and once you start listing them off you can usually quiet the critics.
- Legal issues. Laws concerning homeschooling vary from state to state. You should know what laws govern homeschooling in your state. You also may run into problems from busybody neighbors who think that your children are truant. Maintaining a membership in an organization such as the Home School Legal Defense Association can give you peace of mind, provide advice, and defense if this becomes necessary. Most homeschoolers never run into these types of problems but it’s important to know your rights and how to defend them.