The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling In Canada Part 2

Homeschooling Canada


Today, I’m going to share with you a few of the pros and cons of being a homeschooling family, from our side of the fence.

About Homeschooling

What is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling is the form of education where the parents teach their children outside of the conventional classroom setting.

For those of us in the trenches, we slog through the day-to-day challenges of teaching our kids at home – both the good and the hard – in order to offer the best education that we can. It’s not for everyone. We fully appreciate that.

There are benfits to homeschooling our children but with that there are negative aspects that can’t be overlooked when deciding whether you should go the homeschool route.

Let’s talk about them.

Pros of  Homeschooling in Canada

Why homeschool?  There are lots of reasons why homeschooling can be a blessing to both the child and the parents.

  1. You can tailor-make your curriculum to suit your child‘s interests, needs, abilities, skills, and learning style.
  2. You can personalize your curriculum to cover topics that are important to you, such as faith, life skills, culture, languages, etc.
  3. You can be flexible in your scheduling – so you can take days off, go on holidays when everyone else is in school, do “school” all morning and take afternoons off, don’t fall behind if your family is sick, have a birthday party in the middle of the day, spend days with Dad, etc.
  4. You get to be the major influence on your children‘s lives, instead of a group of peers and adults whose values or experiences might not be in line with yours. You get to build memories, bond as a family, and get to know your kids.
  5. You get to watch your child learn. The light that pops up in their eyes when they “get” something is priceless. This alone is one of the main exciting reasons I love to homeschool!
  6. There is a large homeschooling community(both online and offline) for support and resources.
  7. You get to learn WITH your child. It’s amazing how looking back at things we thought we already knew can be so fresh and interesting now as an adult. Sometimes it’s because we’re seeing it with a new method or because it’s now something we can appreciate.
  8. You can participate in unique extracurricular, job, or volunteer experiences– like visiting senior homes or picking fruit trees for neighbours or mid-day music lessons. You can apprentice with the local carpenter, get a job at a local store during the day, or even team up with other homeschooled kids to start a charity. The only limit is your imagination.
  9. You have the opportunity to teach your child one-on-one, to see that they fully grasp and understand the concepts you are teaching. If not, you can focus on that particular subject as long a needed until they do fully comprehend instead of being obligated to continue down the curriculum expectations because you have to.
  10. Your child doesn’t need to be labelled. You can work with the challenges your child has either behaviourally, disability-wise, or learning-wise in a way that allows them to succeed without a label. For example, if your child is active, you can use that to his advantage by doing a lot of lessons involving movement and actions. If they can’t sit on a chair without wiggling – you can use an exercise ball instead. If they can’t handle a loud room, they can go work in a different space. If they are aggressive – you can pull them aside to remind them of behaviour expectations and reward positive behaviour. Your child’s needs are lost in a sea of classroom faces.

Cons of Homeschooling in Canada

  1. You are on-duty as a parent/teacher/referee/mediator/coach, etc 24 hours a day/7 days a week. You don’t get breaks.
  2. You are prone to extreme levels of guilt and anxiety, especially when you fall into a trap of comparing your child to someone else’s expectations.
  3. It costs money– and typically, this is out-of-pocket. Curriculum materials can be expensive.
  4. Here in Canada, we don’t have any boxed curriculum sets and most school boards don’t offer textbooks to use, so ittakes some work to find products that you can piece together and to put together lesson plans and projects.
  5. Have to fight stereotypes People have in their minds certain things they believe about homeschoolers – which can be frustrating and exhausting to constantly refute.
  6. Your house is always likely to be a mess.Unlike our public schooled counterparts, our kids are home all day – which means that it’s nigh impossible to keep up with the housework. Sure, they help, but then they get into the Lego box….
  7. You don’t always have access to the same level of resourcesavailable through the school system – such as speech therapy, counselling, educational planning, etc. If you need these tools, as a homeschooler, you typically need to find an outside, independent source. And typically means a high financial cost.
  8. Always out of milk. Maybe this is just my house, but since my kids are home all day they seem to love the idea of constantly raiding the fridge. I can’t keep up with it, even when I’ve set ground rules about snacking and meals. We buy so much milk….
  9. Although it is possible to be a homeschooling family while 2 parents work, most homeschooling families rely on a single income. That means a lot of financial sacrificesto make things work. It has to be a full commitment or not at all.
  10. You can feel isolated.If you don’t live in an urban area, or don’t have access to a vehicle or public transportation, it can be hard to take advantage of the community programs, field trips, and group activities that are available.

Every homeschooler I’ve spoken to agrees that the pros far outweigh the cons.

In fact, I think this feedback quote from fellow homeschooler, Sara, sums it up: “I love everything about homeschooling, even the days that suck. I am grateful to just be with my kids. What freedom, what joy, to be a part of their life.” 

Read Part 1 of this 2 Part Homeschooling in Candada Series> Bullying To Homeschooling Our Two Kids On One Income- 1 of 2 Part Series

Discussion: Have you ever considered homeschooling your children? Please leave your comments below as we love to read them.

Contribution Post By: Lisa Marie Fletcher is a homeschooling mom in Canada. With 3 young boys (and a fourth arriving soon), she’s kept very busy every day. Her website, The Canadian Homeschooler, is dedicated to connecting homeschoolers across the country with Canadian resources for their curriculum. Her passion is to help other homeschoolers in their journey.

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  1. I am about to pull my two autistic sons out of school. I was home schooled my self. They are being bullied and are being pushed through with out a real education when I teach them something at home on the weekends they will get a 80% to90% by the end of the weekend then I tell the school about how to keep them up. The school wont and by the next weekend the teachers have my boys so confused that they wont even try and have totally lost every thing we worked on.

  2. For younger kids, or kids who aren’t mature enough to be left unsupervised, you would need one parent to stay home with them to homeschool. But for a responsible older child, it’s possible to homeschool on two incomes. My father worked at a university for most of my childhood, while my mother alternated between being a full-time student and a sessional instructor. When I was homeschooled from grades 7-9 and 11-12, all I needed was to be able to check in at lunch or if anything went wrong. So my parents brought me along to the university, and I hung out in the library reading textbooks and journals all day. At lunch and after work I’d talk to my parents about what I’d learned, and they’d also talk about their work and explain what they were doing, and we’d discuss ideas and concepts. It never seemed like work because it was so fun.

  3. Instead of Homeschooling we were lucky enough to find a small private school, that was started by a couple of Moms that had been homeschooling. Yes it cost us but no more than we were spending on babysitting before he started school. The school has less than 80 children, goes from Kindergarten to Grade 8, then he will join the public school system, that SCARES me the most, but I pray the confidence and self respect he has developed in these early years will carry him through.

    1. That’s such a brilliant idea of the two moms. May I ask how much ballpark it costs you to send your children? Is the school in the city or the country? I wish we had something like that around here.

  4. Thanks for writing this, Lisa 🙂 I didn’t find it at all hard to find curriculum though, between the library and online, there’s a ton – it can be hard to choose! The cost isn’t actually that bad – in fact, the average homeschooler spends about $500 per child per year, which is far less than a typical public schooled child shells out per year, with all the associated costs 🙂

  5. I have considered the idea of homeschooling when my youngest son was about to start with school. We weighed the pros and cons, and we came to a decision to send him to traditional school so he can improve his socialization skills too.

  6. Interesting. I have a feeling that my parents needed a break from us just as much as we needed a break from them.

    How do you feel about the statements that say that homeschooling hinders your children from being socialized properly?

    1. I have yet to meet a homeschooled child that can’t handle themselves in social situation! Most homeschoolers are busy with outside activities and group stuff so they are always surrounded by people. In my experience, it’s a completely invalid counter-argument. School wasn’t designed for social interaction anyway.

    2. I’d say school hindered it more. I’m on the autism spectrum, so social skills are tough for me, and in school it was a ‘sink or swim’ environment. I sank. The social skills I learnt in school were all unhealthy ones, like ‘if someone says hi, ignore them because they’re about to bully you’. I had to unlearn a lot of those skills while homeschooling, and some I’m still trying to unlearn at age 26. In comparison, I didn’t interact much while homeschooling, but my interactions were nearly all on my terms with people who were unlikely to want to harm me in any way. And you can totally give your kid a lot more interaction than I had – it’s just that after the bullying I really needed a few years of relative solitude.

  7. When I used to work for the park service, I always enjoyed having home schooled children on my tours. I thought they were so lucky to be able to come to our museum during the school week and have a curriculum tailored to them. We’re not sure what we’ll do in the future, but we’ve talked about having multiple parents homeschool, each in a subject that they are strong in.

    1. Homeschool Co-ops are a great place for that idea of multiple parents teaching! I know lots of places love having homeschool kids – because it also offers daytime clients. 🙂

  8. We don’t have kids yet but we have talked about homeschooling. The main reason is that we would like to teach our kids what we think they should learn and not what the government thinks is best. However, we both went to public school and we turned out OK. So we will cross that bridge when we get there.

    1. Most people turn out okay – thankfully, but I’m sure glad I’m able to offer a different option to my kids. 🙂

  9. We don’t have kids yet but we have talked about homeschooling when we do. The main reason we would consider it is to be able to teach our kids what we think they should learn not what the government thinks. However, My wife and I both went to public school and we turned out OK.

  10. Great comparison! I have a friend whose wife home schools their two children and she is constantly saying how exhausted she is… I think a lot of people forget what a break school gives them!

  11. I admire those who can homeschool. I don’t think I’d have the patience. I actually enjoyed public school for the most part, and if my daughter continues to as well. that will be our first option.

  12. As I commented in the first part of this series, I did look into home schooling my kids during the Harris days. There was so much crap going on I came close to pulling the kids. In the end I didn’t get a whole lot of support from the hubby so that thought went by the wayside. I still try to keep up on what’s going on and have all the curriculum documents I got back then through Publications Ontario. I’m not sure what the site is called now, I think they changed it a while back. The two boys had issues with bullying in school and since then the older boy has been diagnosed with Aspergers, an autism spectrum disorder, how much that had to do with his problems is anyone’s guess. If I could go back, knowing what I know now I would have home schooled. That you are doing it now…..more power to you and your children!

  13. *IF* we ever have kids, homeschooling would definitely be on the list of possibilities. Where we live, the state supports homeschooling pretty well, with curricula, etc to make sure that your student is on track to learn what they will be tested on for NCLB.

  14. I have to add a note with regards to one of her ‘cons’…I homeschooled my daugher in Alberta, Canada and I must say Alberta has an awesome homeschool system. I had no problems getting textbooks and materials and a curriculm. Here in Alberta is an excellent resource place called, ‘Alberta Distance Learning Center’. They work with schoolboards to help those parents who wish to homeschool to get all the information and resources they need to have a successful homeschool year. I homeschooled my daughter from grade 1 to 12 in Alberta and always had full cooperation with this center as well as the school board. I choose this center because I felt that it was in the best interest of my daughter to be on par with what was being taught in the schools just in case something should happen that we were no longer able to homeschool at least then she would not fall behind if she had to go to school. So for those parents in Alberta…homeschooling is very easy to do…at least for me it was!! And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    1. Thanks for the Alberta perspective. I’m in Ontario, and even though I try to make sure I understand the ways it works in other provinces, I still forget about distance schools and umbrella programs. They are options too, but not everyone has them. 🙂 Thanks!

  15. I like that you list the downsides. Really, you’re right. When you stack them up, I’ll have a dirty house and no milk any day if my children are getting a great education.

  16. We are still on the fence about homeschooling, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs. I am also a male, and my wife would be doing the schooling during the day, so she has MUCH MORE SAY in the matter 🙂 We’ll see….

    1. If your wife or you have any questions – feel free to pop me an email at thecanadianhomeschooler (at) gmail (dot) com and I’d be happy to help. Almost every homeschooler I spoke to while writing this post agreed that they completely felt that any con they would have was overshadowed by all the positives!

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