UNDERSTANDING HOME EDUCATION IN CANADA FROM A PARENT
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.
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.
- You can tailor-make your curriculum to suit your child‘s interests, needs, abilities, skills, and learning style.
- You can personalize your curriculum to cover topics that are important to you, such as faith, life skills, culture, languages, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- There is a large homeschooling community(both online and offline) for support and resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- It costs money– and typically, this is out-of-pocket. Curriculum materials can be expensive.
- 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.
- Have to fight stereotypes People have in their minds certain things they believe about homeschoolers – which can be frustrating and exhausting to constantly refute.
- 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….
- 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.
- 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….
- 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.
- 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.