Negative Effects of Homeschooling
Is homeschooling going to be all sunshine and smiles every single day? No. Well, not for all of us.
But is regular schooling all sunshine and smiles everyday for your child? Not many kids would say it is.
I can talk endlessly about the advantages of homeschooling because there are so many.
But there’s no use pretending there aren’t any downsides. There will always be some not so sunny things. That’s life. The best things in life often have a downside that we don’t even think about. Homeschooling isn’t much different.
The key is this:
Any disadvantages of homeschooling are rarely going to be a deal breaker. In other words, for most of us the upsides will always win over any downsides. Most seeming disadvantages can actually be overcome quite easily, or with some sort of effort. But what doesn’t require effort in life? Winning the lottery is the only one I can think of. But if that ever happens I’ll be sure to write about it and share if it took any effort!
But back on topic…..
You’ve probably already thought of some of the possible disadvantages of homeschooling. I say possible, because it’s going to be different for every family. It is natural that we make a list of the pros and cons of any big decision. When the list of pros outnumbers the cons you know you’re on to a winner. For most prospective homeschoolers, the pros almost always outweigh the cons.
Let’s talk about some of the possible downsides of kids being educated at home.
Loneliness or lack of socialization with peers
One of the biggest issues with homeschooling is that age old problem that can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time: loneliness.
Being a homeschooler does put both you and your children at risk of feeling lonely some or all of the time – IF you don’t plan your home education the right way.
Loneliness isn’t only painful, but it will also affect your child’s ability to focus and learn. And it will affect your ability as an educator to get the absolute most from every day.
So what can you do to decrease the risk of loneliness creeping in to your life as a homeschooler?
There’s a lot, actually. And none of these things are surprising. They are mostly things we do, whether thinking about it or not, to connect with others.
The difference is that when you are your children are home educating, you typically need to make more of an effort to plan and follow through with social plans.
It might seem daunting trying to fit more into your weekly schedule on top of your homeschooling load, work, family and household responsibilities – but believe me.
Even adding ONE single social activity to you and your child’s weekly schedule will make a drastic difference to happiness, learning performance, and overall well being.
By joining homeschool co-ops and groups, participating in extracurricular activities, volunteering and community service, attending local events and gatherings, and using social media and online forums (not always appropriate and ideally restricted as I detail below), your child can make new friends and maintain existing friendships while being educated outside of the regular school system.
How can homeschooled children socialize with their peers?
Avoiding loneliness and social isolation is going to be a key to real success with home education with your kids.
There are lots of ways for homeschooled children to socialize with other kids their own age, even when not attending school. Here are a few ideas:
- Join a homeschool co-op or group. Homeschool co-ops and groups are a great way for homeschooled children to get together and learn together. They often offer classes, field trips, and other activities that allow homeschoolers to socialize and make friends.
- Take classes at a local community college or university. Many community colleges and universities offer classes for homeschoolers. This is a great way for homeschoolers to take college-level courses and meet other students.
- Volunteer in your community. Volunteering is a great way for homeschoolers to get involved in their community and meet other people. There are many different volunteer opportunities available, so you can find something that interests your child.
- Join a sports team or club. Sports teams and clubs are a great way for homeschoolers to stay active and meet other kids with similar interests. There are many different sports and clubs available, so you can find something that your child enjoys.
- Attend homeschool events. There are many homeschool events held throughout the year. These events are a great way for homeschoolers to meet other families and learn about different homeschooling resources.
- Take your child to the park or playground. The park or playground is a great place for homeschoolers to meet other kids and play together.
- Host a homeschool playdate. Hosting a homeschool playdate is a great way for your child to meet other kids and make friends. You can invite your child’s friends over for a game, snack, or movie.
Take your child to the library. The library is a great place for homeschoolers to find books, movies, and other resources. It is also a great place for homeschoolers to meet other kids and socialize.
Can home schooling cause mental health issues?
Struggles, conflict or isolation can degrade mental health of homeschooled kids.
Again, there’s plenty that you as a home educator can do to prevent any issues developing and to keep your kids happy while they’re getting the most out of home education.
But it’s important to know just what could lead to a decline in happiness in homeschooled kids. Things like:
- Social isolation: Homeschooled children may not have as much social interaction as their peers who attend traditional schools. This can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression.
- Academic struggles: Homeschooling can be a challenge for both parents and children. Parents may not have the time or expertise to provide their children with a quality education. This can lead to academic struggles and feelings of inadequacy.
- Lack of extracurricular activities: Homeschooled children may not have access to the same extracurricular activities as their peers who attend traditional schools. This can lead to feelings of boredom, frustration, and lack of purpose.
- Family conflict: Homeschooling can put a strain on family relationships. Parents and children may disagree on how to best educate the children. This can lead to conflict and stress.
If you are homeschooling your child and you are concerned about their mental health, please seek professional help. A therapist can help your child to cope with the challenges of homeschooling and develop healthy coping mechanisms.