He said, she said: Does Homeschooling have benefits?


Patrick Kernan and Lindsey Matylewicz

She said:

Homeschooling is an alternative for K-12 education that does have its benefits, such as a personalized curriculum, but there are disadvantages as well to keeping a child at home for the sake of protection.

Extreme cases of bullying (especially when a student’s race or ethnicity is involved) or concern about a disability are good reasons to enroll students in homeschooling programs. There is no sense in endangering a child’s well-being. This can keep them isolated from the situation, while still allowing them to receive an education.

Homeschooling a child though, will also isolate them from their peers. A study in 2012 concerning the harms of homeschooling on test scores and socialization conducted by Lisa Bergstrom stated that “children said that one big disadvantage to homeschooling was that ‘you don’t get to see your friends every day.’”

Social interaction is limited between the student and others his or her age. Yes, the student may be more mature being around adults all day, Bergstrom added, but they are not socializing with future members of society. In that case, they will not communicate the same as their peer group.

This limits how a child will react to the world around them. The safe and familiar comforts they find through homeschooling will not be easy to find in the “real world.” They will not be able to handle situations such as working in a group, raising their hands and speaking in front of others, or dealing with problematic people.

Therefore, if your primary goal is to protect them, you might as well keep them locked in a closet the rest of their lives.

He said:

In my fourth grade year of school, my parents knew that we would be moving from the Poconos to Scranton about halfway through the year. Instead of putting me through the trouble of starting the year at one school and finishing at another, they decided to homeschool me for that year, and re-enroll me in school for fifth grade.

This is all to say, Lindsey, that I have practical experience with homeschooling, and that experience was far more positive than you make it sound.

For one thing, I felt as though I learned at a far faster rate than I did in some of my other years of school. I was enrolled in an online charter school, so my entire curriculum was predetermined for me, and in that year I covered a huge swath of history, culture, and music, and I was even sent kits to perform science experiments at home.

In short, I learned more in that one year of school than in the previous four combined, and I feel as though it greatly prepared me for the coming years of school. As weird as it might sound, I truly am grateful for that one year of homeschool.

But can homeschooling be emotionally stunting? I can picture it. I’ll admit that I went periods of time without interacting with someone my age—this is especially true since I’m an only child. There is an easy way to remedy this, though.

Get your kid involved. On top of my schooling, I joined karate and took art classes. Even though I didn’t see people my age at school, I was still able to form relationships with people outside of it.

I know you think that homeschooling your kids is the equivalent of locking them in a closet, Lindsey, but you have to admit that I turned out okay.