What are the drawbacks to homeschooling? Well, there are three that come to mind. The first is isolation. Now when I say isolation is a drawback, I don’t mean homeschoolers will isolate, rather I mean there’s a temptation in the structure of the game; it is easy for a family to get enmeshed and isolated with a “compound mentality.” Isolation is not healthy, but it is a common drawback that you want to consider and avoid.
The second drawback is related to the first; friendships. In time, it’s also unhelath if there’s not an opportunity outside of the family to connect with others, especially kids of similar ages and interests. Over and over again, we encouraged friendships through scouting, extracurricular classes, and sports. There are a lot of ways to do it, like group situations and even church. You want to be careful to understand that your kids need the opportunity to engage with other people to develop friendships, so be wise and look around for good families.
The third drawback to homeschooling is conflict. Not so much conflict but learning how to handle conflicts and resolve them. Families often are too similar to provide this kind of learning. It’s not about battles with other people, but more differences around an idea or a thought that comes with debate and interaction. So if your kids get to interact with other ideas and other people, that allows them to refine their understanding, their logic, their worldview clearer and cleaner. In this way they grow ready to better encounter people in life.
So there are three essential drawbacks in homeschooling; isolation, friendships, and handling conflicts well. In my opinion, I don’t think academics is a drawback. I don’t think socialization is one either. I don’t think any of the things that are commonly thrown out there are all that much of an issue; even with college, homeschoolers do really pretty phenomenally well.
-Fred Ray Lybrand
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