Monday, July 9, 2012

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3 Pitfalls of Homeschooling and How to Avoid Them (guest post)

 I occasionally allow a guestpost from someone who I think has something valuable to add to the topic of homeschooling.  This post is from a former homeschooled student.

3 Pitfalls of Homeschooling and How to Avoid Them

Having been homeschooled throughout grade school and middle school, I can say from experience that the whole process was incredibly rewarding. Being taught at home by my mother helped cement a bond with her that I think very few people have had the pleasure to experience. Learning alongside two of my siblings made us likewise close. I believe also that homeschooling helped me develop my own learning styles and methods, just because I didn't have a specific way of learning shoved down my throat as do many students who go to traditional schools. Notwithstanding, after enrolling and attending a traditional high school, I was able to see that there were some inefficiencies in homeschooling that I could have prevented had I known. Here are
some common pitfalls to avoid:

1. Failing to set up a structured daily schedule.

This can count as both a pitfall and an advantage of homeschooling. When I was homeschooled, there were days when we just slept in fairly late, started our classes late, and had a hard time playing catch up. Other times we zoomed ahead, covering many lessons over one or two class periods. This go-at-your-own-pace quality of homeschooling can be great, but it becomes frustrating once you begin attending a traditional school with strict scheduling. I suggest to homeschool parents more-or-less sticking to a schedule every day,
even though it may be tempting to do your own thing.

2. Making it a habit of not sitting in one place for protracted periods of time.

At home, we did have a room with desks where we had the majority of lessons and where we did most of our homework. However, the home environment was very informal. Unlike traditional classrooms, we of course didn't have to excuse ourselves to go to the bathroom. We could do some of our in-class work on the couch. There was constant movement, which meant that once I was attending a traditional school, I just could not really concentrate because I was forced to sit in one spot for so long. Eventually, I got used to it, but I think it's advisable that parents try to keep kids learning in one room as much as is reasonably possible.

3. Failing to maintain friendships beyond the confines of home.

Of course, one of the homeschooler stereotypes that I absolute detest is that we're an antisocial bunch. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the same time, however, I think that many homeschoolers move around the country or beyond its borders often (as was the case with me), and it can be difficult to maintain these friendships. I was always very outgoing and made friends with neighbors' kids as well as kids from church and other activities. But once we moved to the next city/state/country, I found myself beginning to understand friendship as something disposable. If you're in this very mobile situation, always encourage your kids to keep in touch with their friends, even if they don't live in the same place.

If I were to be honest, these were the only disadvantages with homeschooling for me. And the worst thing about it was that these pitfalls could easily have been avoided.

What do you think? Can you list other homeschooling pitfalls? Comment below!

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in all topics educational. She
welcomes your feedback at


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