Before the pandemic hit, about three percent of K-12 students were being homeschooled. During the 2020 – 2021 school year, that number skyrocketed to eleven percent. So if you’re new to the homeschooling bandwagon, you’re actually among the majority of parents right now.
Some parents have felt comfortable with homeschooling once they tried it. But for others, homeschooling has been hard. They’re teaching their children because their schools are closed, and it’s taking a toll on their families.
We’re going to explore the pros and cons of homeschooling. In many cases, online schooling can supplement the limitations that homeschoolers face. Sharing much of the same benefits, online schooling can also present a better alternative to homeschooling for families.
Why Parents Opt for Homeschooling
Aside from the obvious motivation of safety and school closings, parents have good reasons for wanting to homeschool their children. According to the National Household Education Surveys Program, these were the top reported reasons that parents opt for homeschooling.
The top concern was regarding their children’s school environment. This question included issues “such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure.” In other words, parents who opt for homeschooling tend to desire a safer, more supportive environment for their children’s development.
This happens to also be one of the benefits that online schooling offers to students. Without unsupervised, in-person areas like hallways, bathrooms, and campus grounds, virtual school environments can protect students from physical safety concerns and drug exposure.
You might wonder, “What about cyberbullying?” But, according to the Nation Center for Educational Statistics, only 15% of bullying occurs virtually, compared to the remaining 85% that occurs in person.
How Parents are Struggling with Homeschooling
Many parents who have tried homeschooling this academic year have struggled to keep up. One parent shared how working from home while educating their children has been overwhelming.
It is not that I don’t think I am capable or that we do not have access to materials, but I cannot do two jobs at once. I can either attempt to support my seven-year-old in doing some schoolwork or try to do my own work and keep my job.
Homeschooling is a full-time job. Some parents are able to afford giving all of their time to educating their children. But for those who need to keep working, balancing the two can feel like an impossible juggling act.
What’s more, most parents who can educate their children full-time will need to rely on other educational sources as their child begins more advanced subjects.
In an interview with parents, Michelle Martin spoke to one student’s experience with educational gaps in homeschooling:
The first issue is the gaps…his parents just weren’t equipped to teach every subject to the level that he feels he needs to compete in the – kind of the modern world or to have the kinds of choices that he wants to have for himself.
To this issue, one parent responded,
Parents who want the best for their kids learn how to do what they can, augment other places. And there are many, many resources. The vast majority of families recognize their own gaps and they go make utilization of the resources that are available to them.
How Online School Can Help Homeschoolers
Online school provides a unique balance of flexibility and academic rigor. If you still want to retain some degree of homeschooling, many online programs provide part-time, customizable coursework. This allows your child to receive a quality education in subjects outside of your own expertise, while still remaining in your home environment.
And if you’re a working parent struggling to keep up with homeschooling, online school offers plenty of affordable full-time options. The flexible scheduling afforded by private virtual education may help alleviate the strain of balancing your schedule with your child’s.
Sora is a unique virtual high school that offers both full-time and part-time enrollment to students. It’s a place where motivated, passionate students gather together to help each other grow:
I chose to go to Sora because it offered a community of people that seemed to have a similar level of curiosity about the world as me, which has been a rare occurrence outside of Sora.— Campbell, Student at Sora
One parent shared,
I love that my teen now has like-minded peers who are curious, creative, and ambitious. High achievement is the norm at Sora. It’s nice to have my teen surrounded by peers who similarly have projects strewn across their living rooms or backyards, but also attend a few college classes.