Home education comes with its advantages, but it also presents a unique set of difficulties – for parents, as well as for their teenage students.
It’s a case of making a trade-off. Lessons can be tailored to individual students and deliberately designed to engage them, but they may also be less aligned with the overall curriculum and lead to lower test scores.
Each student is different, and our education system sometimes forgets that. Homeschooling can redress the balance by adapting to suit different students, but it can also be lonely for teenagers who may prefer to spend their time socializing with peers instead of being tutored.
Unsurprisingly, then, homeschooling has its own problems. Here are just a few of the difficulties that homeschooled teens have to deal with.
Loneliness can always pose a problem for homeschooled students. After all, studying together can be a bonding experience even if you sit in total silence, and homeschooledkids don’t get a chance to socialise during breaks and over lunch.
This is particularly noticeable for teenagers, as they’re at an age in which they’re starting to learn social skills and to form friendships that will stand them in good stead in the future. Teens like to form tightly-knit social groups and place a lot of emphasis on their social standing, so if they’re being homeschooled then they’ll need to make up for this lack of social interaction by making friends elsewhere.
2: Lack of Organization
Schools create a schedule that you have to adhere to, but there’s less of a structure when you’re being homeschooled. Instead of having lessons at specific times and on specific days, homeschooled teens need to learn how to plan their day and to follow through with it.
On top of that, regular students are expected to be at school during certain hours, and they plan their days so that they include commuting time, lunch breaks and other set activities. When they’re schooled at home, they need to learn to manage their own time to make sure that they get things done.
3: Harder to Evaluate
Jon Long from aussiewritings.com says that “essays and standardised tests are designed to evaluate understanding and overall performance” but that they’re less likely to be strictly enforced when a student is schooled from home.
To combat this, it’s important for home schooled pupils to test their skills at regular intervals, even if that’s just by completing sample tasks from examination boards. Without constant evaluation, it’s hard to make sure that they’re progressing throughout the semester.
4: Less Teamwork
When you study with other people, you learn how to work as part of a team. Ultimately, when we finish our lessons and head out into the big wide world, it’s unlikely that we’ll find ourselves flying solo. Whether you’re self-employed or working as part of a company, you’ll need to learn to work with other people.
On top of that, studying with other people encourages competitiveness, a vital tool for boosting motivation. That means that if a teen is being homeschooled, they’ll need to discover other ways to work both with and against people to get a realistic view of how their skills complement – and compare to – other people’s.
The truth is that homeschooling is no better and no worse than regular schooling. Both come with their advantages and disadvantages, and neither is a better choice than the other as a general rule.
The key is to tailor schooling to teens instead of expecting teens to conform to schooling. You need to figure out what works best and to go with it. Homeschooling isn’t easy, especially for teens, but it also introduces a lot of benefits if you stick with it. We can’t make the choice for you – it’s up to parents and teens to decide together.