The 9 Pitfalls of Homeschooling

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Aaron Blumer's picture


Compare the pitfalls of the alternatives. Just sayin.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Bert Perry's picture's worth noting that a lot of the problems with homeschooling center on the issues of legalism and the like, along with the parallel pathology of believing that since you've got work A, your sin B doesn't count anymore.  A former friend of mind noted that in the churches he'd grown up in--Hyles circle--observant kids noted that as long as you went out "soul-winning" and wore a suit and tie, you could do just about anything.

So I question whether the issue is homeschooling per se, or whether the issue really has more to do with churches where serious errors creep into doctrine--or possibly also public teachers along the lines of Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips doing the same.  I'd dare say Wilson is addressing a bigger issue than he's letting on.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Susan R's picture


I understand the point of articles like this, but even though the author acknowledges that this is a sketch, and only the start of a much larger conversation, I feel it misses the mark. These are human nature issues, not homeschool issues. Sure, people should fully consider the pros and cons of homeschooling, especially if they have a particular weakness, but there aren't only nine major character issues that could present themselves as pitfalls.

For instance, "artificial holiness." This is obviously not just a problem for homeschoolers. Mr. Wilson points out that some families believe that homeschooling is a 'holier' choice, but this is not a "pitfall of homeschooling." I know vegetarians and cheapskates who suffer from 'artificial holiness'. Seen any good articles about the "pitfalls of frugality" lately?

Are homeschooled kids more prone to being "ravenously hungry to be accepted as “cool,” while simultaneously being radically handicapped by their position"? Or are they more likely to experience the "FOMO blues"? 'Cause I saw The Breakfast Club back in 1985, and I'm pretty sure the premise of every teen movie or tv show EVER is about kids who are "ravenously hungry to be accepted as “cool,” while simultaneously being radically handicapped by their position".

On "sometimes homeschooling families throw their children into situations that they are not actually ready for." Or "the junior high kid that he is not really up to the challenges of walking into a group of college kids and functioning as a peer." Does this happen more in homeschooling families? Is this a pitfall particular to homeschooling? I trow not. 

And sometimes the opposite is true--the young homeschooled child with common sense and a highly developed work ethic is more than a match for many college kids.

I have no idea what to make of "Assuming homeschooling all the way through, the girls are being educated in an environment suited to them, and natural to them. The boys, past a certain age, are not." I think the technical term I'm looking for here is "Huh?"

And the same goes for "Sexual Pathologies." Are homeschooled kids more likely to be idle, or to spend more time unsupervised on the internet, or more likely to succumb to sexual sin? I don't get it. I know Mr. Wilson said he was going to be brief, but I need more than "The flesh brings the old Adam along with it no matter who you are, and the devil even has a proverb spoken about his facility in putting idle hands to work in his workshop. And the world is still glowing on that horizon, and the house has an Internet connection" to understand how "sexual pathologies" are a pitfall of homeschooling.

I agree that dogmatism and 'experimenting' on children with some shiny new education fad or homeschool curriculum that makes grand promises about your child's success is a problem. Since this is also an issue in  public schools, I guess parents are just stuck, eh? They can't afford a good private school, and the cheap private school is where the basketball coach teaches Science, the Bible teacher is senile, and sometimes the math teacher just doesn't show up at all.

I also agree that parents may not be counting the cost. Homeschooling is not just an education choice, but a lifestyle. Homeschooling affects every aspect of family life in ways parents may not anticipate, or know how to adapt to. But in my experience, homeschool families are often afraid to ask for help, especially if they are having problems with their child (behavioral or developmental) because they don't believe they will get actual advice and support. 

IMO, if homeschooling 'goes wrong', it's not because of the choice to homeschool. When a homeschool family runs into problems, the issues already existed, and would have been exposed regardless of the choice they made about their child's education. I've never seen homeschooling bring out in someone a problem that wasn't already there, and I can't imagine being able to make the case that homeschooling somehow causes these problems. 

A friend of mine wanted to homeschool her kids, and her husband expressed concern because they knew a homeschooling family who were slobs, and it seemed they seldom showered. I asker her if he believed that if they homeschooled, they would then suddenly feel the urge to stop bathing.