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Social Disadvantages of Home Schooling

by Liza Blau, studioD

Home schooling is providing education for children at home, usually by parents or private tutors. With a growth rate of 7 percent to 15 percent per year, the popularity of home schooling continues to rise and about 2 million children are being educated at home, as of the date of publication, according to FamilyEducation.com. Parents choose to home-school their children for a variety of reasons. In most cases, they believe they can give their child a more solid education than at the local school. However, before deciding to home-school your child, you need to consider some social disadvantages.

Limited Socialization

One of the biggest disadvantages to home schooling is lack of socialization with other children. Rather than interacting with other children their age, most of their time is spent with their parents or an adult tutor. Forming close friendships and socializing with other children is vital for the development of your child's social skills and overall emotional health. Home-schooled children might become socially awkward because they've been cut off from their peers and the daily social interactions that regular school provides. As a result, they might not develop communication skills and won't know how to interact in group settings. Their lack of socialization skills might affect them as adults, hampering their ability to form close personal relationships and work well with others in their chosen career.

Limited Exposure to Adults

Home-schooled children typically don't have regular access to adults other than their parents or tutor. While attending school, children are exposed to a variety of teachers that change each year as they enter a new grade level. As a result, they learn how to interact and relate to a variety of adults beside their parents, which is beneficial for their emotional growth and developing autonomy. Another disadvantage to home-schooling is insufficient teaching knowledge -- parents might lack knowledge on certain subjects, which causes their child's education to suffer. Many families are unable to afford the cost of private tutors.

Loss of School Activities

Team sports, cheerleading and high school prom are just some of the school activities that home-schooled children might miss out on. Forming friendships with other children through shared interests and activities is one of the most positive social benefits of regular school. Creativity is nurtured through dance, drama, art and music classes. Most schools provide a large gym, swimming pool, outdoor athletic fields, a large theater for dramatic presentations and a well-equipped music room. A home-schooled child doesn't have access to school facilities and equipment, such as a well-stocked art studio or science lab. Kids in regular school usually have the opportunity to develop their writing or photography skills by working on the school newspaper.

Lack of Diversity

Regular school provides children with the opportunity to interact with others who come from a variety of cultures and ethnicities, which teaches them to appreciate diversity. Bonding with other children who have different backgrounds than their own teaches compassion, acceptance and tolerance. They also learn to respect other children's viewpoints and opinions during classes. Home-schooled children can be isolated and surrounded by only their family members. Such a sheltered existence might lead them to have difficulty interacting with individuals who are different from them later in life.

Filling the Void

If you decide to home-school your child, ensure that she has a healthy social life and doesn't become isolated. Enroll her in activities where she can make close friendships with other kids who share her interests. Many parents form groups with other families who home-school so their kids can socialize and take field trips together, according to KidsHealth. Check community centers and YMCA for art classes, tennis, karate, swimming, team sports and other activities. If your child is interested in the performing arts, contact a community theater and sign her up for acting or dance classes.

About the Author

Liza Blau received a B.A. in English from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in fiction anthologies from Penguin Press, W.W. Norton, NYU Press and others. After healing her own life-threatening asthma by switching to a whole, natural foods diet, she founded the NYC Asthma Wellness Center. Blau counsels individuals on healing their own asthma and allergies with dietary and lifestyle changes.

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