Mecklenburg County’s homeschool population has more than doubled in the last decade.
According to statistics reported by the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education, the number of registered homeschools in Mecklenburg County has increased 127% from the 2008-2009 school year (2,956 homeschools) to the 2018-2019 school year (6,709 homeschools).
Growing up as a homeschooled student, I remember a time when homeschooling was new and often frowned upon, not nearly as popular and accepted as it is today. In 1989, the year I started kindergarten, there were 1,911 total registered homeschools statewide. Last year, there were 90,688 registered homeschools in the state of North Carolina, with an estimated enrollment of 142,037 students. My, how homeschooling has grown!
I graduated as a homeschooled student and am now blessed to have the opportunity to homeschool two of my own children. My first grader told me recently, “Mommy, homeschool is the best!” Nothing could have made me happier to hear!
With its growing popularity, homeschooling may be an option that you have considered for your family. Before diving into the homeschool life, there are many advantages and disadvantages to weigh. Homeschooling comes with many benefits, and a few drawbacks as well.
Here are a few thoughts from my perspective as a homeschool mom.
Drawbacks of homeschooling:
- Time cost. Homeschooling is very time-consuming. Teaching and planning for the next day’s lessons takes much of my day. I also volunteer to teach several classes at our homeschool co-op and volunteer with our local homeschool association.
- Financial cost. Homeschooling is expensive. We are a one-income family since I am at home with the kids. There are also curriculum costs, supply costs, co-op and homeschool association fees, and the cost of required yearly testing.
- Less time apart. We spend all day, every day together. Even though I love spending time with my children, it’s nice to have a break every now and then.
Benefits of homeschooling:
- More free time. Our school day is shorter and my children have more time to play and just be kids.
- More sleep. My children can sleep until they naturally wake up. There is no early morning rush to get dressed and ready for school.
- Religious freedom. I can incorporate Bible lessons into our school day and choose a curriculum that aligns with my Christian faith and values.
- Safe environment. There are fewer opportunities for bullying and safety away from school violence.
- Individualized instruction. I can tailor lessons to my children’s individual needs and interests. If they understand something quickly, we can move on. If they need more time on something, we spend as much time as they need. If my children are interested in something, we can spend time learning about it.
- Schedule flexibility. We set our school schedule around what works best for our family. There are no random snow days or teacher workdays. If we want to take a day off to do something special, we can! We can avoid peak times for vacations, field trips and other fun experiences, often going when it’s cheaper or not as crowded. It’s also much easier to schedule appointments when you don’t have to work around school hours.
- Closer relationships. Our family has more time to spend together building bonds and strengthening our family relationships.
- No homework!