The advantages are that a program can be tailored to meet the needs of the child. Homeschooling is also tremendously beneficial when the child cannot really go to school. This might be for medical or social reasons. It is also useful for kids who are heavily involved in working or performing. Athletes, students with family businesses or farms, actors, dancers and singers all benefit. The disadvantage is that it takes resources, including materials and a skilled teacher. It also gets more difficult as the child ages.
Parents who are serious about homeschooling will ensure that they are active, vocal members of a local or regional homeschool network. These groups ensure that children who are homeschooled are given plenty of opportunity to socialize. It our local area, there is a huge basketball tournament every year for students who are schooled at home. This is but one example of socialization. The problem with homeschooling is that many parents don't have the time, skills, or materials necessary to provide their children with the same quality level of education that their students would receive in public schools.
I also agree with Posts 4 and 6. Over the past 10 years, I have had quite a few students who entered our public high school as 9th graders after being homeschooled from elementary through middle school. Almost all of those students whom I have taught have been ahead of their peers in reading, writing, and analysis, and their knowledge of history often shames their peers. These students also seem to be very well liked because many of them are laid-back and used to being around people of all ages, not just their peers.
As far as the social skills go, I think that that has more to do with a child's home life, even if he is not homeschooled. I've taught plenty of socially awkward students, and the majority of them were never homeschooled, but they usually come from homes where their parents would be consider socially eccentric, or they are naturally shy.
That being said, I would not have wanted to be homeschooled. I craved the competition of the classroom and loved having a variety of teachers. I think that the decision should ultimately lie with the parents and the child.
I have had students come from being home-schooled through their junior high years, but then entering the public high school for grades 9-12. Most of these students handle the transition pretty well, are excited to be in a big school setting, and are VERY prepared academically. I definitely agree with the above post that indicates that home-school children are well read. Because I am an English teacher I see that trend. They have read a lot and enjoy reading, on the whole, more than manyof my other students. I am always a little concerned about the social skills, but being home-schooled doesn't mean that these students are never around other children. Many home-schooled children tell about co-op-type arrangements they had within the community where parents would divide up the subjects and teach eachothers' children, thus the children were working with others, at least on that smaller scale.
I would have to agree that one of the biggest disadvantages would be the lack of social contact with same aged peers. While you can set up time to be around peers, it is not the same as learning to deal with other people on a daily basis.
From my perspective as a teacher AND a mother (who does not homeschool, but knows many moms who do):
Pros: homeschooled kids are more independent thinkers and learners, self-motivated, organized, and generally more well-rounded than average public school kids. They tend to read more and actually enjoy reading. They tend to be better writers because of their greater interest in reading. Other pro's include the flexibility of schedule, which allows for far more family time, the ability to create learning experiences out of almost anything (financially permitting of course) and taking vacations which double as learning opportuinites. Also, homeschooled kids usually have a better understanding of how subjects correlate across the curriculum.
Cons: social skills are definitely different, but only compared to public school kids. The homeschool population is growing so much right now that homeschooled kids are pretty similar to private school kids in terms of socialization. The opportunities for interaction, sports, and other extra curricular activities are available (like private school) but come with far less competition. Other cons of homeschooling (esp. at the high school level) is the lack of specialized courses. While someone's father or mother may be able to teach the child about working on cars, for example, vocational programs in public schools are almost unbeatable. And even though homeschooled kids can join a public school's marching band or theater class, for example, they do not really experience the same idea of school spirit, student government, or the hype that comes before homecoming and prom. To me, these are necessary high school experiences that a homeschooler sacrifices.
Part of a person's education involves the social skills that a person acquires from interacting with others at a school. In small towns, for instance, the public school is a microcosm of the town; that is, it represents all the socio-economic classes present in this municipality. Exposure to different races and socio-economic classes allows the student to understand different attitudes and behaviors and customs. Certainly,as an adult in the working world, the student will need social skills.
I spent a couple years being homeschooled when we lived in a place with no English-language schools. To me, the worst thing was the stress it placed on the family. My mother never got a break from us kids (from us going to school) and we would get frustrated with each other. We kids would get mad at her when we didn't like the lessons and she would get frustrated at us if it took us too long to catch on.
Homeschooling is the option that the family makes, not the child. There are reasons for a family to choose homeschooling instead of public school system but never these reasons are child's reasons.
There are many problems that are not considered when a family is considering homeschooling.
For instance, are they able to invest time, money, physical and emotional energy in this alternative?
Also, when a family choose homeschooling has to know the best approaches to learning, used by many professionals, in order to get the best results and not to get stuck in the process.