Pros and Cons of Homeschooling/Agile Learning

Now that I’ve been homeschooling/Agile Learning for over half a year, here are some of the pros and cons of the whole thing.

PROS:
Learning what you are interested in
When I homeschool, there are things that others say I have to learn, but for the most part, I get to decide. Because I can learn what I are interested in, my enthusiasm goes up, and I much learn better.
Learning at your own pace
A huge part of the value of homeschooling is that one are able to learn at one’s own pace. I am fast at some subjects, and I can speed ahead without worrying about having to wait for my slower classmates (they don’t exist anymore). When I am slow at other subjects, I can pour extra time on it however I want in order to get it done.
No travel to school
Last year, I spent an average of 1.9 hours each day just traveling to and from school. I spent around 14.25 days of my life each year on the bus. This year: 0.0. The nuisance and wasted time of bus rides, etc. is gone.
Customized schedule
Work better at 5 o’ clock in the morning, or at 8 at night? Need to sleep in in the mornings? Your schedule can be completely customized to your needs and how you like to do things.
CONS:
Social life
For me, homeschooling has not promoted any kind of social life. It is more difficult to make friends when I don’t have constant exposure to other people my age. This can be nice, I don’t have to deal with annoying/mean/immature people, but I also don’t get to hang out with as many with cool/nice/interesting people.
Frustration of doing things by myself
Teachers are one of the many things that you don’t realize are valuable until you don’t have them. It is a great privilege to have someone super-knowledgable to help you when you don’t understand something. Teaching yourself can get very frustrating. It’s a little bit of a paradox: you need to know stuff to teach yourself stuff, but you also need to teach yourself to know stuff.
Self regulation
Self regulation is a difficult part of homeschooling. Sometimes I think that I have not done enough on something, and then I over do it, putting too much effort into a thing with little or no consequence, and sometimes I don’t put enough effort into something when I underestimate its importance.
So those were some of the pros and cons of homeschooling/Agile Learning. I definitely like it more than my last years of “regular” school, but it has its tough bits.
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3 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Homeschooling/Agile Learning

  1. I love the paragraph about teachers. Of course I would. But you’ve captured the great paradox of teaching–and learning. That’s another good thing about home-schooling. KM

  2. I’d see the self regulation part as a pro, not a con. Wrestling with how best to spend one’s time is one of the central dilemmas of adult life, and most people don’t get a chance to practise that until the education system spits them out and declares them an ‘official’ adult. Though there’s much that can be positive about a well thought out program of study, it still amounts to someone else’s idea of how you should be spending your time. People who take the more traditional educational path usually end up following a fairly prescribed program – a period of subject X, then a period of subject Y, then an elective chosen from a set menu of options, then study hall, then homework, then… – and get very few chances to practise the fundamental life skill of working out how to spend your limited available time well.

    One of the benefits of the homeschooling/agile learning setup you’re in right now is that, at least in theory, you have the best of both worlds: access to people with ideas on how you could be spending your time (I’ve been known to have one or two ideas along those lines myself 😉 and the freedom to incorporate those – or not, as you see fit – into your own decision making process. And even if you sometimes feel that your process leads to the ‘wrong’ decisions, or at least sub-optimal ones, that’s not a waste; it’s all valuable practice. As with anything else that you’re learning, messing up now and then is an essential part of the process.  

    Nobody gets this right all the time. I still sometimes find myself half-wishing that someone would just tell me what to do next to spare me the mental effort of working it out myself (or catch myself writing long blog comments instead of getting something more urgent done 😉 Getting an earlier start, as you are, just means that you’ll get better at it sooner.

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