Homeschoolers are typically in a different category from children who attend public or private schools. Kids in school often envy homeschoolers because they get to stay at home. But what about the workload? Is there such a thing as homework? Let’s settle the debate.
The answer is tricky, but technically yes, homeschoolers do have homework. Everything a homeschooler does is already mostly at home. There is no difference between classwork and homework for them because they are often outside the home, on field trips and learning expeditions. In regards to work that is to be completed after class and done before the next day, the answer is usually no.
The homework debate is a loaded question because the homeschool curriculum varies for each homeschooler. Students typically complete their paperwork work during school hours because they are not held back by distractions. The question opens up several other questions about homeschoolers. Let’s get some answers.
Do Homeschoolers Have Homework Or Just Classwork?
The consensus is that homework is not a commonly used term for the homeschooled community. Their school day operates differently from that of a student in a public or private school setting. School hours are different, curriculum varies, and teaching strategies differ. Homework is essentially all homeschoolers do.
Homework in a regular school is an assignment for after school practice with a deadline. Teachers assign homework to keep students practicing after school hours. Since a homeschooler lives in their school setting, the term “homework” translates to classwork. When a homeschooler’s day finishes, the rest of the day is for activities.
Technically, a home instructor can assign work to turn in the next day. However, since a homeschooler’s hours fluctuate, it becomes hard to differentiate homework from classwork. Considering that teaching styles vary, homeschool homework might not be relatable to school homework.
Homework also comes down to the mentality of the student. Students never take their work home because home is where they work. If a student chooses to do their assigned “homework” right after a lesson, who is to say it is not part of their classwork? So, if homeschoolers do not have homework, what else do they not have to do?
Things Homeschoolers Do Not Have To Do
There is a misconception that because homeschoolers do less at-the-desk work, their experience is easier. The homeschool curriculum revolves around real-life experiences. Rather than reading a chapter and writing down what they’ve learned, field trips are more common. Let’s take a look at some of the ways a homeschooler’s experience differs.
- No homework
- No school calendar. The curriculum can last as long as the instructor chooses.
- No grading requirements.
- Study different subjects at different levels at the same time.
- More fieldwork and less paperwork.
Aside from not assigning homework, a homeschooler’s experience is unique in several ways. Students are not limited by school calendars and standardized tests. Rather than 5-day school weeks, educators can choose to make the week shorter or longer. Daily school hours are also adjustable. This can accelerate the learning process for a student.
For students that excel in one subject more than others, educators have the freedom to match the curriculum to the student’s pace. If a student is at a 3rd-grade science level and a 5th-grade math level, an instructor can adjust their curriculum. Despite these differences, one of the most common questions is whether homeschoolers get grades.
What Does Homeschooler Homework Consist Of?
If you were to refer to a homeschooler’s classwork as homework, it would still look a lot different than a regular school attendee. Homeschool lessons often focus on real-life work and experience in addition to covering the “three R’s” of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Because of that fact, a homework assignment might consist of a family activity that has the student use the skills they learned in class in a real-life scenario and not just a book-learning assignment.
Classwork for a homeschooler might be paperwork one day and then a field trip the next. For students that prefer visual learning, this is an advantage. So what a school student might consider as a class field trip may be a homework assignment for a homeschooler.
Do Homeschoolers Have Grades?
Just as with homework, the answer to this is tricky. Home educators have the creative freedom to design their teaching strategies. Grades are not mandatory unless you are in specific areas that require them. If you are not in one of these areas, the decision is up to the instructor. Many educators do not give grades until middle school.
Home educators typically spend the first five years of education teaching core subjects. Using this curriculum, educators will offer advice and constructive feedback to help the student improve their skills. As the student’s knowledge grows and they begin to reach higher grade levels, teachers will then consider tracking grades.
For homeschoolers in high school, tracking grades might be valuable. Having high school transcripts to send to colleges upon graduation will make everyone feel more secure. A high school transcript is a big picture problem, but grades can benefit a student motivated by success or failure. Grades can speed up the learning process.
As an educator, telling your student that they are doing well might not be enough. Students like to know where they stand. Grades will keep students in order and give them a better understanding of what they need to improve on. So, while most homeschoolers do not get grades, many believe they are beneficial.
Disadvantages of Homeschool
Homeschool might sound great, but there are reasons why more parents choose a different route. Younger students tend to envy homeschoolers because they get to stay home. The same can be said for homeschoolers envying public and private school students. The 2020 lock down created a homeschool environment for most children around the world, and that has invoked many parents to decide to homeschool their children in future years. A whopping 40% of parents polled have decided to homeschool their children when the lock down ends. However, there are still some reservations with homeschooling. Below are some examples.
- Depriving their children of a social setting – No classmates, school sports, or activities.
- Feelings that an educator might be under-qualified – The parent, or the teacher some parents hire might not be qualified to teach your children at their levels of education.
- Lack of motivation – Being at home can create lazy tendencies and give students a sense of non-motivated behavior during school lessons.
- Cost and lack of facilities – Materials, books, and teaching tools will eventually add up in price.
The number one reason parents avoid homeschool is because they prefer their children to learn in a social setting. Homeschooling can be great for limiting distractions and getting a good book education, but there is no replacement for social education. If your child does twelve years of homeschooling, their first college years will be a culture shock.
Aside from socialization issues, homeschooling can be expensive. The cost of materials and books will add up. Unless a parent is teaching, hiring an instructor is also expensive. Parents also fear that their children will lack the motivation to work within the confines of their home. Having easy access to their toys and online will disrupt focus.
The life of a homeschooler is unique. Although the idea of “no homework” might sound great, the details are murky. A homeschooler does not have homework because all the work they do is already at home. Even assignments due the next day can feel like same-day school work if done immediately after a lesson.
The differences between a homeschooler and a school student do not end at homework. Different curriculums, school schedules, school hours, learning styles, and grading make the two learning experiences unique. Although not assigning grades might sound great to a regular student, it comes with its disadvantages.
Despite the advantages of being a homeschooler, the possible disadvantages such as socialization and motivation make it a last resort for many parents. A homeschooler’s education is a unique, but tough experience. So, while homeschoolers don’t have homework, one would say they have double the classwork.