Kudos to freelance contributor Kristyn Procter for creatively exploring a potential drawback of homeschooling not often discussed: a negative impact on family relationships along the lines of “familiarity breeds contempt.” Or if not contempt, perhaps boredom. Or youthful rebellion (“Homeschooling: Family Conflicts Worth It?,” Sept. 28).
Reflecting on her own shift from grade school to home school, Proctor wrote that she wondered what had happened: “We couldn’t talk while doing homework, couldn’t pass notes during the lesson. There was no end to class; we worked until the assignment was done or until dinner and after that we picked up where we left off. And the worst part was that she knew me. I could write a poem or be doing a math problem and whatever it was my mother always could tell whether I had put real effort into it.”
While ultimately enjoying the homeschooling experience, Procter found that spending all day with the same familiar faces can be a strain on the family. However, as she surely recognizes, the special bond between home teacher and pupil and the commitment to completing a task are also strengths compared to the frequent disruptions, distractions and lack of individual attention in a conventional school.
It is also worth noting that growing numbers of home educators are forming cooperatives in which they share teaching duties with other parents or even with teachers brought in to handle specific advanced classes. To the extent that too much family is a problem, the homeschool co-op is a solution.
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