A risk/benefit chart

In making your decision as to whether or not to homeschool, a simple risk/benefit chart is one way to find out what you want to do. The chart will reflect the items you feel are important or unimportant, and the value you assign to the items will be the relative values you choose.

On a blank sheet of paper make a line down the middle. On one side label the top ‘Benefits of Public School.’ Label the other side ‘Drawbacks of Public School.’ On another sheet make the same layout but change the labels to the benefits and drawbacks of homeschooling. Now write in what you think and give a value to each entry on a scale of 1—10 or 1—100, whichever feels as if it would give you a more accurate picture.

Examples of items for each list:

Benefits of public schooling

  • easy
  • you’ve already paid for it
  • someone else thinks it up
  • comprehensive
  • possibility of good teachers
  • recognized by military and colleges
  • sports teams
  • source of friends for children

Drawbacks of public schooling

  • peer pressure
  • instruction isn’t individualized
  • possibility of poor teachers
  • bullying
  • gangs
  • drugs
  • cliques
  • disagreement with curriculum

Benefits of homeschooling

  • Family has choice of mode of instruction
  • choice of materials
  • child doesn’t have to ride bus
  • no violence
  • no daily rush
  • less cultural pollution affecting family
  • increased use of family library
  • integration of family vacations into learning

Drawbacks of homeschooling

  • Loss of mom’s daily freedom
  • give up job
  • cost (since public schooling taxes are still levied)
  • house doesn’t stay as clean
  • pets’ fur gets worn off from perpetual petting

Once you’ve entered all your pros and cons and you’ve valued them according to what is important to both mother and father, add each column and then compare the totals. Which category has the least ‘points?’ Which category has the most ‘points?’ Which category is overloaded with tens (important to you) or ones (ho-hum items)? Does your ‘inner voice’ agree with what the totals indicate?

This exercise will give you an idea of what you think and where your ideal education connects with your reality. From there you should find your path through the forest of ‘school trees’ is easier to find. The meadows and glens may take a little longer to discover, but the adventure should be worthwhile.


Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and distributed for free as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

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