When it comes to your child’s education, you want to know that you are making the right choice. But each child is unique when it comes to learning, and the option that might be right for another child might not be the best choice for yours. Many parents who are concerned about the quality of their child’s education make the choice to homeschool their kids. If you are thinking about homeschool as an option, take the time to learn about the benefits of public school over homeschool – they might just change your mind and your attitude about public school.
What is Homeschooling?
In the simplest of terms, homeschooling is simply schooling your children at home. Homeschooling has become quite the progressive movement in recent years with more and more parents choosing to homeschool instead of sending their children to public school. There are a number of reasons why a parent might choose to homeschool their child – here are a few:
- The family might have different religious beliefs that those taught (or not taught) in public school. Homeschooling allows you to choose whether to incorporate religion or not.
- Homeschool might offer more specialized educational attention for special needs children.
- Parents may have different educational philosophies than public school administrators and teachers. With homeschool, you choose what philosophies to follow.
- Children may progress faster in a homeschool setting than in public school.
- Schooling at home may promote a closer familiar relationship – many parents find that they enjoy spending extra time with their kids in homeschool.
- Public school options in the area may not offer the preferred degree of educational quality.
- Homeschool can save time since you don’t have to transport your children to and from school every day. The school day can actually be shortened for children.
The homeschool movement really started to gain speed in the 1970s when authors like Raymond Moore and John Holt began writing about educational reform. Homeschooling as a new option in alternative education at the time but, according to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are now more than 2 million children being homeschooled in the United States each year. And that number increases by as much as 7% to 15% each year.
The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling Your Kids
Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states, but there are some requirements you have to meet. Parents are required to choose or create an educational curriculum that meets certain educational standards set forth by the state. As long as those standards are met, however, parents have more educational liberty with homeschooling than with public school. Students may have more opportunities to choose what they learn with homeschooling, and they can learn at their own pace without having to keep up with more advanced students. Homeschool gives parents the opportunity to incorporate religion into their child’s education and it may promote a closer family atmosphere as well.
One of the major downsides of homeschooling is that it takes a lot of time to plan and to implement educational strategies. In most families, one parent needs to make homeschooling the children their full-time concern – it can be very challenging for a single parent to succeed with homeschool. Because one parent may not be able to work, homeschool may put a financial strain on the family finances. Homeschooled children may also have more limited access to extracurricular activities including sports, and they may not have the same level of social interaction as they would in public school. There are, of course, workarounds for these things but they are still challenges associated with homeschool.
The Benefits of Public School vs. Homeschool
Now that you know a little more about homeschool and its associated pros and cons, you may be wondering how public school stacks up. Each child is an individual with individual needs, so public school may or may not be the best option. However, the only way you’ll know this to be the case is to take time to learn about the potential benefits of public school versus homeschool. Here are some of the top benefits you should consider:
- Public school has a built-in structure. Children, particularly young children, thrive on routine and they require a lot of attention and care. If you are trying to homeschool your children while also being a stay-at-home mom, you may find it more challenging than you imagine.
- Many public schools offer sports and elective options like art and music – these programs may not be available to homeschool students.
- Public school teaches children a certain degree of independence. Depending on the grade, children need to keep track of their own class schedules, find their way from one class to another, purchase their own lunch, and make it to and from the bus every day.
- Teachers are public schools are required to carry education degrees and they may have more experience working with and teaching children. Teaching a child is different from parenting a child and many parents struggle to do both.
- Public school is typically cheaper than homeschool. You could spend $1,000 or more on a homeschool curriculum alone, not to mention supplies. For public school, you have to buy supplies once or twice a year and you can pack your child’s lunch to save money.
- Children who attend public school have more opportunities for social interaction than many homeschool students. There are homeschool co-ops that can be helpful, but public school has built-in social benefits.
- Sending your children to public school frees you up to just be a parent. Doing double-duty as both teacher and parent can be both grueling and frustrating at times – especially if you have other non-school-age children to care for.
- Public school gives you and your child some much-needed time apart which helps to foster your child’s independence and gives you a break as well. There is no harm in needing a break from your kids once in a while.
- In addition to the benefits listed above, there are some downsides to public school. For example, public school has a more rigorous and regimented schedule than most homeschool programs and students may not have the same degree of freedom and flexibility to customize their education. But unless you can fully commit yourself to creating and implementing a strong homeschool curriculum, your child may be better off in public school anyway.
While there are many benefits of private school versus homeschool, every situation is different. Public school could very well be the best choice for you child while homeschool is a better option for another child. You may even find that one of your children does better in one environment and another child does better in a separate environment. Your job as a parent is to provide for your child’s needs to the best of your ability. This often means making compromises or making the best of a bad situation. As long as you keep your child’s best interests in mind, you will make the right choice.
Attending public school comes with its own challenges, but homeschool is not always the better option. Before you decide to homeschool your child, take the time to thoroughly consider your options and explore them from all angles. You may just find that public school is a better option than you previously realized – it is up to you to make the most of it.