It’s the million dollar question: is public school or homeschool better for your child?
The truth is, there’s no right or wrong answer. After all, every child has their own learning needs and unique personality. So, in order to settle the homeschool vs public school debate for yourself, you need to weigh up the pros and cons as they appear for your family.
To help you with your decision, here are 10 of the most important things you need to know about homeschooling — and how that compares to the public school system.
The 10 most important things you need to know about homeschooling
Whilst more and more parents are choosing to homeschool their children, it isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. There are pros and cons to both homeschool and public school, and you should weigh all sides before reaching a conclusion:
1. Homeschooling allows you to control the curriculum
As a homeschooler, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to adapt your curriculum to suit your child’s needs and interests — and that’s simply not possible with the public school approach to education.
If your child is in the public school system right now, you may want to spend a little time assessing what works and what doesn’t work for them today. Ask them which lessons they enjoy, and which they find harder to engage with. You can even ask for a meeting with their teacher, to get an insider’s knowledge of how they are developing compared to expectations.
Would your child’s education benefit from shaking things up? If ‘yes’, then homeschooling could be a good route forward.
2. At home, learning is more important than grades
Our public school system places a great deal of importance on format testing and grading — in fact, this is one the main criticisms parents (and, increasingly, teachers) have of US education.
The problem is, not all kids respond well to such strict success parameters. Some find exam conditions almost unbearable and others may be able to verbalize their understanding, but find it difficult to write down.
At home, you’ll be able to design an assessment approach that works for you.
With the right lesson plans, exercises and worksheets, your child’s understanding will develop organically — and you’ll have a clear idea of where they’re performing and where they need a little extra support, without the need for formal examination.
3. Homeschooling is a chance to bond with your child
It may sound cliche, but it’s true: kids grow up so fast.
And, as a parent, you’ll never get those precious early years back once they’ve passed.
Homeschooling gives you more time together during the week — this is not only a great way to shape your child’s education, but also to strengthen the all-important parent-child bond.
Many homeschoolers say this is the most rewarding thing about their choice, so make sure to factor it in when making your decision.
4. Home is the original ‘safe space’
Safe spaces have become a hot topic in recent years, especially with the rise of social media and cyberbullying. As such, you want to make sure that your child’s public school takes safeguarding measures very seriously.
How do they deal with issues of bullying in class? Who can your child turn to if they have a problem during school hours? Where can they get extra learning support, should they need it?
If you’re dissatisfied with how nurturing your child’s public school seems, then homeschooling provides a compelling alternative.
By taking control of your child’s learning environment, you can make sure their classroom is totally safe, secure and supportive. Of course, this is particularly important if your child has special educational or social needs, or has experienced bullying in the past.
5. Say goodbye to the morning rush!
What do weekday mornings look like in your house?
If, like many of us, there’s a mad rush to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door by 8am, then homeschooling could go some way to combat the stress of family living. Granted, this shouldn’t be your main motivation for choosing homeschooling, but it’s certainly an attractive feature.
6. Homeschooling is probably more expensive than you think
When choosing to homeschool, either you or your partner needs to step back from their career — or at least reconsider what ‘work’ looks like for you today.
Can you, as a household, afford to thrive on a reduced income? Is there a possibility of you, or them, establishing a remote working role with their current employer? How about working freelance in the hours away from homeschool?
Remember though: becoming a homeschooler is a lot of extra pressure. And juggling even part-time work alongside teaching your child could well be too much to take on.
Open communication with your partner is important to establish your respective roles. You should both have a clear idea of what the other is contributing to the household, the monthly budget, and your child’s education. Make the most of free worksheets and other education resources where you can, but also be realistic about how much money your family needs in the long-run.
7. Your family will have very little time apart
This may come as a surprise to you, but many homeschooling families end up a little overwhelmed by the amount of time they are spending in close quarters.
Remember, if you choose to homeschool your child, then you’re going to be spending a vast majority of every day in the same space. In short: you’re going to have to get used to spending most of your time together.
And whilst they may sound like a dream come true, it can apply a little pressure to family dynamics — especially as your child grows up.
Local homeschool groups can help alleviate the strain, though. These meet-ups provide the chance to socialize with like-minded families, as well as offering a welcome break for those who need it (whether that’s you, or your child!).
8. Socialization will need to be scheduled in
Following on from our previous point: one of the main criticisms of homeschooling is the perception that it stunts socialization.
While homeschooling, by its very nature, will result in your child learning by themselves or in small groups, this doesn’t have to mean that they miss out on social time with their peers. The secret is to schedule it in by taking them to after-school clubs, playgroups, and arranging playdates with friends from the neighborhood.
9. Homeschoolers need to be proactive when it comes to sports
As with social events, the same can be said when it comes to sports, too. Just because there’s no gym class at home doesn’t mean physical education should be missed off the timetable.
Joining a local sports team, walking the dog, or even building a home gym are all viable options for exercise and P.E. at home.
10. Offering the right depth of knowledge can be challenging
Finally, you need to consider the challenge of offering the right level of depth in your lessons.
Public schooling takes care of this by having teachers who specialize in certain subjects as your child gets older, but there are solutions out there for homeschoolers as well.
KidsKonnect worksheets are a great way to deliver detailed lessons, without being a trained professional yourself. We do the work of providing expert-level teaching material and resources, so that parents and educators can proceed with confidence, whatever their background.
Homeschool vs public school: the choice is yours
Clearly, there are many aspects to the homeschool vs public school debate.
Consider what you’ve learned here, and discuss it with your partner and even your child. The decision is ultimately yours, so make sure you choose the option that works best for your family, today and into the future.
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