Public School vs. Homeschooling
Homeschooling vs Traditional Schooling: pros and cons
As a vast majority of the world went remote in early 2020 at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, students had to quickly adapt to remote learning from home. Due to this, many parents began to consider homeschooling for their child rather than return children to their traditional schooling methods. But what are the pros and cons of homeschooling versus traditional schooling?
- No commute: Very often, students can only attend certain public schools if they reside in the right district. Alternatively, if they attend a private school further from home, the commute can be long during peak school run hours. As such, homeschooling saves time which can be spent doing further coursework, exploring personal interests, or spending more time with friends and family.
- Tailor-made Curriculum: Although certain states/countries may have specific requirements on what it takes to graduate from high school if homeschooled, the option does give students and their parents the luxury of exploring personal interests, going at their own pace, and taking advanced courses where the student is able to.
- Custom Schedule: The typical 8am-3pm does not have to hold true with homeschooling! While some legal requirements for a minimum number of hours may be present, students are able to have flexibility to pursue other goals such as competitive gymnastics, travel the world with their families, etc.
- Higher performance: According to ThinkImpact, public school students received an average score of 21 out of 36 on the ACT, whereas homeschooled students received an average of 22.8. As for the SATs, homeschoolers scored a nationwide average of 72 points more than their traditional schooled counterparts in the United States in 2020.
- Safety: The risks of COVID-19, school shootings, and other unfortunate situations are minimized at home. The extent of safety will also vary upon the neighborhood the school and home are located in.
- Social life restrictions: Students who are homeschooled do not have classmates with them daily. As such, they can be lonely unless a solid effort is made to interact with peers their age through other activities such as attending a church or place of worship, sports teams, community events, etc.
- Pressure on parent’s time: Working a job and raising a child is already a huge time commitment for most adults. As such, being the child’s teacher is an additional burden on parents which not all are able to undertake. Furthermore, a parent will have to ensure that healthy boundaries are set between the parent and child now that the “teacher and student” dynamic is also present.
- Cost: The cost of a homeschool curriculum can be a few thousand dollars, whereas public school is free. However, it should be noted that homeschool can be cheaper than private school, so it is up to a family to decide how to best use their educational budget here.
- Social life and development: At school, teens get to spend dozens of hours each week with peers their age, thus giving them a platform to develop their social skills.
- Professional instruction: Teachers at schools are qualified, trained professionals who have mastered their craft and in the later grades specialize in their area of instruction.
- Structure: Many children thrive on having a set routine and structure in their daily schedules, and schools are the greatest source of structure in a youngster’s life.
- Extracurriculars: Schools, especially those with a larger student population, tend to offer extracurriculars which a student is not able to acquire at home. Be it being a part of the chess club, trying out for the football team, or running for student government, certain activities cannot be done in a home setting.
- School spirit: Being a member of a school helps develop a youngster’s identity, and students are able to obtain a sense of belonging (provided the school is a good fit for them, of course!).
- Fostering independence: From keeping track of their own timetable (deadlines, bus schedules, etc), purchasing/bringing their lunch, and finding their way from classes, traditional schooling helps build valuable life skills which shall help students once they graduate.
- More traditional curriculum: Instead of exploring their own interests, students are forced to study subjects at the same pace as their classmates and course selection is more limited.
- Peer pressure: Be it wearing the latest Nike shoes, fitting in with the cool crowd, or dealing with bullies, peer pressure plays a big part of a teenager’s life and is more present in traditional schooling environments.
- Overwhelmed teachers: Many teachers have dozens of students on their roster and getting each student’s individual needs met is not often accomplished.
- Fitting in: Perhaps the school is simply not a good fit for who your child is – be it the type of curriculum offered, the crowd present, or the overall management of the school.
Public School vs. Homeschooling
In recent years, home-schooled children seem to be “winning.” They have conquered national spelling bees, obtained generous scholarships to elite universities, and have even been crowned beauty queens. If home-schooled kids are enjoying such success, it is understandable why any parent would ask, “Is regular or home school best for my child?”
Like many questions about your child’s education, this particular one does not have an easy answer. It is important to consider many factors before deciding whether your child should stay at home to learn or should be sent to a regular public school.
For many advocates of either homeschooling or public school education, the environment offered by either situation is the determining factor as to whether a child should be home-schooled or sent to a regular public school.
However, home-schoolers believe the home is the safest, most secure environment in which a child can learn. At home, a child does not have to deal with peer pressure or with fitting in with the popular cliques. A child can just “be.” This gives the child the opportunity to focus on the lessons being taught and on the educational expectations required of him or her.
Home-schooled students do not have to worry whether they are wearing the right clothes, the right shoes, or are shopping at the right stores, or playing the right video games. Since there are (usually) no other children around, home-schooled children learn in a relatively calm, peaceful environment, and – most importantly – they usually have the opportunity to work at their own pace and in their own style. For some, that spells the difference between success and failure.
Regular public school classrooms are not, by nature, relatively calm environments, especially at the elementary school level. However, that does not mean a student cannot thrive in such an environment. In fact, supporters of regular public schooling argue that the chaos of the classroom is actually what children need to succeed.
Humans are social creatures. That is the belief of many regular public school proponents. Children should interact and work with one another in order to build real, vital skills needed in the real world. For example, the advocates of regular public schooling believe that learning the reading process can certainly happen effectively at home. After all, they say, most kids do learn to read at home. However, the goal of public education is not to teach students simply how to read, solve math problems, or to solve scientific equations. If that were the case, homeschooling would be the best option for everyone.
The mission of regular public schools, the supporters argue, is to teach kids those skills – and then how to use and apply them through meaningful, necessary interactions with their peers and teachers. That, in essence, is the focus of many regular public schools: relationships. Those relationships can only truly be formed in regular schools. Students can only truly learn how to problem-solve with their peers if they are in a regular public school. Students can only learn how to handle and overcome peer pressure if they are faced with it in a regular school.
Of course, this attitude held by many supporters of a regular public school may suggest that actual “book” learning is not as important as learning how to deal with others, but only you can decide which is more important to your child. Both environments clearly offer opportunities for children to learn, but only you can choose which kind of learning is most vital to you and your family.
Along with the environment in which they learn, students (and their families) also have to consider what they are going to learn. Homeschooling and regular public schooling have different philosophies about these elements as well.
How children learn is a major factor in determining whether your child should stay at home or should go to school. Home-schooled children tend to learn through individual experience, and maybe that is best for your child. Regular public schooled children learn through relationships, and that may be what your child needs. Clearly, this is one major difference between the two philosophies. Another vital component, though, is what they learn, and like before, there are significant differences between the two camps.
For the most part, children learn the same basic skills, whether they are home-schooled or taught at a regular public school. They all learn to read, write, and solve basic math problems. Both sides can agree that is a good foundation. However, it is beyond this common foundation that home school and regular school differ. With this in mind, you must evaluate where you want your children’s education focus to be.
Since Homeschools Are Private Schools in Texas, Aren’t They Regulated the Same Way?
In Texas, homeschools are considered a type of private school and are recognized as legitimate schools (read more in The Critical Difference). However, there are substantial differences between the regulations applicable to homeschools and traditional private schools. These differences grant freedom to homeschools in many areas where traditional private schools are restricted.
Traditional Private Schools
- Require adequate financial resources.
- Demonstrate professional management of their resources.
- Provide a clearly stated philosophy with objectives that are adequate to implement the philosophy.
- Need a physical location and facilities adequate to support the program.
- Staff must hold relevant college degrees and be qualified, by preparation or experience, for the positions and work to which they are assigned.
- Must have a minimum attendance requirement similar to public schools, either in hours per day or days per year.
- Must conduct a self-study and qualitatively assess its strengths and limitations, including achievement of objectives and compliance with state Board of Education rules.
- Private elementary schools must maintain student academic records and achievement levels required for promotion, comparable to those in public schools.
Although homeschools are a type of private school, homeschools and traditional private schools are obviously distinct with regard to regulatory burdens. Thankfully, homeschools don’t have to follow the same rules that govern traditional private schools. Texas law treats homeschools as a specific type of private school, subject only to their own requirements.
Is Homeschooling About to Become the New Normal?
Teaching Truth in Your Homeschool Curriculum
It’s sometimes hard to guess which straw will finally break the camel’s back. But other times, the consequences are pretty clear. Our public schools have slowly become more dangerous, secular and liberal. Any remaining semblance of family values seems to be on the verge of death.
What exactly do we expect? Of course, not all public schools or public school teachers are liberal. However, the system itself seems to be a clear platform for liberal and anti-family values.
Forgive the frankness, but have we gone mad? Free thought and free expression are interesting things. At some point, American culture devolved from respecting minority opinions to believing that we must all agree with minority opinions. In other words, you have the freedom to hold your opinion unless someone else disagrees with it. Reality—even physical, biological and scientific reality—seems to have no bearing on what is true and what is not. Aren’t convinced yet? Even our college students can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy.
This environment surrounds our children. In Fort Worth, it’s not enough that children are emotionally and mentally subjected to this via the school culture. We are now physically endangering them to appease our fear of standing up for the truth.
Here at THSC, our position is clear: Parental rights and child safety trump personal opinion. Nobody’s desire for acceptance is more important than a parent’s ability to protect his or her child.
How Did We Get Here?
Throughout American history, parents’ opinions and childhood independence have changed drastically. First, young boys cared for the homestead. Then, they moved to suburban sandlots and visited dime stores. Finally, they played in the neighborhood. Now, parents have been reported for allowing siblings to walk to the park alone. Why is this? Is it because of danger? Or is it because of society’s politically correct rules?
Ironically, these pressures to conform are creating new potential dangers. Today’s rules prohibit a fair and objective citizen from noting clear physical differences and potentially inappropriate (or even threatening) situations.
In the last decade, simply allowing children to go to the changing room by themselves created disagreements. At what age is he or she old enough? Is it okay if the parent can see the door? But this year, those disagreements became a national controversy. It’s no longer just about childhood independence. It’s about common sense and addressing threatening, inappropriate situations. Can a 12, 13, or even 14-year-old girl know what to do if she encounters a man who believes that he’s a woman? For decade, we have depended on our girls to accompany the little ones to the locker room while Mommy supervises the toddler in the shallow end of the pool. Must the girls now must be accompanied as well?
Seeing the Truth for What It Really Is
Is truth really this fragile? Can we not see what we are doing to the next generation? They are about to grow up with no sense of reality, no concept of what is true or false, and no way to determine the appropriateness of their surroundings. Can they no longer be sure that plain physical truths are actually true?
On issues like these, it is difficult for me to find the proper balance between calling out the emperor out in front of everyone and trying to help him with clearly serious issues. At time, we all accept different lies about ourselves and life. Someone who doesn’t know whether he is a man or a woman is not a greater sinner than the rest of us. We can’t refuse to extend a helping hand simply because someone sins differently than we do.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
It’s More Than Policy and Laws
Ultimately, this is more than a simple policy problem. Even if we win the policy fight, the battle will continue all the same. We must teach the truth as well as defend it.
It’s amazing how much time Jesus spent on earth simply teaching. Did he fend off attacks? Certainly. Did he call out those who were promoting lies? Absolutely. Did he stop there? Definitely not.
Homeschooling is one of the last opportunities to teach our children the unpolluted truth. If the public schools continue down their current path, Christians, conservatives and those who simply fear for their child’s safety are going to start withdrawing their children. In the very near future, homeschooling could become the new normal for many families.
You don’t become a girl or a boy by merely believing that you are one. Your decision to live with another person of the same sex does not make that relationship a marriage. Other human beings don’t wait birth and your acknowledgement to actually become alive.