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Homeschooling versus public schooling… where to begin.

As someone who was both home schooled and attended public school, I feel like I can speak honestly and from experience about this decision that we as parents all have to face.

I was home-schooled by my mom until 6th grade, and then I was put into public school. I “went to school” at home with my siblings, and was involved in other activities specifically for kids that were home schooled.

When I attended public school, I was involved in a few activities, but less than before due to the fact that there were so many more children. Although, I did get much different experiences in public school then when I was just at home with my siblings.

Here are my thoughts on both homeschooling and public schooling.  Hopefully it will help you all a little when trying to weigh this decision.

Public School

Let’s start off with the pros and cons of public school. First of all, I think the benefits of any public school start with the school districts themselves. I saw this article the other day that talked about the worst and best school system rankings in the United States. Where I live… didn’t fare so well on the list.

Living in a district that has high rankings and a good school system is a pro for public schooling. Children will continue to attend higher ranking schools as they get older which will also allow them more opportunities.

It is also a pro for parents who work and have busy schedules. We all want our children to get a good education but sometimes our own careers and need to support our families prevent us from being able to teach them at home or solely by ourselves. Public school is a great option for this reason!

Another positive aspect about public schooling is the socialization that children are exposed to. They are around so many types of other children and get to befriend and experience all of the cultures and backgrounds that other children have.

However, this can also be a con. Along with the good, also comes the bad. Children are exposed to negative things at a younger and younger age these days and in public school, there is really no filter that parents can put out there to prevent this. Yes, we can teach our children right and wrong but we can’t un-hear or un-see things that they are exposed to at school.

Another negative of public school is the schooling itself. There are a lot of children and not as many teachers (on not so great a salary). While some teachers are wonderful and really put the effort to focus on each and every child, not each one will get the same attention or focus as others. Not to mention, children are rushed through content sometimes and if they don’t get it, they simply get held back for an entire year. Not exactly an ideal situation.

I cannot even dive into the issues of testing that public schooling has because this is such a debated topic and I have very strong, obviously negative, feelings about mass testing in public school.

Homeschooling

Homeschooling is can be much different then public schooling. Some of the benefits of homeschooling include the fact that children get a one-on-one experience with their teacher. Even if they are being schooled with their sibling(s), we as parents have mastered the art of spreading out attention to multiple children and tasks. And even so, they are still getting more attention then the ratio of 1:25 kids in a public school setting.

imageWe as parents also get to be hands on with our children in what they learn and what they are subject to seeing and hearing. In my mind, we almost get to protect them a little bit longer from some of the craziness that is out in the world.

Children also get schoolwork that lends to their own strengths and really allows those to shine. While they still have to do all of the same concepts and subjects that those in public school do, home school work allows what they are best at to really be known, and also what they are not so good at to be highlighted so that more time can be spent on it.

A down side of homeschooling is the obvious lack of socializing that children not in public school miss out on. However, there are so many options for home school groups, I myself was in three different groups when I was home schooled, so that children can still get socialized and still build those friendships.

Another con is the time and money that homeschooling takes. It is an invest on the part of the parent because it is a 5-day-a-week job, basically. Our children’s education is on our shoulders alone and we have to be dedicated to this completely. It is also expensive. The books and tools needed to properly home school can sometimes be a large financial investment.

I am slightly biased towards home schooling because I had such a great experience with it. But, I think that if you can find a good school district that has strong educational values, then public schooling can be just as great for kids!

Whether you are homeschooling are not, there are so many tools out there at the disposal of parents to either get kids prepared to begin school or to keep their minds busy and active while not doing schoolwork.

No matter what we decide in terms of where our children go to school, it will be what we think is best and there is no harm in exploring all the options!

What is your preference? Do you think that public school or home school is better, personally?

-Joanna