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Public School vs Homeschool

Public school vs homeschool, what are the pros and cons of each. How does one decide which option is the best for his or her child(ren). In this public school vs homeschool post we will look at some of the pros and cons of each as well as some questions to ask and things to consider when making the decision about where your children with gain the best education. Obviously there is not one right answer and the decision will have to be made on an individual basis. One child may thrive in the public school environment; the interaction, competition and insight that comes from learning in a group of peers is exactly what some people need. For others this type of environment is intimidating, scary, and very stressful.

Public School vs Homeschool
We are not going to give you some big generic list of what is better about public school vs homeschool or vice versa, simply because there is no list that would be true for everyone and because every public school and homeschool differs based on resources, staffing, funding, etc. Deciding the pros of public school vs homeschool for your child will depend on a number of factors. How does your child do in a group of peers, how does your child respond to instructions from adults, does your child do well following instructions and completing a task on his/her own or does he need constant attention and help to complete a task? For a child that does very well following directions, interacting with peers, and has some motivation for self learning, a public school may very well be a good fit. He will have many opportunities to interact with many other children, will be able to learn things from each of these interactions, and may even be spurred on in his learning by the competition of doing as well as the child sitting next to him. Another advantage of public school is that a child often has the opportunity to help other children. He learns to recognize situations in which he can help and he learns to be a leader and teacher by helping classmates, teachers, or other students attending the same school.

For the child that is very timid and does not do well in a group setting, the pros of a homeschool situation may outweigh those of a public school. Sometimes shy children get lost in the shuffle of a public school setting. He or she may be too scared to ask for help or clarification if he does not understand an assignment or lack of communication between parents and teachers may not make it clear that he is struggling in a particular area. Some children are very intimidated by other children and will not make an effort to try something they are interested in because they are worried about what others will think. For these children being in the comfort of their own home with one on one instruction and no comparison to other children can make a world of difference in how well he learns. 

Some other pros of public school, which vary from school to school based on the area, funding, and staff that works at the school, may include having trained professionals that are directly involved in your child’s education. Teachers are often trained to look for and recognize learning disabilities or even gifted students early on and the school may have special programs to help accommodate these special needs, whereas a child that is being homeschooled may have a disability that is overlooked and/or may not have access to the knowledge, resources, or equipment needed to help the child with his special needs. Another pro of public schools compared to homeschool is that they have professional resources like counseling, free meals, and special educational trips, for those that qualify, that a child being homeschooled may not have access to.

Assessing the needs of your child, to the extent possible, will help you decide what the possible pros of public school vs homeschool is for your child(ren). Meeting the teachers, talking to some of the parents in your neighborhood, and learning about the technology and educational programs at the local public school will all play an important role in your decision. When considering homeschool be realistic about your expectations. How much time, money, and dedication do you have to helping your child succeed? Homeschooling can be a very positive and rewarding experience but it takes a lot of time and dedication. Be sure to take into consideration your child’s social needs, college plans, and personality to make sure that the pros of homeschooling are in the child’s best interest both now and long term. For a long time homeschooling was seen in a negative light because too many parents were keeping the kids home to help with chores, younger children, or for other reasons and were not providing the child with the education he/she needed. These students were then at a huge disadvantage in regards to jobs, higher education, and social skills.

There is no one right answer that fits every child or even one family. You may have one child that excels in a public school setting and one that does not. Or you may have a child that does very well in a homeschool situation when he is young but then desires the interaction of others as he grows and matures. Be flexible in your education choices. Reevaluate the needs, progress, and skills of each child regularly and do what is in the best interest of the child. Don’t do something just to make a point. If one situation is not right for your child, work to find one that is better.