Home Schooling vs. Public Schools : Making the Choice
Despite all of the bad press they receive, attending public school is still the way most kids get an education. But with bullying, in-school violence, budget cuts and crowded classrooms, is home-schooling the better option?
Bullying. In school violence. Falling grades. Budget cuts. All of these things are concerns that many parents have about the public schools that their children attend and more and more parents are considering the option of home schooling instead. But is that really the better option?
Despite all of the bad press they receive, attending public school is still the way most kids get an education. And the fact is that just like any other ‘service’ there are truly excellent public schools, there are ‘okay’ public schools and there are some admittedly really bad ones.
When considering things like bullying and violence it should be remembered that those things can occur at even the most expensive of private schools as well, or at the ‘mixers’ that are organized for home schooled children. They are unfortunate facts of life that it is very hard to find solutions for. Therefore, you can really on judge public schools on what they are really meant to provide – a decent education for every child.
There is no doubt that public schools in many areas have quite a long way to go before they can all be considered ‘up to standard.’ Some things are also out of the control of the schools themselves.
Government bodies mandate testing standards, and many teachers feel that they have to spend too much time preparing kids for tests and cannot spend the time developing creativity in the way they would like. There is also the issue that public school teachers are woefully underpaid, something that does not make it a very appealing profession for the brightest and the best college graduates.
Public school standards are improving, although many of them have a long way to go. Class sizes are still rather large, making it hard for kids to receive individual attention, one of the biggest arguments for home schooling there is.
There are some things that public schools can provide that home schooling really cannot though, especially in the fields of the arts and athletics. Study after study has actually shown that public school students involved in these activities do better academically than those who are not. There are some limited opportunities for home schooled kids if they join certain organisations, but these are nothing compared to those public schools can offer.
Choosing to home school their child is a legal right that parents now have. And research certainly does show that in many cases the academic performances of home schooled children are better. Those, however, are findings based on averages. How well a home schooled child really does depends upon the level of commitment that parents can make to the endeavour.
For many parents home schooling is actually not even an option that they can consider, as it requires the commitment of one parent to stay at home and provide the education and supervision needed. In many families, the loss of a second income would be a financial disaster they can ill afford.
Those who can afford to consider teaching their child at home also have to be prepared to make huge sacrifices in terms of their own time. Many home school programs are now online based, which takes a great deal of the actual burden of teaching off parents. However, it is up to parents to ensure that schoolwork actually gets done every day.
The biggest concern education experts have about homeschooling though revolve around the social aspects of school. There are a growing number of organizations that do help parents make sure that their home schooled child does get to interact with others on a regular basis and participate in sports and the arts. It is however up to individual parents to find these groups and actually get their kids to them.
In the end, homeschooling may be a viable alternative for a family with the financial resources and the time to dedicate the requisite efforts. Even those that do though may still want to consider public schooling for a child who is gifted in athletics or the arts.