Homeschooling vs Public Schools: The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

The decision of whether to home school a child or to send a child to public school is a personal one. Not only is the parent’s time and ability to act as a teacher important, but whether the child’s education and socialization needs will be met must also be considered. There are several benefits and drawbacks to homeschooling. However, these drawbacks and benefits are not universal and should be analyzed by each family individually.

The Impact on Socialization

Many psychologists, teachers and therapists support the argument that one of the most important aspects of schooling is socialization. At school students learn how to interact with other children and adults, appropriately respond to conflict and developing friendships. Homeschooling does not completely eliminate a student’s chance to socialize with other children their age, but significantly reduces the amount of time spent interacting with others. This requires homeschooling parents to find social activities to ensure that their child receives enough social interaction to properly develop their social skills. While this is by no means an entirely negative aspect to homeschooling, it does require parents to research, register, pay for and attend additional activities solely for the purpose of socialization.

Control over Curriculum

Perhaps the most often discussed aspect of homeschooling is the ability for parents to control the curriculum. With homeschooling, parents can introduce the topics of study as well as the lesson plans covering that topic. This provides parents with the means to reduce or eliminate altogether those aspects of a particular topic that they feel unnecessary or uncivilized. Of course, state education laws often require parents to cover specific topics within subjects, but how those topics are handled is up to the parents.

The drawbacks to having control over the curriculum are that it places a lot of pressure on the parents and leaves open the possibility that a subject will not be completely discussed. Purchasing pre-made home school curriculum materials can keep parents focused and on track.

The Ability to Incorporate Religious Instruction

Parents often use this capability to provide their children with a religious education. While by no means do all home school curriculums include religious instruction, unlike public schools it is possible to include the topic as often as a parent would like. In a home school curriculum science, math and other subjects can be taught through religious texts and contain religious-themed lesson plans and assignments. This permits parents to provide their children an education that conforms to their personal beliefs.

Of course, secular education has its benefits. For many parents, even those that home school, separating religion and education is important. A home school curriculum can, but does not need, to be religiously based. The option, however, is attractive to many parents.

Access to Educational Tools

Public schools typically provide students with advanced technological tools to supplement their education. These include calculators and scientific lab tools such as beakers, burners and chemicals. Some of these items, such as calculators, are easily obtainable by homeschooling parents, but others, such as chemicals are not. This may mean that a child does not receive instruction in some areas, particularly science. For example, animal dissection and other scientific studies are rarely taught at home.

Freedom and Flexibility in Learning

One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling is the ability for the curriculum and lesson plans to be adjusted to the student’s learning style. Moreover, lesson plans can be as creative and unique as a parent wants. Chemistry classes can take place in the kitchen and botany classes in the family’s garden. It is very easy to spend more time on a subject if a parent feels the student has not yet grasped it completely, and it is also easy to breeze through a subject that the student masters faster than anticipated.  

This is one aspect of homeschooling that public schools often cannot match. State required curriculums and the number of students requires teachers to keep all students on the same track for the sake of ease. This can result in students being bored due to not being challenged or to students falling behind because they required more instruction on the topic. The chance of either of these occurring for homeschooled children is significantly less.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to home school your child is a question of whether the program and curriculum of homeschooling vs public schools is a better fit for both you and your child. To find out more about the pros and cons of homeschooling, visit the sites below: