Friday, March 12, 2010

Somewhere in the Middle, Advantages of both Home Schooling and Public Schooling

I am finding I don't rest in either the home school camp or the public school camp because I see pros and cons to both situations. Kids are individuals with unique needs and I am beginning to see how these needs are difficult to meet by choosing one type of educational method over another. When I home schooled my son, I loved having the freedom to tailor a curriculum to his interests. But now that he is back in public school, I am seeing how he thrives on the energy found in a classroom comprised of his peers, even if it means he has to study some things he may not be interested in initially.

Each camp holds their reasons for choosing one method over the other dear, so I am going to list only the advantages of homeschooling and public schooling as I have experienced them, and try not to tread on the disadvantages.

Advantages of Home Schooling

-Allows freedom to tailor the curriculum to a child's specific needs and interests.

-Lots of opportunity for experiential learning through museum visits and other centers of learning.

-Opportunities to meet other home schooled kids through home school support groups which allow for social interaction.

-Kids and parents form close bond as they spend lots of time together.

-Teens are able to get involved in volunteer opportunities or have adults mentor them in areas they are interested in.

-Typically shorter school day allows for lots of free time to pursue outside interests and passions.

-Parents have stronger influence on who their children associate with. Ability to hand pick friends and avoid bad influences.

-Ability to avoid school violence or other negative influences found in school such as behavior problems or swearing.

-Many problems with school are avoided such as wasted time, studying senseless subjects, peer pressure etc...

Advantages of Public Schooling

-Ability to meet many different types of kids from various backgrounds and figure out your niche. Have a greater appreciation for the many kinds of people in the world.

-Learn to work with many different types of adults and learn how to meet their expectations.

-A feeling that "learning is contagious" as one picks up on the energy of the group as they get involved in what is being studied.

-Work with teachers whom have experience in their chosen field of study and who can bring a high level of learning to the classroom through projects and experiments.

-Exposure to many different types of subjects that may not be investigated otherwise and which could lead to a lifetime of interest.

-Time management skills as one learns how to juggle the needs of different classes.

-Conflict resolution skills or interpersonal skills as one learns how to get along with many different kinds of personalities.

-Learn how to do things you may not want to do. Understand that everything in life has an unpleasant side.

-Prom, yearbooks, knowing the kids in your community.

From this list, both options have their appeal. I can see how my son has benefited from participating in both home schooling and public schooling, but feel at this point of time that public school is serving him well. It is certainly not a perfect fit, but neither would be home schooling. Each option lacks some things he needs so we just do the best we can with where we are now. I guess that is how all parenting is...doing the best with what is in front of you at the time. I would love to hear from you if I missed some advantages you have found specific to either home schooling or public schooling.


Wendy said...

Up here, we have the option of doing both. That is, as homeschoolers, we can also take advantage of classes and programs offered at the school. I wonder if something kind of in the middle might work well for you son - a combination of both homeschooling and public schooling.

Personally, I'm firmly in the homeschool camp, and most of the advantages to public schooling that you mentioned I've found true in the classes, groups and activities we've done with other homeschoolers ;).

But I also recognize that no educational choice is perfect and rarely does "one size fit all." The key is to be able to tailor your choices so that it's a better fit, even if it bunches here or there :), which sounds like what you've done.

Darcy said...


I agree that you can find the advantages I listed in the public school section in homeschooling groups and activities. You are lucky to be able to blend public school and home school where you live if need be. That is what I did when I lived in Illinois and found it to be the perfect fit for my son. Unfortunately, that option is not available where I am living now so I am testing the public school waters once again. Luckily, I am finding my son's teachers receptive to altering their expectations if my son suggests a different way to complete an assignment.