A guest post from Jessica at Candle In The Night blog.
In the last post, I talked about a few of the academic benefits to homeschooling. Today, let’s look at another side of things. Many parents might want to home school their children in an effort to give their children a different world view. Here are some examples.
Public School: Curriculum is chosen by the school. Children are taught what the governing bodies at the school want them to learn. This may include materials that parents disagree with ranging all the way from evolution to sex education. In the public school setting, it doesn’t really matter what the parent wants the child to learn. The child will be taught the curriculum chosen by the district.
Home School: Curriculum is chosen by the parent. If a parent wants to teach their child science from a Christian perspective, they can. If they want to include the Bible in their handwriting, it’s acceptable. There are many Christian values that can and should be interwoven into daily teaching, but get left out in the public schools.
Public School: There is often a disconnect between parents and their children. When kids spend the majority of their days in school, they are building relationships with their peers and their teachers. This may not always be the case, but in my time of teaching, I often saw students who were more invested in those relationships than their relationships at home.
Home School: Children are invested in family relationships. Children who are taught at home tend to spend the majority of their time with their parents and siblings. In these families, children tend to be more invested in their relationships at home which builds a connection between the hearts of children and their parents.
Public School: Children choose their own friends. They have a pool of children from which to choose their friends and since there isn’t a parent there to guide them, they get to choose whoever they want.
Home School: Parents help guide their children’s friendships. Since home schooled children aren’t around people outside of their family, parents must make an effort to get them involved in other activities. Through this, parents are able to guide their children to building strong friendships with like-minded families. (I know this may not sound like a positive thing as children do need to learn how to build solid friendships on their own and also how to reach out to others who may not be considered lovable, but to be honest, I rarely see home schooled children who can’t do these things. It seems that the guidance from the parents when the children are smaller leads to an older child who is sensitive to the needs of others and knows how to be a friend to the hurting.)
Public School: Age segregation is the norm. In the public schools, children are divided up by age. They learn to relate to the kids in their age group really well, but may not be able to relate to those older or younger than them as well.
Home School: Children build relationships within a wide variety of age groups. A fifth grade homeschooler may have an 8th grade sibling, a 3rd grade sibling, a kindergarten sibling, and a baby at home. They are around those other children and their parents most of the time. When they do activities with other homeschoolers, they are rarely age segregated.
Public School: Children are extremely likely to be exposed to “R” rated material. Sad, but true. As a fifth grade teacher, I knew students who were sent to the office for things that were at least “R” rated. Sexual harassment was not unheard of. Language was filthy. The environment in a fifth grade locker room isn’t one I’d willingly put myself in, so why would I put my kids there?
Home School: Parents can shelter their children. I could write a whole post on why it’s okay to shelter your kids. But I’ll just say this. You’re their parent. It’s your job to shelter your children. When you teach them at home, you’re protecting them from profanity, violence, and sex.
The last set of differences between homeschooling and public schooling is the convenience. These are the things that make homeschooling so much fun!
Public School: One or two field trips per year. In our district, each grade level took two field trips per year. Field trips are extremely expensive for a district as they have to pay for ~25 little people, plus teachers and chaperones to get into the location, plus gas for the buses. Because of expenses and time away from the classroom environment, the number of field trips is extremely limited.
Home School: Because many parents of homeschoolers see the value of field trips to learning, some families will take as many as one or two field trips per month. The expense is much less since there are a smaller number of people going and because there is individualized instruction, field trips can be used more as a learning experience and parents don’t have to worry about missing out on in-class time.
Public School: Schedules. You get up at 7:00. You get dressed and ready to go. You’re at school by 8:00. You sit in desks for a couple hours. Lunch is at 11:47. You go home at 3:18. You do homework. You go to bed. Your whole life is scheduled for you!
Home School: Schedules. You have control of them! Up late getting home from a field trip? You get to sleep in! Done with your English lesson early? You play a game. And you know that rumor about homeschoolers doing school in their pajamas? Well…for some families…it’s true!
Public School: School is out for the summer. Unless you’re in a district that has year-round school (are there districts like that?), you’re out for the summer.
Home School: School is out whenever mom or dad say it’s out! Let’s say you’ve just endured a long, frigid winter and there’s a beautiful spring day in March. While all the public school kids are at school, a homeschooling family can take that opportunity to head to the park and have it all to themselves! No worries! They can make the day up on a scorcher in June or July! Or what if the family wants to go skiing? They don’t have to do it during Christmas break. They can hit the slopes for a week when everyone else is at school and have the resort all to themselves! See? I told you this was the fun part!
Public School: Snow days happen when the roads are bad. Really bad. Like, you may fear for your child’s life some days because the roads aren’t quite bad enough to cancel school.
Home School: There’s no such thing as snow days. When it’s frigid, you stay inside and work. When it’s snowing, but not terrible, you go play out in the snow because guess what?? You can make up that day on a rainy day during spring break while the public school kids are bummed about missing a day outside!
One last benefit of homeschooling that I want to emphasize is that you get to be with your kids! When I left the public schools to stay home with my kids, I had teachers tell me they didn’t know how I could do it. They couldn’t STAND to be home with their kids all day. My response? “But you can be here with other people’s kids all day?” When you home school your child, you’re not only giving them an incredible opportunity to have the perfect learning environment that is not only fun, but also sheltered from the world, you’re giving yourself a gift. The gift to be at home with the ones God has given to you. It’s a chance to raise them up into people you want to spend time with. Take advantage of it!