A guest post from Jessica at Candle in the Night blog!
I’ve known for years that I would teach my children at home. There are many reasons to homeschool, one of which is this verse.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7: And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
After experiencing public schools from the teacher’s perspective, my resolve to home school is even stronger. There is no way I’d send my children to a public school. Not when there’s a way that is so much better.
I taught fifth grade in a smaller school district for two years. I’d like to share with you some of the differences I have seen between homeschooling and public schooling. Let’s start with the academic side of school.
Public School: Ratio: 20-25 to 1 or if you’re lucky, 2. One teacher to 25 students, all with different needs, learning styles, and backgrounds.
Home School: Ratio: 1-6 (or 7 or 8) to 1 or 2. Still one teacher (or two if Dad’s helping), but this time only a handful of students, still with different needs, learning styles, and backgrounds.
Public School: Students are new each year. The teachers literally have to relearn how to teach with each new class that walks through their doors because each class is so different than the previous one.
Home School: Students are well known. In fact, their teachers (aka Mom and Dad) probably know then better than anyone else. This includes their learning styles, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and background. When a new school year starts, there isn’t any time wasted figuring these things out. There may be tweaking along the way, but for the most part, a home school family is able to jump right in to learning.
Public School: Teaching is geared toward the middle of the class. This is absolutely not an insult to public school teachers. It’s simply a fact. A teacher has to put out huge effort to reach each child. Those at the top and bottom often get lost. The best teachers will make sure those students are also learning as best they can, but there are only so many hours in a day. The way our education system is set up, everyone evens out. This is so frustrating to most teachers because not only do we hate to leave the children behind who don’t quite grasp a concept, we would also much prefer to see the children at the top of the class excel and advance according to their ability.
Home School: Teaching is personalized. If a child is struggling, they get extra attention. There’s no “rest of the class” who has to move on without them. They learn the material and then move on. Plain and simple. If they’re bright, they can advance quickly. There’s no one to say a student can’t be doing fifth grade reading in the third grade. If they already know how to add and subtract at age five, there’s nobody saying, “Well, they all even out in a couple years”, they are allowed to do second grade math. Children who are taught at home are far more likely to reach their learning potential as the teaching can be geared toward them specifically.
Public School: Standardized Testing. Need I say more? Much of the spring semester is geared toward preparing for standardized tests. These tests are a total waste of time (I know…my opinion) and end up taking anywhere from two to six weeks in some districts to prepare for and administer. There is very little that they actually tell the teachers or parents and have no instructional value for the students.
Home School: Standardized testing is optional. Many homeschooling families choose to have their students take the state standardized test, but it’s either just for fun, out of curiosity, or to give them practice for taking the ACT or SAT later down the road. It’s totally optional and therefore takes no time away from instruction. The families I’ve seen do testing with their children have taken them to a private school that administers the test over two or three days. Never have I seen a homeschooling family take six weeks out of their instruction for testing.
These are just some of the academic advantages to homeschooling. In the next post, I’ll be sharing the moral and *fun* advantages to homeschooling!