Do home schooled children receive proper education? Will my child learn as much at home as he/she would in a public education system? Can we afford to get nine years into our child’s education to look into other options? Many parents find themselves asking these questions when it comes to the best learning environment for their child. There are several aspects you should consider when choosing between public education and home schooling your child. The three main things to take into consideration are the environment and costs, the academic/curriculum outline, and the social benefactors of each educational program.
Public school is offered to all children free of charge, funded by taxation to help ensure that society is educated. Public education takes place in a school house setting. Teachers educate around 25 students per classroom. Parents are responsible for purchasing school supplies and materials such as pencils, paper, folders, crayons, tissue, etc. Public education offers your child free transportation on the school bus, as well as breakfast and lunch provided by the government. Homeschooling was made legal in 1993. Home school is the education of children at home. The “teachers” are in most cases the child’s parents. Children who home school learn in the comfort of their own home, generally around other siblings who are being home-schooled. In most cases, the home “classroom” environment has less distractions than public school. Parents are responsible for all educational expenses such as materials, teaching seminars, teacher study/answer guides, meals, etc. Home-school can get expensive. Darla Jones, a mother who home-schools her children, says “Our cost for curriculum alone is $1,200.00 per child per year, but of course that is the Abeka DVD program. It is expensive. Then you add in breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home…no free or reduced meals.”
Academic outline and core curriculum are important when choosing which education program is best for your child. Public school is divided into three levels for success; elementary school, middle school, and high school. Public school involves testing and standards by the government and they base their core curriculum on the standardized tests. The core curriculum for public school students focus on reading, writing, and mathematics, with elective options such as art, music, etc. “There are some good and bad to both public education and home school. It all depends on the parents/children. Some children need homeschooling because with the “No Child Left Behind” act, they may fall through the cracks in the public school system, and whether they learn or not, some will be moved up in grades. Some public schools have so many children that they cannot give enough attention to every student. I don’t believe you learn only about the real world through homeschooling. If parents are doing their job and teaching their kids instead of leaving it all up to the teachers, children would be well rounded whether home-schooled or in public school.”, says public preschool teacher, Heather Coffee. The curriculum for home-school is generally designed by the child’s parent, with several subjects to choose from. Home-school mother, Angie Shelton states, “A parent can be resourceful and creative to keep costs to a minimum, especially if they reuse books from friends or family. There is no help with curriculum from the public school. Home-schoolers are not restricted by what they can or cannot teach, and there is a wide variety of curriculum for home-schoolers to choose from.” Parents can teach the same curriculum subjects as public school, along with an array of subjects like logical reasoning, geography, agriculture, art appreciation, Spanish, consumer math, keyboarding, family sciences, speech, and music appreciation.
A concern that many parents share is the social benefactors of both, public and home school. Public school enables your child to learn in a classroom with other children from the neighborhood/city. Your child will gain social skills and communication skills by interacting with teachers and other students. Students who attend public school are offered after school programs like basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and track; and clubs like FFA, FCLA, FCA, FHA, and FBLA. Children are exposed to bullying, assault, theft, and violence when enrolled in public schools. Some argue that children in home-school lack in social skills. However, research shows that being home-schooled do not affect the child’s socialization skills, or lack thereof. Home-schooled children have several activities that they can participate in such as church, youth group, community activities, and any child who is enrolled in home-school is allowed to play on any athletic sports team in the public school. They also interact with their siblings while at home. All of these activities enable the child to build socialization skills. Other benefits to home-school education is that it gives the family the opportunity to build a strong family bond, there are less safety issues, and your child is not exposed to the influences of their peers, as they are in public school. Home-school graduate, Nick Shelton says, “I was home-schooled most of my life. I went to public school in the 9th grade and I had to re-learn everything. Even though I passed with A’s and B’s, I feel like public school was a joke. I have as much as or more social skills and life skills of any public school student. Many public school students (not all) my age are so far behind in life skills that they act as if they are still in high school.” In my opinion, there is not a significant difference in the child’s ability to gain social skills and confidence in either learning environment.
Based upon the research I have done and the interviews that I have conducted, I believe that both public and home-school are exceptional educational environments for a child. However, I believe home-school benefits your child’s education more than public education. I believe parents should have the right to chose which option is best for their child. There is a lot of controversy on this topic, as everyone has their own opinion and each child has their own educational needs. Before enrolling your child in an educational program, take a moment to examine each programs environment and costs, the academic outline, and how much your child will benefit in each environment.