Homeschooling vs public schooling. It’s that time of year again.
The summer is just about over, your kid’s faces are glowing with health, the new school shoes and PE kit bags are stuffed and polished waiting in the hallway.
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That time of year when you try your hardest to soothe your distressed kids.
Reassure them as they become sadder and more withdrawn – filled with dread as their first day back at school looms closer.
That was me ten years ago.
Faced with unhappy public school kids I asked myself whether I could possibly homeschool my children.
Me, who had no teaching experience whatsoever.
Me who is not patient or ‘homeschooly’ in any way shape or form.
But I simply couldn’t face another term of tears and anguish, so I began to research everything I could about homeschooling vs public school and to try and decide if it was possible for me to attempt teaching my own kids at home.
Which Is Best? Homeschooling Or Public School?
Now, ten years on and my kids have done both; public schooling and homeschooling and for us; without a doubt, there is no comparison – it would be homeschooling all the way.
My biggest claim to fame when it comes to homeschooling my two kids (who are now 18, and 15 ) is that last year, my husband and I took our teenagers backpacking around the world for a year.
At first, I worried that they would miss out. We had a schedule that worked, and, after nine years of learning at home, both of my kids were used to a solid homeschooling routine.
(I don’t mind admitting to you that I am a bit of a control freak).
The reason I am telling you my life story is that I wish I’d known someone like me when I started homeschooling.
What I Wish I’d Known When I Started Homeschooling
I am almost at the end of my gorgeous, homeschooling journey.
I shouldn’t say gorgeous.
It’s gorgeous now because I am looking back and have succeeded; but at the time, ten years ago when I first took my children out of public school to teach them at home, I did what every unsure parent does; I worried and fretted, cried and panicked.
Just like you.
I wished I’d known someone like me back then.
Someone who had taken their kids out of public school, homeschooled them until they were 18; dabbled in unschooling while they backpacked the world for a year and still, was able to smile.
A real living example.
Someone that could prove to me that just because you homeschool your kids and (maybe) let them play too many computer games, they won’t turn out to be unsocialised little freaks who can’t look a stranger in the eye or recite their nine times table.
And now, I am that person.
Ten years on and my kids are beautiful, intelligent, happy kids.
And I’m here for you.
Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling. You Decide
1: Public School Mornings
The school day starts at 8.40 am sharp. 7.30 am if you have to catch the bus. That is not so bad if you have primary school children, but little kids and teenagers do NOT like getting up early and going out when it is still dark
Learning at home starts when you want it to. If your kid is a teenager like mine and can’t get out of bed before 10 am for fear of the light revealing his vampire teeth and bat wings, then let them get up late and work until they have finished.
2: Public School Holidays
Your kids will be granted eight to ten weeks in the summer, a couple of weeks at Christmas and a few weeks here and there throughout the year.
Along with every other, Tom Dick and Harry.
Hotels are extortionate, flights are ridiculous, campsites are crowded. You get the picture. And don’t even think about trying to sneak your kids out a week or two early. The number of hefty fines issued to the parents of schoolchildren who had been absent from school with ‘no exceptional circumstance’ rose in the Uk by 93% in 2018.
Whenever you feel like it.
3: Public School Classroom Numbers
I’m sure that you have done your research on public school class sizes around the world but just so that we are clear, (from data gathered in 2016) the US the average class size was 20.8 and in the UK 25.9.
Usually with one teacher and a helper.
Homeschooling Classroom Numbers
Your classroom numbers will be however many kids you have.
For us, it was five, including the dog and the cat.
4: Public School Sickness
I don’t mean to be gross here, and I’m sorry if you are eating, but when comparing homeschooling to public school, these facts cannot be ignored.
Nits, colds, school sores, pink eye – you can guarantee that by sending your child to a room full of smellies for 6 hours a day they will, regularly contract one or more of these common public school illnesses.
When my kids were both at public school the bane of my life was my daughter’s nits, and it took my son weeks to get rid of his school sores, so I’m bringing this to you with love and sympathy.
Hardly ever. And nits were thankfully a thing of the past once we started homeschooling.
Please stop itching your head.
5: Public School Socialising
This word gets under my skin. And I bet any other homeschooling parent (and child) feels the same.
If you are considering homeschooling your child – whether they are in public school or not, know that you will be asked (about a million times a week) “what about socialising?”.
Ok then. Yes. Socialising. Shall I start with the good or the bad?
The good. Your kids will be with their friends at school.
Let me rephrase that. They will be with them at break time. And for ten minutes after school. And if they are teenagers they will sit alongside them on their phones while they talk to other friends who aren’t in that school.
That’s the good socialising that everyone goes on about. If your child needs and loves this then fine; leave them where they are.
Bullies. Your kids might get bullied. Hopefully not, but it is quite possible.
Both of my children were, so that’s why I mention it. And it’s horrible, so no thank you, socialisation is not high on my list of priorities where public school is concerned and neither should it be yours.
Maybe back in the olden days when I was a girl; before the world had discovered tweets or snap chat or ‘live stories’ and you lived in the back and beyond on a farm with nothing but fields and cows then yes; homeschooling socialisation might have been a concern.
Now; if you are a homeschooling parent (of a teenager at least) your problem won’t be how to get them to socialise, it will be how to get them off their phones and to stop taking selfies and posting them on social media sites.
The internet has brought with it a new way for kids to make friends and socialise. My son would sit for hours playing computer games with kids from different countries – laughing and joking, just like a real socialised Pinocchio boy.
Friends In The Homeschool Community
For those who have kids that are yet to discover the addiction of technology; clubs, playdates, other homeschool families will bring your kids plenty of socialisation. Unless you live on the moon, you will never have to worry about your kids having friends. I promise.
And as for the bullying issue. I was so often told by so-called well-wishers that “if your kids don’t know how to deal with bullies they will never get along in life”.
Take it from me who was bullied continuously for three years at high school; it made me no stronger and no more robust than if you had made me eat a tub of nails for my breakfast every day.
I’m still a wimp who hates confrontation.
So, that puts that statement into the ‘what a load of crap basket’.
6: Public School Learning
If your child is a middle of the roader, then you’ll be ok. As long as he or she doesn’t need extra help or finishes way ahead of the other kids, then all will be good.
But I’m going to take a wild guess that this isn’t the case and that’s why you’re here reading this article on homeschooling vs public school.
You child is either (like mine was) being told that he was ‘slow at maths’ or you are in discussion as to whether you can put your child ahead a year because she is bored with the level of work and finds it too easy.
Either way, public school has neither the resources nor the time to cater for 25 different levels of learning.
In our school st least, we were expected to keep up, shut up and put up.
Only you know your child.
You know what they need and how they learn best. Bringing your child home to learn gives them the time, space, and a safe environment in which to learn what they want when they want and how they want to learn it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling
Will homeschooling affect college?
Check out the college of your choice to see what test results they require.
Studies suggest that homeschoolers who go on to college outperform their peers. So much so that many colleges actively seek out homeschoolers as they tend to be excellent college students.
College Admissions officers will take into account not only the exams that the homeschooled student has taken (easy to do online with companies such as study.com ) but the life skills they have acquired and the opportunities they’ve had.
There are lots of homeschool college courses that you can do online too.
How much will homeschooling cost? How much are homeschooling programs?
Homeschooling costs as much or as little as you’d like it to. There are thousands of free resources online that you can use that do the job perfectly.
The beauty of homeschooling is that it’s up to you.
It’s your choice.
When my kids were between 6 and 12, I never bought any curriculum programme for English; instead, I encouraged them to write poems, read books from the library and write stories. All of which were free.
We did, however, use (and I swear by) the Singapore Maths books for homeschooling. Singapore maths is recognised throughout the homeschool community as being one of the best maths programs in the world.
Their lovely illustrated maths books took my kids right up to high school level, and I couldn’t fault them.
If you have little kids, then I would recommend buying some educational posters like these and putting them around the house. (Mine were always in the bathroom so were well-read!) These posters are guaranteed to spark a conversation which, let’s face it, is the core of learning!
Once your kids get to a certain age they will enjoy learning online. In fact, that is all they will want to do. Lucky for us homeschoolers there are thousands of online courses out there.
Let me share with you the best ones that we found.
Udemy online learning is probably the most reasonably priced and also the most well known.
My son did a coding course with Udemy which he loved and learned stacks.
Homeschooling. Can you skip grades?
Yes. If you are a quick learner or you are finding the work is too easy, then you may skip a grade.
Homeschooling Versus Public School statistics
This information was taken from the website study.com.
According to a study completed in 2011, 3.4% of school-aged children in the United States were educated at home. Of these 1,770,000 students, 25% of their parents decided to homeschool based on concerns about the environment of other schools. Other reasons for homeschooling included: non-educational (family, travel, financial) reasons (21%); dissatisfaction with instruction at other schools (19%); and religious instructional needs (16%).
Can you homeschool while working full time?
While it is certainly possible to homeschool while working full time, it is something that I tried, struggled with and quit, so I am probably not the best person to ask.
I do know of plenty of successful homeschool parents that work full time, and their kids have not suffered; in fact, they appear to be more independent and flexible because of it.
Homeschooling. How to get started?
Find your local homeschooling community. These support groups offer a wealth of homeschooling advice and tips and will be an anchor for you when beginning on your homeschooling journey.
Contact your local education authorities. Tell them you would like to apply to homeschool your child.
Fill in all of the necessary paperwork (be patient – you have to jump through many hoops).
Once accepted, tell your child’s school of your plans and set a date to leave public school and start homeschooling!
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To Sum Up – Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling
This isn’t a post on the fors and against of homeschooling; I will write that post after I have finished this one. It is a comparison between the two choices that your child has – homeschooling and public school.
I could go on and on about homeschooling vs public schooling because homeschooling worked wonderfully for us. You may be different, and I don’t want you thinking that the life of a homeschool mum is a bed of roses – it isn’t.
My kids weren’t happy at school so homeschooling them was what we chose to do. Now, ten years later they are happy, free to spend their time how they wish and we get to travel all over the world without paying fines!
For us, there was never a comparison between the two. Let me know how you stand on homeschooling and public school. Have you done both? Do you want to swap from one to the other? Drop me a comment below and please, if you enjoyed this post please share it with someone who would benefit.