Home Schooling vs Public Schooling
Making a comparison of home schooling vs public schooling could be likened in
many ways to getting the necessary nutrients into your body via a shot versus getting those nutrients by eating a
fruit salad. Both of the latter provide nutrients to the body and both types of schooling yield education. But the
differences in the methods and the results of what each provide are striking.
In this discussion comparing public and home schools, two questions stand out: 1)What kind of
education is obtained as an end result and 2)What are the side effects of each methodology? We will compare
several important aspects of home schooling vs public schooling in the following paragraphs; basic structure
differences, academic differences, sociological differences, differences in the effect on family unit and
differences in the effect on character development.
BASIC STRUCTURE DIFFERENCES
This method involves formal classroom settings in school
buildings, with 20 or more children per class being the average.
Typically class work is done, homework is expected and testing determines the students passing or failing. This
method of teaching has been shown in studies to allow for very short term retention, but was not found to be
effective for long term retention (How Children Learn - Holt).
Public school structure has evolved to the place that it actually engulfs much of a child's social
life if allowed. School presentations, school sponsored events, sports, and other such activities are going on
almost every day after regular class hours. Hours of attendance are rigid, and even without the outside activities,
can take up a large percentage of the child's life.
Students who present any special learning needs outside the norm will usually be sent to another
setting such as learning disabled, remedial, as the teacher cannot take time from the many other students to give
individual attention to just one.
This method can be as varied as you choose to make it. From classroom- like to completely informal, it can take
place in almost any setting. From the kitchen table, to a sunny yard, to a houseboat, schooling can be effectively
conducted. Your options are almost endless. You are able even at this basic structural stage, to create whatever
you believe will be best or most conducive for your children's learning.
Because giving a child individual focus greatly increases speed of learning as well as retention,
you will need to spend much less time in direct schooling in order to get your desired agenda accomplished. Which
subject, time allotted for each and style of learning can all be decided by the parent. The variety of choices for
every aspect of structuring your home school is enhanced by the fact that you are never locked into anything, but
can freely change anything at any time, as you the parent see the need arise.
Progress can be evaluated by testing or your choice of many other effective methods. Or you may not
need such summary evaluations as you are generally in touch with all aspects of what is going on with your child on
a daily basis.
Any problems arising can usually be dealt with effectively by the parent rather than sending the
child away. After all who is better suited to both understand and lovingly counsel and/or do any special tutoring
Public school academics are basically set in stone having been decided by public education authorities (usually the
state the school resides in). The grades (K-12), which subjects per grade, textbooks and progress expected within
those chosen texts, are all decided by the governing authorities.
For most public school subjects the learning method is predominantly rote; reading, memorization,
testing and so forth. Though some classes do involve lab work or physical activity such as high school science and
phys ed. Public high schools also offer some choices of subject in addition to regular classes. It should also be
noted here that the emphasis in public schooling is on learning primarily just the facts.
Passing or failing is decided in theory by whether the student conforms to the progress standards
the public education system has established. However in reality, it is ultimately decided by the teachers of
each subject who grade each child by their own determination.
As mentioned earlier, the results from academic education in public schools are, in large part,
short term learning for the purpose of passing tests and for subsequent use in further education. Students in
general have long term retention only in those subjects they were highly interested in. For most, unless a rare
attitude towards learning is fostered, academic excellence is mostly seen during their schooling years.
Home schooling academics are determined by the parents who have the choice to either develop their own curriculum
or use one of the many excellent ones already formulated. You will never have to use any materials you do not
approve of, and changes can be made as needed.
Also it is your choice whether or not to have your child pass from grade to grade. Passing or
failing need not be a focus, but rather giving attention to a subject until the desired result is obtained.
Results from home school academic education are usually life long. And academic excellence is
usually a part of the child's lifestyle due to the personal attention and carefully chosen learning styles.
Emphasis in home school academics is on understanding what is behind the facts being taught as well
as the facts themselves. Thinking skills, creativity, and originality can become automatic companions because of
the individualized learning.
In the debate of home schooling versus public
schooling, public school may at first seem superior in this arena. One might think that since the whole of public
schooling requires the child to be in social situations of one kind or another whether in class, recess,
lunch, or traveling to and from school, that the child's socialization skills would soar.
A closer look by professionals however, shows that these socializing times, though controlled to
some degree, are not closely guided or monitored by adult supervision. This results in children imposing on each
other their own immature socialization habits and morals. Thus, peer pressure becomes the teacher, and the
socialization lessons learned become "don't be different or you will be rejected".
After school activities often become a further source of pressure on the children to measure up to
the values of whichever peers exhibit the strongest personalities. With no close participation of mature and wiser
adults, this becomes one well known avenue for the many negative influences which permeate the public school
Socialization in the home school involves almost constant
involvement from more mature parent figures whether in direct guidance or close observation.
Children are not taught the socialization habits of other children, but rather the social habits
that you the parent find desirable to instill in them. They also learn to relate well with adults, which prepares
them to enter their adult life, better equipped for mature and responsible relationships.
Many studies have shown home schooled students to be well above the norm in their ability to
socialize. As measured on the Piers-Harris Scale, over half of the home schoolers scored in the top ten percent of
a nationwide sampling. Cornell's Urie Bronfenbrenner research found that children who spend more time with peers
than parents become peer dependant. This in turn results in loss of self worth, less optimism, loss of respect for
parents, and even less trust in peers. (Better Late Than Early - Moore) Thus socialization of the positive kind can
actually be considered a by-product of home schooling.
EFFECT ON FAMILY UNIT
Participation in public schools almost completely disrupts the family unit in every way, as it removes the child
from contact as well as from the authority of the parent for most of the week. Parents as well as children find
themselves subject to it's time frames, schedules, agendas, curriculums and often even after school activities.
Extreme effort on the part of the parent is required in order to not allow the school schedule to almost annihilate
the existence of a solid family unit during the school year.
The family unit of a home schooler can be protected and even greatly enhanced by the fact that most of the
schooling keeps the family members in close contact and relating in meaningful ways.
Family bonds will typically become stronger in every way, almost without specific effort, simply
because of the personal involvement and framework of the home school.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT DIFFERENCES
In the field of public education of years gone by, many special people of integrity and dedication spent their
lives making huge positive differences in the lives of their students. Some teachers today still strive for this
and are to be highly commended.
Sadly however, this is no longer the norm in todays public schools as it once was in the days of
the one room school or even 50 years ago in larger city schools.
Today, many negative trends have entered the field of public education, which have caused positive
character development influences to be almost non-existent. Some of these trends are teachers with lower moral
values and integrity, less administrative integrity, easy access to drugs, alcohol and guns, as well as an over-all
more violent and aggressive atmosphere than once existed in public schools.
It is not uncommon to hear of stabbings, shootings, drug related incidents and other violence even
in elementary schools. Unethical and undesirable teachings on things such as sex education, birth control, etc. are
often given to children without parental consent. It is actually uncommon to find a school today that has a
consistently healthy and peaceful atmosphere in which to learn.
Character development of the home schooled child has only those limits the parent puts in place. More potential and
liklihood for the greatest possible development of positive, healthy, honest character, exists in home schooling
than in any other normal activity children could experience.
At every age, the need for guidance in various personality and character traits can easily and
thoroughly be applied throughout the home schooling day. Again, strengthening positive character development will
be to a certain degree automatic because of the constant personal interaction.
Though there are other points that could be used to compare these two types of schooling, these
should provide a good picture of some of the major differences between home schooling versus public schooling. Keep
in mind that this discussion has covered only the general foundation and frame work of home schooling vs public
schooling. There will be many pros and cons due to extenuating circumstances that were not covered here. These can
and will alter the factors of both modes of schooling in positive and negative directions. What we have shown here
are the basics you have to work with in both kinds of schooling. The aim is to help you decide what is available to
help you as the parent determine the course of your child's future as it pertains to education.