Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Home Schooled or Public Schooled?

Current opinion: none

I have two cousins who home school their children. One cousin has home schooled, I believe, five children and the other is in the process of home schooling two children. They both swear by it. I spoke briefly with them some years ago about home schooling and why they did it. In general, it was to give them a better learning enviornment than they could have in public or even private schools. They said their children could focus on learning while in school and not be distracted by many of the issues that affect public school children such as negative peer pressure, others' disinterest in school, and being taught 'objectionable' material, among others.

Home schooling is not just a free-for-all of teaching your child whatever you want. The state still has minimum requirements such as math skills, english skills, and science. And many of the home schooled children leave home schooling for public High School because they are more mature and can handle peer pressure better. They also usually score better on tests once they enter High School because they are ahead of other students.

Which brings up a point... Most home schooling is done by religious people who don't want certain subjects (such as evolution and sex education) to be taught to their child. And many Christians believe they are required to give their children a 'Christian education'.

When most people, myself included, hear about home schooling we ask "but what about getting interaction with other children? Aren't they missing out?" Home schooled children are usually part of an outside organization (4H club, Girl/Boy Scouts) or they volunteer or go on field trips and are on sports teams. They also get together with other families who home school and build lasting relationships with other children their own age.

Social Skills and Homeschooling: Myths and Facts (

So what about public schools? Are they really that bad?

The dropout rate for public schools, in the 2007-2008 year, was 4.1% across all states. While that percentage may sound low, that's over 600,000 students. Public School Graduates and Dropouts (U.S. Dept of Education) Dropout rates for home schooling? I couldn't find any statistics on it and I have never heard of children dropping out of home schooling.

Public schools have a lot of students. It is difficult (impossible?) to teach to the level that every student needs. Some students will be bored by the curriculum. Some are way over their heads.

Peer pressure is an issue, no matter where students go. But public schools have such a diverse population there are all kinds of personal influences. Apathy, drugs, violence contribute to a less-than-ideal learning envionment.

Not every family can afford the time and money (or lack of it since one parent will stay home) necessary to teach their children at home. Many are not capable of home-schooling their children in various subjects. But for those who can and want to do it, I can't find any reasons why it shouldn't be done. The children excel in most subjects and are socially involved.

New opinion: If families can afford the time and money to home-school their children, it is a win-win.

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