Homeschooling Tips Blog

Homeschooling vs. Public School: What's the Best Choice?

  • Monday, March 25, 2024
Homeschooling vs. Public Schooling


Are you considering ditching the public school system? Wondering whether homeschooling is a better choice for your family? Although the decision may seem overwhelming, this is an exciting time for your family! You get to explore different educational options and make the best choice for your kids. Let's look at some of the many benefits of homeschooling vs. public education to help you decide.

Homeschooling vs. Public School

First, let's get clear on the differences between homeschool and public school, as some of the terminology can get confusing. In the United States, the government funds public schools, which offer K-12 education, usually at no cost. Students are expected to regularly attend in-person classes at a physical school.

Homeschooling options vary widely from state to state. In some states, you can run your own homeschool program, assuming you meet certain teaching qualifications or are supervised by a certified person. Most states also have the option of homeschooling through a private or denominational school. In this model, you're still responsible for your children's education, but they're enrolled via a private institution that supports you and acts as your go-between with the government, making sure all records are managed accurately.

Distance learning is sometimes offered by public schools and school districts. Students are enrolled in a public school but take their classes online from home. In this scenario, parents play little to no role in educating their children, and this isn't what's typically thought of as homeschooling.

The best way to find the legal requirements in your state is to visit the Home School Legal Defense Association and use their State Homeschool Law tool.

Is Homeschooling the Right Choice for Your Family?

Many parents find the idea of homeschooling overwhelming. Me, take responsibility for my children's education? How will I keep them busy all day? How will I stay sane? Am I even qualified to do this?

Rest assured, you're not alone if these questions and a million more are racing through your mind. Becoming a homeschooling parent is a huge undertaking and one you don't want to take on lightly. You want to be sure it's the best fit for your family so you can hold fast to your commitment, even on the tough days.

Reasons to Choose Homeschooling Over Traditional Schooling

Families choose homeschooling for many reasons. From a desire to spend more time together to a last-ditch effort to provide a child with a quality education when the public educational system is failing them, the choice to homeschool is multilayered and highly personal.

Here are some of the most common reasons families opt to learn in a home learning environment:

- They want to determine their own schedule.
- They want to incorporate their faith and values into their home learning curriculum.
- They're concerned about class sizes in public schools.
- Their children are involved with sports or other extracurricular activities at a level that makes attending full-time school challenging.
- They want to establish strong relationships among siblings.
- They want to inspire a higher level of academic performance.

Whatever your reasons for considering homeschooling, take the time to write them down. Not only will people ask you about them all the time, but you may also need to remind yourself occasionally.

Home Learning Benefits

Homeschooled children enjoy many benefits public school students miss out on. From a personalized learning experience with loads of flexibility and freedom to stronger family relationships and self-confidence, homeschooling advantages ripple through students and families into their communities.

A Personalized Learning Experience

Many families choose homeschooling because they want their children to find and pursue their passions. Once you know what they love, you can tailor your child's education and daily schedule to their interests.

Some homeschoolers fully embrace this concept and choose student-led homeschooling, where most or all formal teaching is sparked by the child's own interests and curiosity. This type of homeschooling helps children become confident, independent learners. But even if you aren't ready to throw away the textbooks, you can still customize your tailored homeschooling curriculum and lesson plans to your kids' learning styles and interests.

For example, hands-on learners who love to create and build things respond well to math lessons that use manipulatives such as LEGO or pattern blocks to illustrate mathematical concepts. LIFEPAC Launch Packs are a great solution for these learners. Artsy kids who struggle to sit still take comfort in doing their work on a glass patio door with window markers while swaying to the rhythm of their favorite songs.

Your personalized learning experience may also incorporate your family's values and morals. You may enjoy serving together in a local ministry or hosting a Bible study at your house. Homeschooling allows you to include religious studies in a way that local school districts simply can't. All AOP curriculum incorporates Biblical principles to help students connect their education through practical application. Supplementing secular education with a single print or online Bible course is a great way to bring education home.

Tailored Socialization Opportunities

Socialization opportunities in homeschooling are diverse and foster the social skills kids will need for the rest of their lives. They have daily social interaction with other homeschool students, teachers and classmates at various lessons and co-ops, as well as with the people who live in and work in their community. Children who have time to walk their dogs in the morning, for example, get to know many of their neighbors. AOP’s Ignite Christian Academy has a dedicated student engagement department committed to helping home-learning children access monitored activities for socialization and personal growth.

Homeschooling also reduces some of the less positive social interactions kids often experience in conventional schools. Because parents and kids spend more time together, parents have a better sense of who their kids are befriending and can intervene early if some friends start to have a negative influence. There's also reduced peer pressure in homeschooling as kids aren't spending nearly as much time with their age-peers and don't face as many situations with the need to save face. Confidence and a concept of your own identity flourish in a homeschool environment. When kids do spend time with their friends, they have a strong sense of themselves and are equipped to hold their ground.

Flexibility and Freedom

One of the best things about homeschooling is the wide degree of freedom and flexibility you have in shaping your child's educational experience. Unlike public school parents, homeschoolers can choose:

When to learn. Want to teach year-round? Take a month off for a vacation in February? Study on Saturdays instead of Mondays? Homeschoolers can do all these things as long as they're meeting their state requirements for the number of educational days tracked per school year. Your daily schedule is also entirely your call. Need to fit in a midday doctor's appointment or take advantage of slower times at your local pool? Homeschooling lets you work around real life.

Where to learn. Homeschooling families often end up doing novel studies in the car (thank goodness for audiobooks), science co-ops at friends' houses and art lessons on museum field trips. Responsible home education isn't confined to the four walls of your house. You get to decide what locations and experiences make up the best education for your family.

How fast to learn. By necessity, traditional public schools have to teach at a certain pace. Teachers have a list of topics they have to cover and only so much time to do it in. Some kids will be bored with that pace; others will struggle mightily. Homeschooled students set their own pace, and it might be different for different subjects. The same child could be 2 years ahead in math and a year behind in reading compared to where the school system says they should be, and that's fine. Learning at your own pace reduces stress and anxiety to make learning enjoyable and develop life-long learners.

On the flip side, homeschooling doesn't offer the same level of structure as public schooling. Homeschool parents determine the level of structure they want in their daily routine and are responsible for implementing it — a task that's easier said than done when you have toddlers having meltdowns, kids who come up with a million unique ways to avoid their math lessons and an uninterrupted flow of distractions. If you work well without a lot of structure, you'll probably excel at homeschooling, but if you need your days to go exactly according to plan, you'll have to stay disciplined.

Enhanced Learning Environment and Academic Achievement

Your home is a safe and nurturing learning environment that can promote accelerated academic achievement. By incorporating a wide variety of educational materials, letting kids pursue interests, taking educational field trips and taking advantage of in-person opportunities and online resources, you can help your kids soar academically.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, home learners typically achieve test scores 15 to 25 percentile points higher than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests. They also score higher on the SAT and ACT exams and are increasingly recruited by colleges and universities.

Making the Choice to Homeschool

With all the advantages homeschooling has over public school, there's never been a better time to take the leap and try it for yourself. Thankfully, it's also easier than ever to get started. If you're ready to explore your homeschool options, check out our introduction to homeschooling. 

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