We all know of at least one critical difference between traditional public classroom education and homeschooling: One is done in an on-campus classroom while the other is performed at home. This simple description of the main difference between the two forms of education does a disservice, however, as it does not adequately explain just how different the two scenarios are.
In truth, there is more to it than that. What this article will discuss is just how different the classroom and homeschool approaches are, while explaining how these differences impact a child’s ability to learn.
Homeschooling Imposes Fewer Limitations
The traditional school curriculum is very rigid in structure. Children must wake with the sun, travel to their school and arrive on time to avoid punishment for tardiness. They are then made to sit in a classroom, or several classrooms, for up to eight hours a day in hopes that the teacher’s methods resonate with them.
When this is the routine every day, Monday through Friday, it’s easy to see how limiting this structure can be. With five days of the week monopolized by school, that leaves so little room for the rest of life to take place. Traveling must be put on hold or scheduled during schoolyear breaks. Students can only work during certain hours on certain days, lest their academic performance suffers. Other responsibilities and extracurricular activities may have to fall to the wayside during finals preparation and to get homework done on time.
When a parent factors all of this into the equation, it’s no surprise that homeschooling can be an appealing option. With the flexible curriculum that is made at home, students and their families can pursue whatever makes them feel fulfilled – without sacrificing academic success.
Public Schools Suffer from Diminished Resources
Public schools in the United States are often woefully underfunded, with fewer resources that have to be stretched across more students than ever before. This is not the fault of the educators themselves, nor is it the fault of students or their parents. But unfortunately, it is a reality that many students must endure for the sake of completing their compulsory education.
Educating many students costs a lot of money that many school districts simply do not have. This means that outdated classroom materials, fewer supplies to go around, and over-worked teachers can negatively impact the educational environment. Larger classroom sizes make these challenges impossible to conquer for even the most dedicated and well-intentioned educator.
The homeschooling approach, however, allows parents to make use of their own resources to ensure the best education for their children. Materials, field trips and other aspects of their child’s learning fall onto their own shoulders, rather than the shoulders of an over-burdened public education system. This allows parents to cultivate the curriculum that they feel is best for their child, without cutting costs to things that are necessary.
Public School is Inflexible
In the public school sphere, students with learning disabilities and other special needs often suffer the most due to the lack of resources and rigid structure. Students who learn in a way that’s different from their peers could be left behind because they can’t get the individualized attention that they may need. While an educator is attempting to reach a classroom of thirty-something students with the same, generalized approach, there is likely a student or two in that classroom who doesn’t get it. But they would if they could be shown the material in a different way.
In public school, this isn’t possible. There is not enough time nor are there enough teachers to ensure this. When homeschooling is conducted, however, the curriculum can be shaped around the needs of the individual child. Parents can focus on areas where their child struggles and figure out a method of teaching that reaches them successfully.
Flexibility is important when educating children of any age, as each child is going to process information differently from the one sitting next to them. But no matter how hard a qualified educator may try in the classroom, it is impossible to cultivate an individualized approach to education for each student in their care.
Public School vs Homeschooling: Which Should I Choose?
For many families, public school does just fine in preparing their students for the world outside of their doors. What you need to consider are the unique needs of your child and the nature of the public school system where you live. If you feel that your child is in need of more individualized attention that you feel equipped to give them in an academic manner, homeschooling could be the difference between merely passing, and excelling.