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By Kari Jensen

Measuring up homeschool, public and private school considerations

The semi-myth of sleeping in late

Homeschooling has become much more widely popular in the last decade for a number of reasons, and parents might be considering taking the homeschool plunge at this point. The lure of being able to sleep in, having control over what the kids are taught, keeping them safe from bullying (and worse) are all very compelling reasons to want to try homeschooling, but careful reflection is required before making this decision. Sleeping late still has to be scheduled.

Homeschooling is easier than ever before

Homeschooling offers many rewards, both academically and intangibly. Many studies have shown that homeschoolers consistently achieve higher grades than their public and private school counterparts and are now an active part of the college recruiting process. Socially, they have more opportunities than ever before within their communities, and homeschoolers can even join the local public schools’ sports teams. Homeschooling has changed a lot in recent years, and success can be achieved in many ways. Parents are not required to have a degree or credentials to homeschool; just a plan, patience and direction so that the children are able to keep up with their state’s required tests at the end of the year.

Public and private schools have their good sides

The advantage that both public and private schools have over homeschooling, is that they offer a schedule of childcare that most working parents can work around on a given weekday. They offer quantified educational results, so parents can monitor their child’s progress, and they offer a wider range of social exposure. Private schools generally have higher discipline, more homogeneous exposure and clear curriculum. Public schools have transportation available, teachers with credentials and are free.

Weigh the disadvantages

The disadvantage of private and public schools is that they are a quantified situation, with little or no choice in curriculum, and much of the learning is test-result oriented. The result is a narrower focus of subjects and less time to pursue extended learning. The wider social exposure also decreases personal safety margins, with more incidents of school violence, bullying and sexual harassment than ever before. Homeschooling’s disadvantages tend to be along the lines of the availability of the parent, scheduling time effectively and potential re-entry into the public school system being more difficult in the future, depending upon the homeschooling style.
Why considering homeschooling might be a very good idea:

  • Homeschooling is wonderful for re-establishing family bonds.
  • Homeschoolers have many options for their education style and curriculum.
  • Homeschooled children can learn at their own pace.
  • Homeschooling is as safe as the home it’s in, which is yours usually.

Weigh the commitment

No education is free, and homeschooling does have both the expenses of supplies plus the possible reduced income from work missed while schooling the child. Private school is expensive, requires parental transportation and generally has a more rigid structure. Public school is not the end of the world, but if the concern is a high level of learning, then supplemental learning is pretty essential, so the time off during the day is more of an illusion. It’s also hard on kids. Only a parent can know what’s best for their situation, but the intangible benefits seem to point to homeschooling as an excellent choice if possible.

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