All students have different needs and abilities. Are public schools always the right choice, or is there perhaps a chance that homeschooling is more helpful for future success?
by Sriya Gundlapally
Homeschooling as we know it now has been around for nearly fifty years. While public schools are the more popular choice for education, the number of homeschooled students has risen to over two million in the United States.
There are several reasons why parents and students may prefer one over the other, but both homeschooling and public schooling have their pros and cons. As people experience life with COVID-19, guardians and students alike question how schools are being facilitated. There are a multitude of safety concerns that come naturally with being around different types of people, and more so during these times, in which it is a risk to even be near others.
This brings people further into the question of whether public school or homeschool is more effective for their children. Those who support public education systems argue that homeschooling does not give the same level of social interaction as public schooling. On the other hand, people who find homeschooling more effective often say this different way of learning provides a safer environment for students. Not much research has been done about which education type is more effective and there are several points to take into consideration.
Homeschooling is More Effective:
Recent studies are revealing the success rates of homeschooling. In one study conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), homeschooled students are, on average, ranked 15 to 30 percentile above public school students on the SAT and ACT. The reasons behind this are unclear, but it may be due to the lack of outside distractions such as peer pressure or violence. Homeschooled students can study for shorter hours in a more focused way. At home, there is more comfort for the child and since one or both parents are the teachers, they feel more inner motivation to do well, which in turn allows them to reach success. Grades are also not an important factor that the student has to stress about. In public schools, students are faced with peer and familial pressure to achieve high grades, enforcing the idea that understanding the material is second to the grades. Students who are homeschooled also have the advantage of focusing on understanding and having the curriculum move at their own pace. Oftentimes, public schools may not accommodate the individual learning styles of students. For example, a student who is a visual learner may find school harder because they are put in a situation where the teacher does not use visuals. The teacher’s method may work for most students, but this does not mean all students are getting the individualized learning experience they need.
Homeschooling does not only reduce stress and improve scores. According to Calvert Education, homeschooled students have advantages such as the increased ability to explore out of their comfort zones and be in a more motivational learning environment. Traveling to new places, whether it be for a parent’s job or other reasons, gives the student flexibility in life and unique experiences to immerse themselves in. The method of homeschooling also accommodates the special education students and their families who are forced to move around. Since their parents know them the best, it enables them to provide the support the student needs and educate them in one space.
Public Schooling is More Effective:
Homeschooling may not be for everyone since it involves more attention from at least one parent or guardian. In cases where the parents are both busy or the child cannot afford homeschooling materials, public school is a better option. Public schools give a structured way of learning new concepts, with calendars and deadlines, allowing for discipline. Additionally, public schooling guarantees that the teachers are qualified with degrees, which means the education students receive is of quality. Although public schools tend to assign more homework than is necessary for a student, many see this as a way to keep the students motivated to practice concepts and better themselves.
Public schools allow students to study with their peers and this makes the schooling experience more enjoyable for those who are more sociable. It is often noted that daily social interaction benefits students; people constantly learn from each other and need a supportive community around them. Studying from home may be difficult and tedious when the learning is done without surrounding peers. To illustrate, students in public schools may find group projects and presentations interesting and helpful to their understanding of the material. The engagement in projects also develops teamwork and communication in students in ways which homeschooling may not be able to provide. Students attending public school, according to author Kate Barrington, are also able to have more independence as they face challenges and have to keep up with their work daily. Making the most out of the public school experience, such as taking part in extracurriculars, clubs, and groups, is also the responsibility of the student. There is freedom in public school too, possibly more than the amount homeschooling offers.
Whether a student is homeschooled or public schooled, the student should have the capability to understand their interests and develop skills for the future. Homeschooling can allow a student to accomplish this by giving more time for extracurricular activities and enrichment opportunities. Public schooling, on the other hand, may not give the same amount of time due to homework and longer hours but can allow students to be more exposed to others their age and have opportunities provided to them. However, the social, emotional, and physiological development has been researched to be approximately the same for homeschooled and public schooled students. In between these two different learning environments, there is a way to find a middle ground.
Students can go to public school, and after the eight hours of school are finished, the student can take part in volunteering or other activities which the school provides. If the parents believe that religious instruction should be incorporated, then after school hours can be dedicated to that. Any time spent on out-of-school activities is beneficial to a student and their development. This allows students to expose themselves to similar opportunities as homeschooled students and have public school experiences with their peers. Additionally, this means all students can have the same available resources, but homeschooling allows some to have a more fitted style for them. The main concern in this is deciding what is right for the child and their learning.