Public School VS Homeschool Pros and Cons
Almost everyone I know who has started homeschooling or who has contemplated homeschool has made a list of public school vs homeschool pros and cons. My family and I have done this many many times and if you haven’t actually written those pros and cons down, you have made a mental list.
During the second year of us homeschooling, my oldest son was struggling. He missed school and wanted to return back to public school. I sat him down and we immediately started making a pros and cons list. We spent a while talking about it and long story short, I had him look at that list and pray about what he should do. I told him I would pray too and we would talk about it again in a couple days.
A couple days passed and I was almost certain that he was going to choose public school. However, he surprised me as I was driving him to a practice. He quietly said, out of nowhere, “Mom, I feel I’m supposed to stay home for homeschool”. Years later I have never heard him vocalize that he wants to return to public school.
I did 4 different lists to cover all sides. I am a huge advocate for homeschooling, but that is because that is what our family is supposed to do. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone and I don’t want to portray that it is.
There are so many paths that we can follow to reach the same goal. Each of our homes are going to look different! I hope these public school vs homeschool pros and cons list will help you in your decision that is best for your family.
To help bring a more full picture I have asked many women what their public school vs homeschool pros and cons are as well to bring a balanced list for you.
PUBLIC SCHOOL VS HOMESCHOOL PROS AND CONS LIST
These are not in any particular order.
- Create your own schedule
- This is so wonderful when you realize that you are planning your life around your family schedule instead of around the school schedule.
- Involved in your child’s education
- I will be the first to admit that I had no idea what my kids were actually learning when they were in public school. To put it plainly, I was clueless! I LOVE knowing what my kids are learning! Learning becomes a lifestyle and your conversations you have as a family can become really helpful to instill different topics you are learning.
- Travel at will
- Traveling is so educational and one of our favorite things to do.
- More time with your kids
- Before homeschool, I felt I was the 3 C’s – cook, cleaner and chauffeur. I don’t think I really understood them or knew them on a really personal level. I took care of their survival needs and there wasn’t much time for anything else.
- Grow closer together as a family
- Your family will grow by leaps and bounds when you homeschool. My boys are incredibly close and the best of friends. They play hard together. Yes, they still fight, don’t get me wrong there, but they have a lot of fun with each other.
- Grow close to other families
- We have grown close with a couple other families as we go through our homeschooling journey together! They learn that best friends don’t have to be the same age or gender. We have a variety of ages and genders and they all play really well together.
- Teach your kids whatever you want and tailor your lessons specifically for your children.
- I have a son that doesn’t learn like some of my other boys. His needs are different and his desires on how to learn are different.
- Teach religion
- If you don’t know this already, but there are NO books that teach about God in public schools. NONE! Any book that mentions God, will be removed.
- Sleep in
- If you are sick, or have had a rough night, it isn’t a big deal to sleep in til 8:00 am.
- Flexible schedule
- If you have something planned, it is really easy to change things up and do something different. Last week we had a huge snow storm. I looked at my boys as they longingly looked at the newly fallen snow, and made a decision. I called up two other families and we all went sledding.
- Shorter school day
- We are done with organized school by lunch time. We read and do other activities through out our days, but it doesn’t feel like “school”. If you asked my boys how long school is everyday, they say they are done before lunch.
- State benefit money
- If you become enrolled in an online tech school or charter school, you have access to state funds to help cover costs of homeschooling.
- Choose if you want to take state testing
- Just like public school, you can opt out of state testing. Your child isn’t required to take state testing. As far as other testing and other homeschool requirement, you need to check your states requirements.
- Less sickness
- My neighbor is on the brink of homeschooling because of this. Her baby has been sick all winter long it seems like. My kids rarely get sick and it is wonderful!!
- Less negative outside influences
- When my kids were in public school, they brought home all sorts of junk. My son learned to flip people off through great examples in school. You have more control of the environment you are raising your kids in.
- I’m a firm believer that a child needs a strong foundation that they can stand on before being thrown out into the world. With this foundation they then can be an example for good.
- Wear your pajamas to school
- Always a plus on cold winter mornings!
- Parent teacher conference is bomb
- Have you thought about this? You can have parent/teacher conferences in your bed!!! Boom!
- Endless amounts of resources
- This is also in the con list. It is also here because if you feel completely inadequate to teach, that is ok! There are so many fantastic curriculums and helps out there that all you need to do is guide.
- More unstructured play time
- This is mega, mega important! Your kids need unstructured play time. A time where they can go and play without anyone telling them how. This is how they become creative and use their brains. SOOO important!
- Participation in school sports and activities if wanted
- Many people don’t know this, but homeschoolers can tryout for public school sports. They can be involved in plays, clubs and other activities.
- Learn about the world with your families beliefs as the foundation
- Science is a topic that can be approached in so many different ways. We are Christians, so our approach is very religious. God is our creator, which is something that isn’t taught in public schools.
- Personal one on one instruction
- This is so beneficial in so many ways from bonding time, increased understanding, to catching problems early. I love my one on one time I get with my boys everyday.
I asked my boys what they loved about homeschooling and these were their answers:
- Learn what you want to learn
- This was huge for my oldest. If he doesn’t see the purpose, he closes up. Yes he would still learn it, but it was like I was putting out the fire inside of him.
- Grade levels don’t matter
- For reals! Trust me….they don’t matter.
- Go at your own pace
- Your kids are different and learn differently. Go at a pace that is best for them.
- Snacks during the day
- My boys would get so hungry at school with just lunch. We all know that when you are hungry, it is hard to concentrate on anything else. Especially a subject that already bores you.
- Lots of math games
- This is seriously so fun and one of my favorite things to do with my boys!
- Nicer teachers
- My son said this and made me laugh. He has never been in public school, but I still put it here. Moms are pretty nice.
- Being home all of the time
- My boys love to be home.
- Spending time with my mom
- Reading with my mom
- Another one of my favorites!
- Having goals and a mom store
- We set goals every Monday and if they accomplish it, they get to pick a treat out of the mom store. Yes, there are incentives like this in school as well.
- No Homework
- DOUBLE BONUS!!
- Scriptures Study
- My 7 year old loves this. He loves watching the scripture stories and loves to read from the scriptures.
- Tech classes
- We are in enrolled in an online tech school so each of my boys are taking tech classes like: Robotics, Minecraft Programming, Rocketry, Entrepreneurship etc.
- People think your kids are going to turn out weird (Ha ha! This is very true)
- Homeschool has this reputation and it’s very hard to change this in some people’s minds. Let me tell you something though….if a child is “weird” 9 times out of 10 their parents are “weird” too.
- They are not with their friends all day
- This is a con that kids point out. I have one son that really misses being with his friends all day long.
- Less “mom time”
- For me this is the hardest part and the greatest con in my life. I have less time to do the things I would like to do such as blogging, reading, cleaning, helping my husband with some apartments etc. It was a lifestyle change that took some time getting used to.
- It’s dang hard
- You learn a lot about yourself when you homeschool. How do you act when your patience is running thin? When you are tired and your child doesn’t want to do anything, how do you react?
- You may not enjoy it
- Ultimately you may not enjoy it, but when something is hard is it always enjoyable? Nope!
- The worry that you are solely responsible for your child’s education
- This hits you on and off throughout your homeschooling journey, but yes this is a worry that sinks in every once in a while.
- The constant worry that your messing your kid up
- You are doing something against the norm. Whenever anyone does this there is always that worry that you are messing it up somehow. This is where trust comes in and the importance of why you are homeschooling should be at the forefront of your mind.
- Endless amounts of resources
- This may seem like a pro but it’s both. You can spend hours and hours researching the best curriculum or method that is best for your child. You can get overwhelmed and discouraged very quickly. If you skip around with a lot of different curriculums, especially math, you can unintentionally create holes in your child’s education.
- No school lunch (Yes this was on our list)
- My boys loved school lunch and this was really on the list but is not something that is ever talked about anymore.
- No recess to play with friends
- At first this was something my kids really missed recess, however this isn’t an issue anymore.
- Feeling inadequate to teach your kids
- Oh man! I can’t tell you how often I feel this. Let’s just say I have learned a lot since I have started homeschooling.
- Your kids are always together
- This doesn’t seem like it would be a con, but sometimes I see my boys getting sick of each other. Sometimes they just need a break!
- You are never away from your kids
- Sometimes you just need a break as well. My boys always ask mom first for everything! This can get a little much at times.
- When life gets hard, or something unexpected happens, school may get put to the side.
- This can be viewed as a beneficial thing as well but sometimes life throws a curveball and you aren’t able to homeschool for a short time.
- You may miss red flags in regards to development and understanding.
- This takes time and just takes experience and research, but many times you don’t know what to look for.
- A homeschool child may have “holes” in their education
- If you aren’t consistent this can be a real problem. My brother inlaw was homeschooled, and he said he was reading at a high school level when he was 8, but his math knowledge was next to nothing.
- Equipment that is readily available at school needs to be bought or borrowed for home studies.
Which leads to the next one
- Homeschooling can be expensive
- Honestly homeschooling can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it, but you don’t pull your child out of public school to to save money. A library card goes a long way. Many libraries have other things besides books that you can borrow. Go check it out
I was curious of what my kids said about this so I asked them and here are a few things they said.
- I don’t have anything I don’t like
- Inside I was doing a happy dance!! HA HA
- Miss out on all of the field trips with friends
- Technically your child is able to go on any field trip that public schools attend. However I have found that this isn’t always beneficial and some principles are more welcoming to homeschoolers than others.
- Hearing about what has happened at school from friends
- My son struggles hearing about all of the happenings in school. He feels left out, but has gotten used to it.
- Falling “behind”
- My son struggled with this in the beginning because his friends would be talking about what they are learning about in school and he wouldn’t know what they were talking about. However, now he knows that we learn different things different times
- Depending on what your view of falling “behind” is, this may or not be a problem for you. I really struggled with this at first, but now I don’t. I have a friend who has a daughter in 7 grade and one in 3rd grade. Her 3rd grader reads better than her 7th grader. Grades are relative and just because your kid is in 7th grade, doesn’t mean they are up to level with everyone else.
Public School Pros
- You don’t have to homeschool
- HA HA this was one pro a mother gave me that made me laugh.
- More free time to get stuff done
- Whether you are a working mom or stay at home mom, you are able to have more time to stay up on the daily tasks of life.
- Consistent routine and schedule
- Kids thrive on schedules. They like to know what is coming next.
- Social side is taken care of
- This is one of the biggest pros I found for many families. They feel strongly their child needs the social aspect of school to be around other kids to help get them out of their comfort zone.
- Have a qualified inspiring teacher that mentors your child.
- These teachers are rockstars. My brother is one of these teachers and I tell him all of the time that his students are so lucky to have him.
- No lesson planning for mom and less research
- I spend a lot of time researching and planning as a homeschooling mom.
- For the most part it is free
- Some areas this isn’t the case, but most public schools are free.
- Easier access to specific services if your child has special needs.
- My friend wanted to put her child in speech, but because she homeschooled she couldn’t use the school speech therapist for free. She could have paid for it, but they wouldn’t let her have access to it for free like other students enrolled in that school.
Public School Cons
- Teachers may label your child as lazy or dumb
- My husband’s father was labeled as dumb and was told he would never be a good reader when he was in 1st grade. He always said that he spent the rest of his school days proving her right.
- Having a poor teacher who doesn’t care about your child
- I wasn’t one to call the school and request what teacher my child should get. I thought it was best to go off chance and have my child learn to deal with whatever teacher they received. Now after homeschooling my child, if you have your kids in public school, I would research the available teachers and request a specific teacher if you are able to. You have a right as a parent to do this.
- Don’t be shy! Be involved with your child’s education as much as you can.
- Teacher/child ratio isn’t beneficial for your child.
- Many classes have 25 or even sometimes 30 students to one teacher. What happens is that the teacher favorites and those in trouble get all of the teachers attention. The ones in between start to slip between the cracks. My son was one of those kids who started to slip through the cracks and I didn’t even realize it until I started homeschooling him.
- Kinesthetic learners have a more difficult time in public school
- This isn’t always the case, but more times than not there are not a lot of hands on experiences. Sitting and listening becomes a huge part of your child’s learning day.
- The negative influence they can receive from other kids.
- Many times you don’t get to choose their friends or who they play with on the playground. Even if you do there are still influences that are negative around them. This one thing is a huge frustration among many of my close friends.
- Teachers are pressured to teach for a test and not teach for their students
- This is a huge problem. Quick run down- Schools get funding on how well your the students perform on state testing. If they do poor on testing they lose out on more funding. I have talked with teachers who are frustrated that they feel their hands are tied with what they can and can’t teach because of this.
- Teachers teach to the group and not the individual
- This makes it so kids who excel can’t move ahead and those who are behind stay behind.
- Less time for your kids to be home learning important morals and values
- My brother’s kids leave at 8:30 and do not return home until just after 4:00. That is basically all day! That is almost a work day for an adult and is a long time to be away from home.
- This was a concern and con for many parents regarding public school. However, I don’t feel this is only a public school problem (although I believe it happens more in public school). My boys have been bullied and have bullied others as homeschoolers. If it would have happened at school, I may not have known about it to help them get through it and to teach them about bullying.
- Your stuck with the school’s philosophy of education regarding curriculum and teaching approach.
- I have found that each school is different and approaches this differently. You need to find this out and become educated in their approach.
- Inefficient use of time because of the way of school
- When you have 25 kids it takes time for everyone to finish a task, it takes time to walk from place to place. Transitioning from one topic to the next takes time with that many kids. You get the idea right?
Wowsers!! If you made it through this post, you are truly trying to see what is best for your family! I hope this public school vs homeschool pros and cons list will help you in your decision! Do you have anymore you would add to the list? Email me! I would love to hear from you.
Check out this post on habits of highly successful homeschoolers.