There we were, enjoying a pleasant afternoon stroll through a park in mid-October during the early 2000s…
At the time, my husband and I would take off one afternoon every other week for a “date day.”
We enjoyed the park but much preferred when the children were in school since it was much quieter…
This was before kids for us and as a teacher… I sometimes just wanted a break from the neverending energy most kids seem to have.
This particular day, the park was filled with a half-dozen little balls of energy each around 8-10 years old…
As we strolled by the playground, I asked one of the lady’s standing there if they were on a field trip…
Field trips were common for neighboring schools.
“Nope,” she replied… “this is our school.”
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I thought for a moment, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks…
Homeschool… got it!
Back then, homeschool wasn’t as widespread as it is today.
Even as a teacher, I forgot that parents actually did that!
15+ years later, the population of homeschooled families has exploded across the U.S. and the rest of the world…
With school systems failing, classroom sizes ballooning, and excellent teachers leaving in droves due to burn out… many parents are taking the education of their children into their own hands…
For some, talking about homeschooling versus traditional school is like talking about politics and/or religion – it’s unlikely you are going to bring people from one side to the other.
For others, however, it’s a fine line, and the ups and downs of both methods of schooling are worth discussing.
For those able to look beyond their own biases, acknowledging that there are strengths and weaknesses to both methods is a significant step forward. The reality is, whether you are a fan of traditional school or you prefer homeschooling, circumstances often change – there is no telling if you might find yourself having to switch directions.
Traditional School Pros;
- Traditional school prepares children for the real world by having them interact with diverse people. In a classroom, children must learn to work in groups of their peers and to negotiate the world around them without constant supervision and/or intervention from their parents. In this environment, children learn the social skills necessary to negotiate the world as adults.
- Traditional school offers children more enrichment activities as well as services for students with special needs. Art and music instruction are available at a minimal cost in most public schools. Additionally, children in traditional schools have greater access to sports, particularly team sports.
- Sending a child to a traditional school benefits their entire family financially. Once a child is enrolled in a public or private Pre-K or Kindergarten, both parents are able to work full time. Having two incomes enables the family to provide opportunities that a homeschooled child might never have.
- Homeschooling allows parents to provide their children with an exceptional education enriched by real-world experiences with people of all ages and backgrounds through involvement with clubs like 4H, scouting, church groups, and a variety of community volunteer opportunities. The children learn real-world skills in the real world, with a realistic mix of people of all ages and backgrounds.
- Homeschooling enables families to explore a variety of enrichment activities. Often, the flexibility of homeschooling allows children who are particularly gifted in one area extra time to maximize that gift.
- While it’s true that at the advent of the movement, most homeschool families were one-income families, thanks to the internet, that is no longer true. Many homeschooling parents homeschool their children and run thriving online businesses. As a bonus, their children are able to learn entrepreneurial skills, time management skills, and an appreciation for ingenuity.
Traditional School Cons;
- Once a child is enrolled in a public or private school, the entire family’s schedule is dedicated to that school’s schedule. Sick days are limited, and travel during the regular school schedule is frowned upon.
- Traditional schools teach to the middle. If your child is gifted and/or has special needs, it’s entirely possible that they will fall below the standards of the school. While most schools offer and use IEP’s, for many children, those specific plans fall well short of what they truly need.
- Placing your child into a traditional school environment can be expensive. If your child attends a private school, you might be asked to shell out $30-40,000 in tuition as well as participate in mandatory fundraisers, buy uniforms and books and donate your time as well. In a public school setting, you might still be asked to buy uniforms, donate to the PTA, contribute to the teacher gift fund and school parties, and to have your children participate in school fundraisers.
- Your children are ALWAYS home – especially when they’re young.
- Homeschooling is time-consuming. If your child is gifted and/or has special needs, you will spend that much more time finding the best methods and resources for helping your child reach their full potential.
- No matter how long you homeschool, you will continually be asked the following three questions:
- How do you manage to socialize your child?
- You must be very religious, right?
- How in the world do you have the patience?
If you’re interested in homeschooling or have already made the decision to start, there are thousands of available Homeschool Resources to help with your journey. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, Special Education Homeschool Resources can be found to help guide them to academic excellence!
Whether you make the decision to homeschool or prefer your child remains in the traditional school setting, it’s important to know there are resources available that can help increase grades and decrease behaviors.
Special Education Tutoring has skyrocketed in popularity over the past ten years. Many parents are turning to this alternative source of supplemental learning to help give their child with special needs an academic edge.
And, there you have it. Nothing’s perfect. When it comes to education, there is no such thing as “One Size Fits All.” It’s up to you to determine what is going to work for your family. Not only that, you need to be ready to accept that, at any given time, you may have to change.