There are often two sides of every coin and the longer I homeschool my girls the more I see it. Upon graduating from college I spent 7 1/2 years in the public school system as a music teacher. I enjoyed it, and loved the kids I had in my classroom to pieces. However I always said that one day I would homeschool because I considered the public school a mission field not a home field. Now that I’ve been homeschooling my girls a few years my philosophy on public school vs. homeschool has changed. Both have faults…both have things they do well...both have things they don’t do well.
Now, before I go any further, I need to present a few disclaimers.
- This post is NOT about which type of schooling is good for you or your children. This post is about how it is important not to point the finger (think Matthew 7:5) because you don’t know the other side of the story and because you probably don’t have it all figured out either.
- This post is made up of generalizations. None of these generalizations are characteristics of all homeschools or public schools or even the majority. They are generalizations. Please read them as such.
- This post is also not about which type of schooling I prefer or think is right. I think both homeschooling and pubic schooling is right in different situations. It is not for us to decide what kind of schooling is right for someone else or someone else’s kids. That is a decision we must make as a family with God’s direction. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Hypocrite! First remove the beam of wood from your own eye & then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye! (Matthew 7:5)
Okay, so back to what I was saying. Both public school AND homeschooling have faults. Don’t believe me? Here’s just a few examples.
- Public school teaches in mass, not necessarily because they want to but because the institution demands it. As a rule, there’s only enough income for 1 teacher for every 25+ kids so personal attention is hard to come by. I mean, imagine you are the mother of 25 kids, could you provide personal attention to each one of them all the time? You’d probably teach a little differently too.
- In both educational systems kids get overlooked. Yes, I said both. I saw it often in the public school as one child could not keep up with the rest of the class, but I have also seen it in the homeschool setting as parents pull their kids from public school only to sit them in front of a computer to attend a “virtual school” while they both go to work. Both neglected. Both failed to do well academically. The difference is that the later is often unseen.
- Homeschoolers often have less regard for commitments. If they decide they no longer want to participate in something, they just drop it instead of sticking out the commitment to the end. While this is not always the case, as a former Executive Director of a large homeschool organization, I saw this played over time and again much more frequently than I ever saw in the public school system. That said, in the public school system, students were often taught commitment primarily because a grade loomed over their heads if they did not stay committed. There is no possibility of that in the homeschool world.
- Public schools have bullies. Would you be surprised if I told you that there are bullies in the homeschool world too? Yes, I’ve seen it in homeschool choir rehearsals, and I’ve seen it in homeschool COOPS. While it may be true that bullying might be less common in the homeschool setting, it’s still there. The question isn’t “what about the bullies?” The question is “how will you teach your children to deal with them?”
- Homeschooling parents have very little time to themselves. Nerves can often be more on edge when you have been with your children 24/7. Many consider this the big bonus of sending their kids to public school–they get a break. But then, parents of public school children don’t receive that much of a break either. They are just moving from one stress to another–job stress to home stress. Either way, there are many times children have the opportunity to see all sides of their parents–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
So see, the argument really shouldn’t be which is better than the other. Both have their challenges and both have their faults. The question should be, where does God want your children to receive their education? It may be one. It may be the other. It may be a combination of both. It may be something else completely different. Whatever you choose, be confident in your decision, but don’t point fingers. Just because your decision is the best choice for your family, that does NOT mean it is a good fit for every family. Take it for what it is–a good decision for YOU and YOUR family.
Are we called to educate our kids? You bet! I don’t argue with that (see Deuteronomy 11:19 and Proverbs 22:6). Parents ARE responsible for their children’s education. However, the main thing the Bible wants us to teach our children is to love God and serve Him. Parents can teach these things in the home setting through homeschool as well as AFTER school. It just comes about how you would like to see these verses played out in your child’s life.Remember that educating your children doesn't stop at the door; it continues 24/7 in all you do.Click To Tweet
For us, we still see homeschooling as the best fit for our girls, but if you send your kids to public school to be a light shining in the darkness, go for it! There is no finger pointing here. Instead there is only encouragement. Just be the best parents you can be in the setting you feel called too, and remember that educating your children doesn’t stop at the door. It continues on both night and day in all you do.