Thursday, March 4, 2010

Home School vs. Public School

It was only a matter of time before I tackled this touchy subject. I know there are people who have strong feelings on the matter, but please feel free to comment and share your opinions.

Why this is such a controversial issue, though, is beyond me. I guess it's because people have strong feelings about it. I personally feel strongly that my children will fare just fine in the public schools. I think they will have valuable experiences by attending public school in which they will learn important life lessons--such as learning to get along with many different personalities, realizing that it is not all about them, but that they are one of many, and even certain types of failures that come in a public school setting that will make them stronger.

There are also many good reasons to homeschool a child. Many parents don't want their children exposed to certain "gentile" beliefs and attitudes that abound so plentifully in the public schools. They don't want their children exposed to inappropriate ideas or actions nor do they want them to learn that something is acceptable when it really isn't. Some parents homeschool their children in an effort to challenge them more and keep them motivated to learn. Some simply want to spend more time together. Some homeschool because the public school programs weren't doing enough for their child--perhaps that child has special needs that weren't being met. Whatever the reason, the beautiful thing is that parents are entitled to have their children learn whichever way best suits them.

The only problem I have ever seen with homeschool is when the homeschooled pupil is behind his or her public school peers for certain grade level benchmarks. That is when clearly homeschooling isn't working either.

I don't necessarily believe that "it takes a village" and that's the reason I feel public schools are best for my children, but I do know from life experience that there are many topics I know nothing about that another teacher perhaps does and can generate interest for my child. For example, if a certain 3rd grade teacher my older brothers had hadn't been so fascinated with Germany, my brothers may not have ever gotten so interested in the country, culture and language themselves. Both of them eventually studied the language to fluency, spent time in Germany, and even got degrees in German, which probably wouldn't have happened had that teacher not generated the interest. Since neither of my parents speak German nor had visited the country then, there was no way for my parents to generate that interest. How different my brothers' lives would have been had my mom chosen to homeschool them instead of putting them in the public school.

It's merely a matter of preference and choice. I choose not to homeschool. I'm not saying there won't come a day, however, when homeschooling might become the better option. But I am going to do my best to contribute my time and effort into making the public schools better places first before falling back on homeschooling.

What do you think of homeschooling?


swedemom said...

Jenna, this was such a well-written and thoughtful post. I really appreciated your perspective.

I have known some families who exclusively homeschool for the reasons you mentioned. They are passionately committed to homeschooling well. I think it works well for their families. I'm impressed with the dedication that they have to educate their families.

However, for me, personally, homeschooling is my idea of eternal torture. I love my children. I'm keenly interested in their education. But I don't have the type of personality and ability to properly homeschool my children. It would not be good for any of us if I became the sole purveyor of knowledge. = )

I personally see the many things that my children learn at school. Usually it goes above and beyond what I could do with them. It was my son's 3rd grade teacher that alerted me to negative classroom behaviors that led us to really restructure our schedule and help him develop better. It really has taken a concentrated effort from both teachers and myself to create an ideal learning environment.

I also feel that the social development of my children is important. The fact is, we all have to learn how to get along with people of all personality types, dispositions, etc. I think the school environment helps kids learn how to adapt and cope with different people.

I'm not sure I buy the argument of protecting our kids from all outside influences and thus pulling them out of school. Sure, I don't want my kids exposed to a lot of crud, but at some point, my kids will face it and have to learn how to respond to it. It kind of relates to the helicopter parent thing.

When I was a freshman at college, there was a girl on our floor who was homeschooled and then sent to BYU at 16. Sure, she was bright enough to attend college. But her social training was very poor and she obviously needed additional years to mature. Two years really does make a big difference! I think a much better choice for her would have been a two-year school close to home. But that is just my 2 cents.

ISBAM said...

I'm all for public school, too! I knew some families in high school that home schooled to protect them. Most of their kids hit 18, got jobs in the real world, and couldn't handle the temptations because they'd never been taught those skills. We can't protect them forever. I do have a cousin who does home school because her kids were seriously bored. She has a Ph.D. and her husband is a lawyer, so she felt that she could do a better job. She does, too. Her kids are very bright and fun. They're not ones you'd be able to tell right off that they're home schooled. She also puts them in other activities to expose them to other kids and to teach them social skills. I get that it works for some people. I just don't have the energy to be a mom and a teacher! My kids do well with a break from me, and I from them. Absence does make the heart grow fonder!

welcome to my creative world said...

I think that homeschooling is a fantastic option when public school goes bad, I am 21 years old and it wasn't to long ago since i was in high school, I went to a public high school in California, There was always new substitute teachers, cops where there all the time, we had lock downs once a week, we couldn't wear the color red, blue or green, we had 3 kids die that year for gang-related issues. It was a nice school, but teachers did not teach you, they gave you text books and kinda explained, I personally would go to a private school, Just because it's worth paying extra and knowing that my kid is actually learning something and is in a good environment. public schools are more "fair" to everyone instead of encouraging some competition. When i was in high school there was a lot of stuff that was in a socialist mind set, Go figure it's run by the government, and there where teaching lots of socialist ideas, they will really don't speak of the constitution or our good presidents like george washington and others. They don't have GOD in the pledge anymore, It's kinda scary, i think public schools weren't so bad back then but in todays times they have drugs going around, i have been offered it in class plenty of times and of course i would say no, but it's very scary to think about that time. Anyways I do want my child to have friends and gain knowledge, have a social life, but i would go to public school first and if that gets bad i would go to homeschooling, And enroll my child in sports and other things where he can have a social life and have fun.
I know we are in Utah but you will be surprised the things that go around.
elementary school i don't think is that bad but once they hit jr high that's when everything gets kinda scary. i thought i would share this since that has been my experience. :)


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