Homeschool vs. Public School-Which Is Better?

home school
Is homeschool worth it? That’s what we’ll find out, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Traditional School vs Homeschool.

Would You Rather Choose Home Schooling or Public Schools?

What to do? You don’t have the cash to send your child to private school, where most kids seem to do very well in terms of academic performance, and benefit from the sometimes-lucrative relationships made there. Then again, the local public schools in your neighbourhood don’t feel up to snuff; the class sizes are too big, and it doesn’t have a great reputation. So, who’s to say your child won’t benefit from your own knowledge, that you secretly consider being superior to the average teacher’s. But you worry: not giving your child the opportunity to socialize with other kids might take away an important part of growing up? Is homeschool worth it? That’s what we’ll find out, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Traditional School vs Homeschool.

Home schooling statistics

First of all, let’s take a look at some statistics.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, and indeed any source you look at on the subject, homeschooling – at least in the USA – is becoming more and more popular. In the USA alone, there were 2.3 million home-educated students in 2015, which was up from 2 million in 2010. NHERI tells us the increase over the last several years has been anywhere from 2 to 8 per cent per year. This increase isn’t just happening in the U.S., but also in the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Russia, and Kenya. Indeed, we checked out a Kenyan newspaper article on the benefits of homeschooling. I was very positive about taking this educational route. One professor in Kenya was quoted as saying, “Home-schooling focuses on learning and mastering concepts, not scoring good grades.” One mother who was homeschooling her kid said that the system, “limits ability and potential because it is geared towards passing exams.” 

Many homeschool advocates will insist that traditional schooling doesn’t always roundly educate, but rather teaches students only to do well on tests. Are we teaching kids to become cogs in machines? To be good workers, but lacking in curiosity and critical acumen? This is a far cry from how famed American philosopher John Dewey saw the best kind of education, which he believed was not just remembering things, but reflecting on them. He once said, “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” 

In the UK, it’s well-known that there is a teacher hiring crisis. Teachers are leaving in droves, and according to The Guardian in 2017, around half of teachers are thinking about leaving. This is mostly due to an intense workload based on constant tracking of public school students, never-ending tests, and all the extra work that is not really about what happens in the classroom but centred around passing exams. Teachers themselves are said to be suffering from fatigue and mental illness, while it was widely reported in 2018 that UK students were suffering from anxiety and depression due to recent exams. 

So, with all that workload and anxiety, are traditionally schooled students any more educated compared to homeschooled students? 

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Homeschool Vs. Public School performance

We looked at SAT results for kids in 2014. Take a look at the following numbers: 

Critical Reading Score Traditional School: 492 Homeschool: 535

Mathematics Score Traditional School: 501 Homeschool: 580

Writing Score Traditional School: 478 Homeschool: 542

Homeschooled students scored better in all 3 categories. 

NHERI tells us, “The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.” It added, “A 2015 study found Black homeschool students to be scoring 23 to 42 percentile points above Black public-school students.”

Often, homeschooled students are in the 80th percentile, while kids in public schools are in the 50th percentile. Just about any resource you read will cite statistics telling you homeschooled kids do very well. You’ll hear things like: “Stanford University accepted 26% of the 35 homeschoolers who applied–nearly double its overall acceptance rate.” Such quotes of course aren’t representative; with such a small testing group, there is a high standard deviation which means it isn’t reliable, but it is, however, interesting. 

Why Homeschoolers do well

Why are they doing so well? The main reason is, all the attention is on one child, or at most, a few children. But the parent can focus on that child’s weaknesses. If the adults know what he/she is doing, the kid will more easily get through difficulties they face. Education becomes made to order. There are no class clowns and exterior attractions getting in the way of study. The child can spend every day totally focused on the subjects at hand. Parents can also inculcate, and ensure the importance of self-study, reading books, and being curious. It’s not as if the child has many escape routes or can proffer those ‘dog ate my homework excuses. Another thing other than creating your own course based on your child’s needs is knowing how best your child learns. There are lots of pedagogical approaches and we all respond differently to them. A teacher in high school has one approach for the entire class, which of course is not his or her fault. But that approach might not work for your kid. 

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Saving the public taxes

There are other benefits, too. Taxpayers in the U.S. pay around $12,000 per year for every pupil that goes through public schools (though the cost differs dramatically per state). You save the people money by home-schooling. The average cost of homeschooling is said to be somewhere between $500-$2000 for books and materials. And if you were thinking about private school – the costs can be oppressive – think of all the money you could save! 

Other pros of homeschooling children

What else do the people say that promotes homeschooling? They tell us the parent-child bond will grow stronger. On top of that, some schools are not full of little angels, as we know. At home, it’s unlikely your child will be skipping classes to smoke weed behind the basketball courts. It’s unlikely they’ll face bullying or get into fights, within the confines of their own home. They won’t experience racism or prejudice; they won’t have to undergo the stresses of being popular, all those childish hierarchies that can be a minefield for young folks. They likely won’t get a bullet in the back delivered from a quiet kid whose hobby was cutting the wings off trapped birds. They won’t spend a year depressed because they got dumped by a girl in chemistry class, and they certainly won’t be sneaking to the bathroom to see if their pregnancy test is positive. Well, they could still get pregnant of course, but perhaps it’s less likely if they are not surrounded by the opposite sex day after day in school. 

Disadvantages Of homeschooling

The question is: Is keeping your child away from these apparent dangers in itself a possible danger to the development of a said child? After all, the workplace, the rat race, the dating game, they can all be minefields, too. Does a child need school in order to learn how to navigate tricky social and workplace situations? It is the loss of social interaction where most people say homeschool finds it’s negative. 

Not to mention, your child might resent the hell out of you for taking him or her away from their friends, from pulling them from the football team, the after school photography group, high school prom, and perhaps even a first kiss? Will the parent-child bond grow and flourish, or will being next to each other all day foment some feelings of animosity? Have you ever tried being with someone non-stop? Arguments often happen, only because of the lack of space. We might also ask if the parent is cut out to be a teacher. One not only requires knowledge but also patience. If there is a lack of patience, unlike at school, where the teacher is gone when the bell rings, the child is stuck with the target of their ire. Then again, if you’re a super cool parent and you’re fit for the job, you might realize when things are getting tough and just say ‘school is over for the day; go out and enjoy yourself!’ Not something that happens in a traditional school setting. Homeschooling offers flexibility. 

homeschooling

There is of course the negative of homeschooling costing money in other ways. You must have a fair bit of cash to do it, as it means one parent can no longer work outside the home. You’ll need some relative comfort to take this on. If you have that, then you also have to be the kind of parent who fully understands subjects such as physics, chemistry, calculus, the industrial revolution, and at the same time be able to decipher some great works of literature or know how to write a compelling short story. Not all math gurus are creatives and vice versa. Can you even teach your kid to swing a baseball bat? Do you even have time to visit a field and help your child work out? Do you understand the rules of football and tennis? can you teach chess strategies, or do you know how search engine optimization works? Your kids might not study some of these things, but during the socialization process in school, much can learn from other kids. 

Basically, you must be damn talented if you want to homeschool kids, especially when they get older. But the statistics don’t lie, and homeschooled kids do tend to do better than public school children.

So, what do you think? Is homeschool a better way to educate children? Or are homeschooled kids destined to be socially awkward freaks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!