The decision regarding which school to choose for child is among the most thrilling one and parents usually find themselves a little bit confused about the advantages and disadvantages of various types of schools now offered. The fact that the choice parents make would have a long-lasting positive or negative influence on the life of their children even adds fuel to the fire. The aim of this paper is to provide the main arguments in favor of home and public schools, examine their major drawbacks and finally to offer the solution to the ever-lasting problem of choosing schools, which every parent seems to encounter.
In order to determine which school will be better for one`s child this paper will focus on the benefits and disadvantages of each kind of school depending on certain features. The first feature is learning environment. Needless to say, both home and public schools have completely different learning environments however they have the same purpose - to educate a child. However, child`s particularities should actually serve as a guiding line for parents who face the problem of choice. In case of homeschooling parents will be assured that during the studies their child is in a safe and calm environment every single day (Chen, 2014). Actually, the supporters of this idea are reassured that such conditions of calmness and safety contribute to children's efficiency as children succeed in learning new concepts more frequently than those studying in public schools. They are convinced that this is mainly due to the fact that the child is familiar with the surrounding environment. In addition, children who study at home do not have to encounter the problem of peer pressure. The energy saved as a result of it might be then redirected into the process of studying. Thus, such children don’t have to worry about what clothes to wear and the way in which they should behave while studying at home. Moreover, they do not have to worry about what is popular, what things would contribute or, on the other hand, decrease their own level of popularity, what music to listen or places to attend. They choose their own way of life not influenced by public opinion, thus, they don’t have to pay attention to things less important than studies. At home children enjoy a peaceful atmosphere, which facilitates education. As a result, these children usually do everything in their own way. They know how to listen to themselves and make the right decisions that actually correspond to their own needs and are dictated by public opinion. These children have more chances to create their own style and unique personality. In addition, the supporters of home schooling suggest that a child will not be negatively affected by the problems which exist in public schools and which involve the use of alcohol, drugs, unnatural sexuality and others.
However, homeschooling has one main disadvantage, which is related to socialization. In terms of homeschooling a child might lack communication with people of the same age and therefore, it will negatively impact the child`s way of communication with his/her peers in the future. It is actually one of the main arguments of the supporters of public schools. In addition, they claim that within the learning environment of public schools children learn to compete, to interact with other children, to struggle for their interests and preferences etc. They actually agree that calm and safe conditions of a child`s home might benefit the child and lead to success in education. However, they note that real world is not such a place. Thus, the faster a child learns how to cope with the challenges of the reality, the better. They consider that the disarray which reigns in the classrooms actually helps students succeed in life. The supporters of public school finally claim that in addition to the educational function, public schools also ensure that children acquire the skills which make their interactions with their peers a pleasant experience.
Following the previous paragraph, it should be noted that the supporters of homeschooling easily beat the arguments of pro-public education activists with simple statistics, according to which children who study at home usually are more successful in obtaining the most prestigious scholarships (Ray, 2014). They are among those who actually win beauty contests. In addition, the homeschooled students usually get 15-30 points more than those, who study at public schools (Ray, 2014). They are more successful at SAT and ACT tests, which are among colleges admission requirements (Ray, 2014). The absence of communication with school peers is actually compensated through active social life of children. They frequently participate in field trips, volunteer activities, political meetings, sports activities etc. High academic achievements of homeschooled children might be also explained by the fact that they are usually subjected to various educational techniques and approaches whereas at public schools such techniques remain to be traditional at large and are not usually designed to address the needs of students with certain peculiarities.
Moreover, as homeschooled children enjoy more freedom in comparison with those studying at public schools, they usually have an opportunity to visit museums, theatres, exhibitions etc that also bride widen their worldview and contribute to the overall educational progress. They are not limited in time so they could focus on the subjects they are actually interested in. Such children do not have to cope with the emotional pressure their peers experience at public schools. Moreover, they are reported to have closer relations with their parents as the latter spend a great deal of time with their children. Finally, homeschooled children have more time to relax and rest in comparison with those studying at public schools.
The researchers report also that homeschooling is actually beneficial in terms of economy (Lubienski & Lubienski, 2013). Due to homeschooling, the government can reduce the expenses that are needed for the maintenance of public schools. At the same time, however, there are some efforts and sacrifices to be done by teaching parents. They should have indeed profound knowledge in a lot of fields of science. In addition, they should definitely possess some sort of pedagogical skills which would enable them to explain various concepts to their children in the easiest and most understanding way. Taking all this into consideration, the teaching parents have to sacrifice their work activities for the sake of their children's education, and for many parents it might be quite a challenge, which, of course, is not the issue in case of public schools.
Specific concerns are also expressed in regard to the issue of discipline in case of homeschooling. The opponents of the latter state that ,unlike in case of home schooling, public schools offer a set procedure of conducting lessons, determined timetable which defines the periods of learning, sports activities etc. As a result of it, the opponents are also concerned about the discipline of a child, who studies at home, and his/her ability to organize time. They state that for some of the students such experience would be harmful as it would be hard for them to cope with the time limits which they face at colleges and further life.
Public schools are beneficial due to several additional reasons. First of all, whereas those parents, who have decided to teach children at home, carry out the burden of financing such activities, the parents, who prefer public schools, enjoy free education and many other advantages like free bus transportation from and to schools. Moreover, public schools offer a wide range of various programs aimed at the “all-sided” development of children. Extra-curricular activities, like choir, theater trips etc, are also available at public schools so that each child has an opportunity to join them. Additionally, all teachers are certified so that there is no doubt regarding their ability to teach children (Shaw, 2013). In case of any conflict or other problematic issue parents could always appeal to the state authorities, which have certain competencies regarding schools including the controlling ones. At the same time there are some disadvantages in regard to public schools because of the following reasons. Classrooms are usually filled to maximum capacity. Of course, such a situation is not comparable with the comfortable conditions of one`s home. Whereas a classroom is overfilled with children, there is usually only one teacher who should perform multiple functions and who sometimes is unable to pay equal attention to all students, so that some of them might not be involved in class activities. Speaking about attention, it is actually rather hard for a regular teacher to keep an eye on every student so that they cannot ensure that everyone is involved into the learning process. Perhaps, that is the main reason why homeschooled children are more successful in academic terms as compared to those who study at public schools. Since the classrooms are overcrowded both regular and gifted children might be lost in the shuffle of public school learning environment. Speaking about gifted students, it also should be noted that they are frequently discouraged as it is not popular to be an overachiever or an A student. At public schools a strong emphasis is placed upon standardized tests, whereas in case of homeschooling parents try to check skills, abilities and knowledge of their children using different methods.
In conclusion, I would like to assert that both kinds of education have their advantages and disadvantages. Public schools are the first real life place where children find themselves without their parents’ supervision, so that could be a challenging experience for them; however, it helps them socialize and makes further interactions with their peers more enjoyable. At the same time, homeschooling ensures safe and calm learning environment, which is reported to be rather effective in regard to the academic achievements of children. It is still up to parents to decide which option to chose, however, they should consider their children` interests and make a decision based on those interests.