Pros and Cons of Public Schooling, Private Schooling, and Homeschooling Education
Every child in the United States must go to school. There are no exceptions. By law the compulsory age to attend school is between 5 and 16, and parents are to ensure that their children are involved in some type of educational system. Most parents will choose a public school setting, but others will choose to enroll their children in a private school or to homeschool their children. This article is meant to give the pros and cons of each type of school system so that the reader can make an informed decision on the type of schooling for their child.
Public School Pros and Cons
- It is free for a child to attend a public school. Funding for schools comes through state government.
- Transportation is provided to a public school by a bus system.
- Teachers in public schools are required to have certain credentials due to state funding.
- Public schools may provide many activities for students to become involved in, including clubs, sports, and fine arts, and these are free to students.
- Public schools are often able to provide services for students with disabilities at no cost as a part of the Exceptional Student Education program.
- Large class sizes often make it difficult for a student to receive one on one assistance.
- With reduction in funding, many programs such as art, PE, and music have been removed from the regular school day, thus limiting a student's involvement in activities outside of core curriculum unless extra curricular activities are pursued.
- In many states now, there are standardized tests that are required and schools are often "graded" based on students' performance on these tests. Therefore, it has been said that teachers must "teach to the test", which often includes math, English, and writing, with less emphasis on history. (This is definitely the case in Florida where I live).
- Public schools have a large number of students, and with a lack of funding, there are often limited numbers of teachers. This can lead to less monitoring of the students, thus a larger number of behavioral issues.
- In a regular education classroom, academically advanced students are often not challenged as well as they could be due to the teacher having to work with all students, and often average or lower students need more work. These more advanced students cannot move ahead until the rest of the class is able to do so.
- Due to state funding, religion cannot be expressed.
Private School Pros and Cons
- Usually a smaller environment with smaller class sizes.
- Usually funded by private sources and tuition from students; therefore, religion can be expressed.
- Because class sizes are smaller, there is often more one on one assistance, and students are able to be better challenged.
- There is less emphasis on standardized testing, though there are measures for accountability to the accreditation board that overseas the school.
- These schools typically still include PE, art, and music daily or weekly to give students a well rounded education.
- Curriculum is often more challenging than public school curriculum.
- Because private schools are centered around a teaching type or religion, the students, teachers, and parents tend to be more like minded and a community is built.
- Because the school is smaller and there is often less funding, there are often less choices for electives.
- Sports programs can be limited, and any sports played will be in a smaller division than a public school.
- Teachers don't necessarily have to have a teaching degree, though there are requirements set by the accreditation board. (I.E. The Association of Christian Schools International, a well recognized accreditation board for private schools, states that a teacher must either have a teaching degree or become certified through the ACSI board, which provides its own professional credentials).
- Typically, there are no special education classes offered.
- Often there is an entrance exam, interview, and/or other factors to determine eligibility
Homeschool Pros and Cons
- Parents and children are able to choose curriculum that meets their interests.
- There is more flexibility in the schedule, so more hands on experience can be used to coincide with written material.
- Children can be taught according to learning styles. For children with learning disabilities, ADHD, or other types of issues that make public school or private school settings more difficult, homeschooling allows these children to be taught in productive ways according to what works well for them without the stigma of a label.
- Children can move at their own pace: slower for children who are more academically challenged, but faster for those who are capable of moving at a more rapid pace.
- Since parents are the ones teaching the children, this style of schooling lends itself to better relationships within the home setting. Further, parents can separate subjects and teach the ones they most enjoy.
- There is a variety of programs available for homeschooling families now since this option has become more popular in recent years. Local universities, recreation centers, and other facilities have begun homeschool PE, art, dance, and visual art classes. There are homeschool co-ops where many students gather in local facilities with parents teaching subjects in their areas of expertise. Further, typically when a student is a homeschool student, they are eligible to play sports at their zoned public school.
- Material must be purchased and can be quite costly.
- Parents are completely in charge of their children's education and need to ensure that they are giving their children a well rounded foundation, particularly if the child will go on to college.
- Students are limited in their ability to attend classes with other children, and it takes an effort on the part of the parent to ensure that the children are given opportunities in the community to interact.
- Typically, one parent will have to give up their job and income to teach their child/children. This can cause a strain on the family, both financially and with the parent being with their children most of the time.
This is not an exhaustive list of pros and cons to say the least and I'm sure many readers can add to this list in any area. When deciding on your child's education, it is important to remember that their future relies on the foundation they receive. Think through the pros and cons and decide which option is best for your family.