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Home Schooling vs. Public or Private Schooling
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim
Over the last couple of years, Margaret and I have thought long and hard about the merits of home schooling vs. sending our children to public or private school.
It feels like we've been to the circus and back about a dozen times with this decision, and though we're leaning towards home-based learning for our boys, we continue to have moments of uncertainty.
Here are just a few reasons why we think home schooling would be good for our children:
Home-based learning would allow them to grow and develop on more of a natural schedule. We think it would be ideal if they don't have to get up five days a week at the sound of an alarm clock and be somewhat limited in what, where, and how they eat.
Beyond learning how to read, mastering math skills that are essential to everyday living, and learning how to type and use a computer, home schooling would provide more flexibility than public school in allowing our children to pursue their own interests.
By getting them involved with everyday chores, including management of the family budget, our hope is that our boys will start thinking at a relatively early age about what it takes to be self sufficient in this world.
Clearly, we don't want them to feel pressure to make a living when they should be using most of their time to explore; we just don't want them to grow up thinking that as long as they get a degree from university, they'll be set for life.
We'd like them to be free of the pressure to own an Iphone or whatever gadgets or clothes are deemed necessary for proper living when they reach the age where this sort of thing happens. It would be great if they don't waste many hours or weeks of their lives like I did as a youngster because of a pimple or a silly haircut.
We don't feel that sending our children to private or public school is necessary for "socialization." To us, what most people call socialization in public school looks more like learning how to be perceived as being cool or even just okay, whatever it takes to avoid being a "nerd."
The one main point that we worry about in home schooling our children is this: Will we be talking away too many bumps from their lives, enough to significantly diminish their opportunities to grow through suffering?
Part of my capacity to appreciate life as a free thinker was created by the many years I spent being a conformist.
A good chunk of my appreciation for budgeting and understanding the difference between truly needing and simply wanting comes from having spent plenty of time interacting with people who look wealthy but are mortgaged through the clouds.
Is it enough to just teach our children about these things while they are young? Or do they need to be immersed "out there" in public school to better understand these realities?
We're still asking ourselves these and other questions. And we're asking plenty of other parents - those who home educate and those who send their children to public or private school - for their thoughts on this topic.
What follows are some thoughts from a friend of ours, Miiko Gibson, who has been home schooling her children for several years. We found Miiko's thoughts to be quite helpful, and we trust that others will as well.
Miiko Gibson on Home Schooling:
Yes, we are both glad to be home schooling.
I guess a lot depends on your educational goals and philosophy. Also how strict and demanding your state/province is with respect to home schooling. For us, we need a legal cover and our cover is actually our own church. Here in the U.S., some states are more strict than others.
Here are some reasons we home school/home educate:
To bring up our children in a Christian environment. We want to give them have a Christian world-view so they are able to relate everything back to Christian principles. I'm not actually "schooling" them as much as "discipling" them - teaching them values, good habits, good attitudes, and a love for learning.
No one loves or understands them as much as we do. We just love having them with us...so family life is more important to them than what their peers think.
With regard to academic and psycho-motor skills, well, they will be ahead in some areas and behind in others. But then each child is fearfully and wonderfully made. We don't have to follow a scope and sequence just so they are on par with everyone else. We set our own goals and follow them, adjusting them along the way.
Home schooling allows them to follow their own interests more deeply. There is time and freedom to develop entrepreneurial skills and an independent spirit. No need to conform to peers.
Better socialization skills where they are able to relate to more people across the board. Also, closer sibling relationship.
My daughter has some food allergies - I cannot imagine sending her out there without precautions. Also, I would hate for her to eat like her peers. :(
We can take vacations when everyone else is in school. We can take a day off when daddy is home. The kids get to sleep later in the morning. They get to do chores. They don't have silly homework and busy work to tie them down. They learn life skills. They are with us when we serve others so they learn to serve.
This does not mean it has been plain sailing, oh no. But that's another story. :)
An observation: Asians here, unless they are American-Asians, are very unlikely to home school. I can see why as they feel ill-equipped to teach the English/American language. Then many Asians are also very concerned about their children's academic track and ranking. They are much more competitive than the average, more laid back American. Home schooling then is not much of an option. Our own thinking is teach a child to love learning, and with informed and loving guidance from us, they will be fine.
Then there is the fear element, like "What if I mess up my kid?" Someone said the worst day at home could be the best day at school seeing how little real attention and love is given to each child by the teacher. I was a teacher, and I really loved my kids, but now that I'm a mom, it really is different.
Home schooling also brings out the worst in mothers (or fathers). We constantly need grace, and we are constantly growing as people.
Hope the above has helped in some way.
Many thanks once again to Miiko for taking the time to share her thoughts with us.
If you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of home schooling and public or private schooling, please consider sharing via the "add new comment" link below. We appreciate the opportunity to consider different perspectives on this topic. Thank you.
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