This articles takes a look at the key issues that differentiate school and home school education, looking at the pros and cons of home tutoring’s more individualised approach and the issues surrounding socialisation that some view as a disadvantage of home learning. This article lays out the issues, because the choice for individual families about the overall benefits of a school or home education will differ. Many parents waver about home schooling because of concerns about their own ability to teach compared to that of a trained school teacher, so this article looks at the academic, social and family factors within a home and school education so parents can decide about their options for a child’s education.
School Learning: The Advantages
School learning leaves parents more time to path out their own tasks and/or career during every day life. Whether a child is ‘unschooled’, (taking charge of his or her own education) or more actively-taught by parents, both methods involve a large time and effort investment by the whole family. When a child is learning at school, their teachers perform all the tasks, from teaching lessons, to making a timetable, organising trips and visits, sorting out resources, that a home schooling parent would have to carry out.
A state-maintained school education will tend to be cheaper than home schooling. Although, at home, parents do not have to pay costs like uniform, travel, etc, there will be higher costs which would not usually be incurred in a school-based education, such as buying a curriculum, text books, computer and writing resources, field trips, science equipment, etc. Also a school based education usually allows both parents to bring in an income, if that is desired.
The socialisation issue: while there is fierce debate about the level that social interaction is a problem within home schooling, in a mainstream school opportunities to meet other children and adults form a part of everyday life and are therefore less fraught.
A school teaching environment offers qualified teachers who will usually have experience with various teaching methods as well as in their own specialist subject, and schools also have specialist teachers and staff available, for example career counsellors and PE teachers. This may especially affect children with special educational needs who further benefit from expert teaching and care.
Home School Learning: The Advantages
Child-centred learning – you can learn with your child at his/her own pace, without any competitive aspect.
Since socialisation will have to be more organised and/or structured, a home schooled child will meet people who share their interests and hobbies rather than merely their age, and get involved with a range of extra-curricular activities.
Home schooling allows much flexibility of education, which takes into account a child’s level of learning that day, and fits in once in a lifetime learning opportunities as and when they occur, such as an exciting exhibition coming to town.
Home schooling can happen anywhere, and can take in exciting locations such as science museums, zoos, as well as being able to home school abroad (although parents should check local rules and regulations).
Home schooling involves more family time.