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Choosing the right educational path for your child is critical to their wellbeing and their future. Of course, whether your child goes to public school or is homeschooled will have a significant impact on your family unit too.

All parents want to do the best for the child but deciding which schooling is best can be difficult. For many people, the issue of homeschool vs public school is tricky to rectify. With benefits associated with each option, it is important to assess the pros and cons in relation to your child.

While homeschooling statistics and public school statistics can help you to make an informed decision, every child is different. Due to this, you’ll want to consider your child’s personality, development, skillsets, and social skills when you’re deciding which academic route is right for them.

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What is homeschooling?

Homeschool may sound relatively straight forward but it can actually be defined in a variety of ways. For some parents, homeschooling may involve educating their own children, whereas others may form informal groups with other homeschooling families. In addition to this, there are more formal programs that provide parents with homeschooling curriculums and host events for homeschooled children.

If you’re considering homeschooling for your child, you’ll need to assess which of these options works best for your family. Homeschooling can sometimes be solitary and isolating, so having a network of other homeschoolers can be beneficial to parents and children.

Choosing to homeschool your child means adhering to the relevant regulations. Although there are no countrywide homeschooling regulations in the U.S., every state and region does implement its own rules.

In some areas, for example, children who are homeschooled are required to sit standardized tests or submit a portfolio of their work at regular intervals. Due to this, you’ll need to determine which laws or regulations applicable to your family and how you can incorporate them into your homeschooling regime.

Why homeschool your child?

There are many reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children.

These include:
  • Religious beliefs
  • Safety concerns
  • Educational concerns
  • Medical beliefs

If parents have strong religious beliefs, for example, they may want their children to receive an education that reflects these beliefs. As the public school system has clear guidelines regarding religious education, many people choose to homeschool in order to educate their children in accordance with their religious viewpoint.

Alternatively, some parents decide to homeschool their children because they are concerned about their safety in a school environment. If a child has been subject to bullying at school, for example, parents may feel it is safer to homeschool them instead.

In addition to this, some parents feel they can offer a better education to their children at home. If a child is gifted, for example, parents may be concerned that they aren’t being given material which is challenging enough. In some cases, difficulties accessing additional educational support in a public school environment can lead parents to homeschool their children.

Increasingly, parents’ medical beliefs are having an impact on the homeschooling vs public school debate. With some schools insisting that all children are vaccinated prior to attending, parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are homeschooling them instead.

In addition to this, some children with serious medical issues, such as severe allergies, may be concerned about the risk their child faces in a busy, public school environment. Due to this, medical concerns and beliefs often play a significant role in deciding whether homeschool vs public school is appropriate.

Although there are many reasons why parents choose to use homeschooling, the vast majority want to provide their children with a good education in a safe and nurturing environment. Of course, you’ll need to know the facts before you can decide whether or not homeschooling can offer this for your child.

Homeschool vs public school statistics

Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular, with around 2.5 million students currently being educated at home. These students consist of all age groups, from kindergarten right up to high school seniors.

A significant number of studies have been conducted in an attempt to assess the impact of homeschooling.

These studies have concluded:
  • Home-educated students generally score 15%30% higher on standardized tests
  • Students educated at home typically score above average on achievement tests
  • The level of education or family income of a homeschool student’s parents does not appear to impact the student’s performance
  • Students educated at home generally score above average on ACT and SAT tests

It appears, therefore, that children can flourish when they are homeschooled. While some parents may be concerned about the academic consequences of homeschooling, these are unfounded in many cases. Indeed, many argue that homeschooling enables children to reach their full potential.

However, some people have raised concerns that homeschooling has a negative impact on a child’s social development. While public schools give children the opportunity to interact with their peers, homeschooling does not generally provide this or does not provide it in the same way.

Due to this, a number of studies have been conducted to determine whether homeschooling vs public school is better in terms of a child’s overall development.

These studies suggest:
  • Homeschooled students tend to be above average in terms of emotional, social, and psychological development.
  • Many homeschooled students regularly engage in educational and social events, such as field trips, church communities, volunteering, and sports teams.

It appears, therefore, that homeschooling your children can provide them with a well-rounded education and enable them to flourish. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that homeschooling is right for every family.

While the research conducted thus far does not appear to show that children suffer negative consequences as a result of homeschooling, they do not conclusively show that homeschooling is better either.

Before you decide to homeschool your child, it is important to consider the implications on them and the family unit as a whole.

Should you homeschool your children?

Teaching is a tough job and not everyone is suited to it. If you don’t feel that you would have the patience needed to homeschool your children, there is no shame in admitting it! While homeschool is ideal for some families, it isn’t the right option for a significant number of families.

Another consideration when looking at homeschool vs public school is the financial impact on your family. In two-parent families, both parents may need to work fulltime, while the main caregiver in a single-parent family may also be required to work.

To homeschool your child, one parent will need to be present, both to educate and care for the child. If your financial situation doesn’t allow for one parent to give up work or drastically reduce their hours, homeschooling may not be a viable option.

Providing one parent can be present, homeschooling can actually offer increased flexibility. Parents are not generally required to stick to standard term times, for example, and can structure each day as they see fit. Furthermore, homeschooled students can have their progress measured in various ways in a home environment.

For some parents, the flexible approach of homeschooling is attractive. With the opportunity to play a key role in your child’s education and formulate a schedule that works for your family, homeschooling can be an enticing option.

To be effective, however, most parents feel that some structure works best. This enables them to provide a well-rounded education and ensures their children are performing to the best of their ability.

When should you homeschool your child?

If you are still considering homeschool vs public school, you needn’t rush into making a decision. Parents can choose to homeschool their children at any age, so you don’t have to decide before they begin their academic career.

Many students begin at public school and later switch to homeschooling and vice versa. If you find that your child’s current educational route isn’t working out as you had hoped, you can explore other options.

To help you decide whether homeschooling is right for your children, you may want to examine homeschool vs public school statistics in detail. In addition to this, contacting local homeschool networks, meeting local public school teachers, and visiting nearby public schools can help you to weigh up the pros and cons of each option.