Homeschooling Vs Traditional Schooling: Which is better?
Educational systems are designed to create opportunities for children to learn new things, while also harnessing their unique qualities and interests. Perhaps the two most popular of these systems are traditional schooling and homeschooling.
Not too long ago, homeschooling was reserved for people who did not fit into the mainstream education system for one reason or another. Kids who were too religious, too sick, too famous, developmentally challenged, or dealing with unique situations were the ones who’d get homeschooled.
That has largely changed today. On average, while there are still more traditional-schooled children than homeschooled ones, more and more kids are being homeschooled every year. A lot of parents are now choosing to homeschool their children because they genuinely believe it is a better system of education.
But is it really a better system than traditional schooling? This article seeks to find out.
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is an alternative system of education where parents choose to keep their children home from school to educate them themselves.
While it is a completely legal educational system, it is important to point out that if your child had previously attended regular school, you are required by law to inform the local authorities and your school district about your decision to homeschool before you can start. However, if they have never attended school, you are under no such obligation.
Homeschooling vs traditional schooling: how do they compare?
Homeschooling and traditional schooling differ in a number of fundamental ways. The learning environments are different, the teaching methods are different, and the subjects you need to learn (plus how you learn them) are different.
Both of these systems have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Here is a quick look at the benefits of each one:
Benefits of homeschooling
Here are some of the benefits homeschooling has over traditional schooling:
- It allows for individualized learning
This is one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling. Since every child is different, it is the perfect way for them to learn and comprehend things at their own pace. With traditional schooling, they have no choice but to keep up with whatever speed the rest of the class is being taught at.
Individualization also shows up in other ways with homeschooling. For example, a homeschooled student’s timetable is unique to them. Their schedule is fluid, with lessons structured in a way that suits them and their family. This means you can account for things like family activities, days out, and even vacations.
- As a parent, you have more control over your child’s education with homeschooling
Homeschooling gives you a lot of autonomy over your child’s school curriculum. You have the final decision over the subjects they’ll get to study and what study path they’ll follow.
If you notice that your child has an interest or is passionate about a particular subject, the curriculum is flexible enough to allow you to follow that path. Preference-based learning has been shown to energize the learning process. It also helps guide academic and career trajectories, and has been proven to be a powerful factor in overall academic success.
In the same way, if you are a religious family, you can also incorporate your beliefs into your child’s education, for example, by dedicating more time for religious studies. In this way, homeschooling gives you a highly tailored program that perfectly suits your child.
- Homeschooling is a family affair
Homeschooled kids spend a lot of time with their families. This can be really beneficial especially when adolescence hits and they need all the help and support they can get. It makes the bonds within the family a lot stronger.
Homeschooling also makes children feel closer to their parents. This is something that a lot of traditionally-schooled children miss out on. Plus, it also brings couples closer together because of the shared decision and the time invested towards a common goal.
- It leads to better performance
Educational quality in homeschooling is a lot higher than in traditional schooling. With more personal attention paid to the student, it leads to higher motivation, more interest, and in the end, better grades and performance.
- There is no social or peer pressure
A lot of kids struggle in traditional schooling because of things like bullying, peer pressure, and the expectations placed upon them by society to fit in. The environment created by homeschooling removes most of these stressors, allowing your child to focus on their education.
The downsides of homeschooling
- There are certain qualifications that a person needs to be a good teacher that most parent do not have. Well-educated parents may understand some subjects well, but not all of them.
- Homeschooled kids have limited access to some facilities that kids in traditional school have access to. Things like a gymnasium, a science lab, an art studio, and so on may not be accessible to them.
- It can affect their social life if they do not have access to other children and friends to interact with.
- It can be very time consuming. Most homeschooling families have one parent teaching while the other works, which means this parent has to teach and take care of the home at the same time.
- It can lead to financial constraints. Because of its nature, a lot of times, only one source of income is coming in. If both parents were working before, the sudden loss of one income can take a toll on the household.
- It comes with less structure than traditional schools, which can potentially be disadvantageous for your child.
Are there workarounds for these disadvantages?
While homeschooling has its disadvantages, the good news is that there are ways around most of them.
When parents feel unqualified to teach some subjects, tutors can be used. If something in a particular subject is unclear to both the student and the teacher, they can take the opportunity to do the research and learn about the issue together. Every answer is within reach these days with the power of the internet.
When it comes to access to facilities, kitchens can be turned into chemistry labs, and backyards can become gymnasiums. There are also parents who form groups for their homeschooled kids for art classes and other group learning activities.
As for the effects on social life, parents can also make efforts to ensure that their child has a healthy social life. Groups of homeschooled children are often great for this. They often meet regularly to learn together or to just socialize.
Benefits of traditional schooling
Traditional education also has its own set of benefits over homeschooling:
- It offers access to well-trained professional instructors
Teachers need to be well-trained to do the job well. This goes beyond a basic understanding of the subject matter: they also need to know best practices and the most effective teaching methods. Kids in traditional schools have access to many of these instructors at one place.
- Kids get to interact with other kids
Some people see this as a reason to homeschool, but the presence of other children has its perks. A lot of important life skills can be learned by interacting with other children on a daily basis. Things like teamwork, cooperation, conflict resolution, and other social skills are best learned through practice.
Having peers around will also allow your child to bounce ideas off them, test out theories, and ask them questions without having to seek out an adult. The social element of peer interaction is one of the key benefits of traditional education.
- It requires a much smaller time commitment from parents
Homeschooling requires a lot of dedication and time Investment on the part of the parents. External tutors can help a little here, but they are expensive and may not cover all areas of the curriculum you’ve designed. Traditional schooling is much less tasking.
The downsides of traditional schooling
- The educational needs of the group are placed before your child’s needs. This is true whether your child understand a concept better than the rest of the class or if they are lagging behind
- There is more emphasis on the curriculum and passing tests than on the students’ needs
- There is very little interactivity in the classroom. Homeschooled children are afforded way more opportunities
- There is a high potential for bullying in a regular school environment
- When your child is in a traditional school, they get exposed to a lot of vices like drugs, sex, and alcohol. Most of these things can be controlled in a homeschooling situation
- There is often favoritism from teachers towards students. Typically, this is usually because of performance. However, there are also students who “suck up” to teachers, gaining an unfair advantage over their peers
- There is no emphasis on larger concepts and structures. This simplifies the learning process but provides no context for the concepts, leading to a disconnect
- Schools are also often influenced by their environments. Depending on the location of the school, racism, sexism, and religious discrimination may be commonplace.
- Because of they have to adhere to a strict curriculum, traditional schools may end up crippling a child’s imagination, critical thinking, and creativity. Any progress the child makes outside of what is required may also end up being diminished.
Which is better?
Homeschooling is a deeply personal and serious decision that calls for a lot of dedication, hard work, and patience. If done right, it provides a safe environment for your child to learn what they want from a teacher that they feel very comfortable with. With it, personal talents can be nurtured, essential life skills can be taught, and the foundations of future careers can be laid at an early age.
Traditional schooling, on the other hand, prescribes a one-size-fits-all model that may not work for every child. Sure, there are children who thrive in the traditional educational system, but there are also many more who struggle and find it hard to cope. Forcing these kids into a cookie-cutter system that does not suit them does them a great disservice.
At the end of the day, though, every child is different. They have different needs, and homeschooling may or may not work for them. It is also important to remember that homeschooling places a lot of responsibility on the parents. As long as parents make sure that their children are getting all the learning and educational requirements they need while being homeschooled, it is a great alternative to traditional schooling.
Therefore, the better system between the two is the one that works for your child.
At the end of the day, homeschooling is not for everyone. Both homeschooling and traditional schooling have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you have been considering homeschooling your child, it is important to do your research first and consider the benefits and downsides of each system carefully before coming to a decision.
Above all else, it is important to remember that this is about your child. Every child is different, and they will respond differently to different methods of learning. Put their needs first and you will come to a decision that works for them.
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