Home schooling is the education of students at home by parents or tutors instead of learning in the formal school setting. Public schools are institutions of learning that are offered to all students by the government and that are paid for by the state taxes, either partially or in full. These two types of schooling have similarities and differences in the way they are run. This paper explores the main similarities and differences between home schools and public schools.
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Similarities and Differences between Public Schools and Home Schools
These two types of schooling have some similarities. Firstly, the overall goal in both types of learning is to give education to the students and to ensure academic excellence. Learning takes place to ensure that students in both public and home schools get a good education.
Both types of schooling involve the student sitting down with an instructor and receiving instructions. In home schooling the instructor can be a parent or a tutor while in public schools, the instructor is a teacher. In addition, students in both schools use the same resources to do research, such as the libraries, Internet, and museums. Moreover, students from both schools take field trips by visiting art exhibitions and museums. Another similarity is that both types of schooling use a curriculum to guide them.
Public schools use a curriculum designed by the public education authorities while in home schooling, the parent designs a suitable curriculum or uses one that has already been designed and proven to be successful. Furthermore, in both types of schooling, the student has to study and do quizzes and tests to determine the level of understanding the content. These two types of schools are also similar in that most of the subjects taught in public schools and home schools are the same.
Even though the parent of home-schooled children can choose the learning content most suitable for the child, some content such as algebra and many others are mandatory. Many home schools will also use books that correspond to those used in public schools in terms of content and grade level. Another similarity is that in both there are laws that regulate learning. There are laws that govern both public schools and home schooling, and they need to be adhered to in terms of the learning content.
Besides, when entering college, both home schooled and public schooled students take the same standardized tests (Cai, Reeve and Robinson, 2002). However, these two types of schools differ in various ways. In public schools the student learns within a group setting and is therefore likely to learn social skills through interacting with other students. This enables the student to learn to socialize with other members of the society and be able to interact in the real world.
Students in public schools are encouraged to work with others and solve problems as a team and these interactions give them knowledge and experience. In home schooling, the student learns alone and there is no interaction with other students. They do not get the opportunity to interact with their peers during learning. Home schooled students are encouraged to develop individual styles and explore their own interests.
Therefore, home schooled students may have problems interacting and relating with other members of the society in the real world. Another difference is that students in public schools may perform poorly in class due to distractions such as peer pressure. In home schooling, the students are shielded from any distractions that may come up in a learning environment and therefore they are more likely to perform well (Cai, Reeve and Robinson, 2002).
In home schooling, the student can choose the environment that is most conducive for learning. However, the learning environment in public schools is rigid and cannot be adjusted. Moreover, in public schools the curriculum is designed by the public education authorities. They also decide the books to read and the subjects that should be done in each grade.
In home schooling, the parent can develop a curriculum for the child or choose one from the ones already designed. The parent also chooses the learning materials that are most suitable for the child. Another difference is that in home schooling, the children can be taught at their own level and with the learning styles most suitable to them. They can also learn at their own suitable time. In public schools, learning is scheduled by the school and is therefore not flexible.
All Students in public schools are taught with the same learning styles and therefore some of them might not learn effectively (Berends, 2009). In home schooling, the individual student’s learning needs are met because there is a one-on-one teaching. There is only one student being taught and therefore the instructor gives him/her all the attention. The parent can be able to monitor the progress of the student and further explain concepts that the student has not understood. The student is also taught at his/her learning pace.
In public schools, the teacher has to pay attention to many students and therefore may not be able to monitor the progress of each individual student. Understanding and meeting the needs of all individual students in a public school is difficult. All the students do not learn at the same pace and therefore the class might move on while some students have not yet understood a concept (Cai, Reeve and Robinson, 2002).
In public schools, there are many teachers with expertise in different subjects. In home schooling, the parent may not have enough knowledge and expertise to teach all the subjects. Another difference is that public schooling keeps the child away from the parents for long periods of time and therefore reduces family bonding.
In home schooling, parents and students are together all the time. Home schooling strengthens family bonds as the members of the family are always in close contact. Moreover, in public schools, extra-curricular activities are available to the students.
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Students in public schools engage in sports and other activities after the class hours. This is not the case in home schooling as there are no peers for the home schooled student to play with at home. Another difference is that home schooling is more expensive than public schooling.
This is because public schools are mostly free and learning materials are provided. In home schooling, the parent has to acquire learning materials for the student and may sometimes hire a tutor if he/she does not have enough time or expertise to teach the child in a certain subject area (Berends, 2009).
Public schools and home schools have both similarities and differences and each has its pros and cons. Each individual student has unique learning needs and some can learn best in a public school while others are best suited to a home school. Therefore, parents should critically weigh each option in order to ensure that their children learn in a school that is best suited to them.
Berends, M. (2009). Handbook of Research on School Choice. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Cai, Y., Reeve, J. and Robinson, D.T. (2002). Home schooling and teaching style: Comparing the motivating styles of home school and public school teachers. Journal of Education Psychology, Vol. 94(2), pp. 372-380.