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Homeschooling vs Traditional Schooling: pros and cons

27 DEC 2021

As a vast majority of the world went remote in early 2020 at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, students had to quickly adapt to remote learning from home. Due to this, many parents began to consider homeschooling for their child rather than return children to their traditional schooling methods. But what are the pros and cons of homeschooling versus traditional schooling?

Homeschooling: the pros

  • No commute: Very often, students can only attend certain public schools if they reside in the right district. Alternatively, if they attend a private school further from home, the commute can be long during peak school run hours. As such, homeschooling saves time which can be spent doing further coursework, exploring personal interests, or spending more time with friends and family. 
  • Tailor-made Curriculum: Although certain states/countries may have specific requirements on what it takes to graduate from high school if homeschooled, the option does give students and their parents the luxury of exploring personal interests, going at their own pace, and taking advanced courses where the student is able to. 
  • Custom Schedule: The typical 8am-3pm does not have to hold true with homeschooling! While some legal requirements for a minimum number of hours may be present, students are able to have flexibility to pursue other goals such as competitive gymnastics, travel the world with their families, etc. 
  • Higher performance: According to ThinkImpact, public school students received an average score of 21 out of 36 on the ACT, whereas homeschooled students received an average of 22.8. As for the SATs, homeschoolers scored a nationwide average of 72 points more than their traditional schooled counterparts in the United States in 2020. 
  • Safety: The risks of COVID-19, school shootings, and other unfortunate situations are minimized at home. The extent of safety will also vary upon the neighborhood the school and home are located in. 

Homeschooling: the cons

  • Social life restrictions: Students who are homeschooled do not have classmates with them daily. As such, they can be lonely unless a solid effort is made to interact with peers their age through other activities such as attending a church or place of worship, sports teams, community events, etc. 
  • Pressure on parent’s time: Working a job and raising a child is already a huge time commitment for most adults. As such, being the child’s teacher is an additional burden on parents which not all are able to undertake. Furthermore, a parent will have to ensure that healthy boundaries are set between the parent and child now that the “teacher and student” dynamic is also present. 
  • Cost: The cost of a homeschool curriculum can be a few thousand dollars, whereas public school is free. However, it should be noted that homeschool can be cheaper than private school, so it is up to a family to decide how to best use their educational budget here. 

Traditional Schooling: the pros

  • Social life and development: At school, teens get to spend dozens of hours each week with peers their age, thus giving them a platform to develop their social skills.
  • Professional instruction: Teachers at schools are qualified, trained professionals who have mastered their craft and in the later grades specialize in their area of instruction. 
  • Structure:  Many children thrive on having a set routine and structure in their daily schedules, and schools are the greatest source of structure in a youngster’s life. 
  • Extracurriculars: Schools, especially those with a larger student population, tend to offer extracurriculars which a student is not able to acquire at home. Be it being a part of the chess club, trying out for the football team, or running for student government, certain activities cannot be done in a home setting.
  • School spirit: Being a member of a school helps develop a youngster’s identity, and students are able to obtain a sense of belonging (provided the school is a good fit for them, of course!). 
  • Fostering independence: From keeping track of their own timetable (deadlines, bus schedules, etc), purchasing/bringing their lunch, and finding their way from classes, traditional schooling helps build valuable life skills which shall help students once they graduate. 

Traditional Schooling: the cons

  • More traditional curriculum: Instead of exploring their own interests, students are forced to study subjects at the same pace as their classmates and course selection is more limited.
  • Peer pressure: Be it wearing the latest Nike shoes, fitting in with the cool crowd, or dealing with bullies, peer pressure plays a big part of a teenager’s life and is more present in traditional schooling environments.
  • Overwhelmed teachers: Many teachers have dozens of students on their roster and getting each student’s individual needs met is not often accomplished. 
  • Fitting in: Perhaps the school is simply not a good fit for who your child is – be it the type of curriculum offered, the crowd present, or the overall management of the school. 

While these are just a few of the pros and cons seen in traditional schooling vs homeschooling, I would like to remind you that there is no direct answer as to which option is better. A family needs to consider their own needs to make this decision, including their time, teaching capabilities, educational budget, location, future goals, and resources. Here at Crimson we are always happy to discuss these options and also work together to advise a hybrid model if necessary – where students may take some courses outside of school in addition to the courses in their regular schooling. The pandemic has made more families consider homeschooling after seeing how their child has been handling remote learning – but before you jump the gun, make sure to consider all the pros and cons thoroughly! 

Your friendly neighbourhood Rise blogger, 

Gala

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