Compare and Contrast Essay on Homeschooling vs. Public Schooling

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1810 Words
Date:  2022-05-16


Today's society takes education very seriously. It has become a critical factor in determining the rate of success that one can achieve in life and hence parents are keen to secure a good future for their children. The goal for parents is to ensure that their kids get the best quality education out of the various choices available today. Public, private and homeschooling are the three core options available for learners. This variety has given rise to diverse views as people argue out the merits and demerits of each in an attempt to settle for the best choice. A literature review of these two sides does not give a clear indication of which is most appropriate for modern students. Homeschooling has more benefits for students compared to public schools since student score high marks in tests, achieve good grades in college, interact socially with others, maintain cultural and social values, and become active members of society.

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An increasing number of American families is gravitating towards the idea of educating their kids at home as opposed to the traditional school setting. The ten years from 1999 to 2009 saw the number of homeschooled students in America shifting from 850,000 to approximately 1.5 million according to federal estimates (Boulter 1). Once a practice that was discouraged in most states, it is now legal in each state although the regulatory standards may vary from each other. State authorities have come to view homeschooling as an alternative to the compliance of mandatory school attendance for all children (Boulter 2). Educating students at home is not a recent phenomenon as it predates the formal school system. People were taught by their parents at home long before schools came into use. Homeschooling is an age-old parent-led educational practice that has shifted from being an alternate means to rapidly bordering on the mainstream in America. The trend is also taking shape in many other countries such as France, Canada, Australia, Japan, Russia, Mexico and the UK among other countries. This prevalence of homeschooling around the world should serve as a wake-up call to signify that more people are realizing that it is beneficial for their children. The 2% to 8% growth rate of homeschooling enrolment figures showed that there were over 2.2 million students engaged in home-based education. The demographic statistics are also changing as black, and Hispanic families begin to adopt home education.

Understanding the difference between home and public schooling calls for a look at some of the reasons why parents will opt to educate their children at home. It shows some of the things that parents consider as important enough to choose against the tried and tested traditional public schooling program. One of the main reasons is to customize the learning environment and curriculum of each child. Urban homeschoolers often cite the homogenized public education system as the core reason why they opt to take over the schooling of their children. State and federal education policies continue to emphasize on standardized tests and core standards while many parents want to offer their children something more flexible, engaging, and creative than what is available in schools (Miller). The one-size-fits-all orientation of school programs is primarily unappealing to parents who have 'special' students such as being intensely shy, immature, geniuses, or those who need flexible programs to accommodate unique talents like music and dance. This setting is meant to focus all the attention on an individual student to allow them to maximize their potential. Another major reason why parents opt for homeschooling is the likelihood of overcrowding in the public institutions. In New York, it is common to hear parents from some of the best school districts complaining about the crowd issue and teachers who have to spend time reining in on the undisciplined people thus eating into time meant for teaching (Miller).

The cultural and social issues surrounding the traditional school systems are another factor that makes parents opt for home education. The age-old antics like bullying and other playground antics have placed parents at a position where they do not want their kids to undergo the same treatment. According to the Department of Education statistics, approximately 88% of homeschooling parents in the US have voiced their concerns regarding the school environment citing negative peer pressure, bullying, drugs, and general safety among other issues (Miller). Public schools consist of many students from all walks of life, and hence it is expected that there will be issues like poor discipline, peer pressure, and other issues that crop up when kids come together. No parent would like to have their kids go to a school that imparts negative traits upon their character hence a number will opt for homeschooling. These distractions and negative influences are not present at home since parents are keen to regulate the environment.

The social environment of the school dictates the advantages that come with homeschooling. If the option of home education is viewed as a conscious decision where parents compare the public schools and their take on homeschooling, it is evident that the parents are influenced by much more than their personal preferences. Instead, they consider the relative advantages depending on the characteristics of the available institutions. The same parent could adopt different reasons for home learning depending on the various factors within their environment: more time with the family if the school stipulates an eight-hour day for children or more safety in an environment that has low juvenile delinquency at school (Spiegler 67). This parental perception is rooted in the fact that there are various social elements in public schools that affect the growth and development of a student.

One of the factors that motivate parents to opt for home education is the opportunity to forge a new alternative family model from the typical setting that dominates the culture in America. Homeschooling parents have cited the desire to achieve a deeper involvement and influence in the lives of their children as a key reason for teaching them from home. It is well-known that the public system reduces the time spent between children and their parents and hence the latter lacks an opportunity to guide the growth of their kids. Parents view schooling as an extension of education, which is both embedded within the broader aspect of parenting (Kunzman and Gaither 10). Homeschooling, therefore, acts as an avenue for parents to strengthen their family bonds with the children. The strengthened relations will help the children to resist numerous influences of moral permissiveness, consumerism, and the anti-intellectualism that is gradually encroaching on institutionalized schooling and moral culture (Kuzman and Gaither 10). Homeschooling will create increasingly tight-knit families since parents and kids spend more time than before in an interactive setting. The strong bonds mean that parents can teach their kids many critical aspects that would otherwise be impossible in the public-school setup.

Home education is a viable option because it helps to preserve religious values and cultures that could quickly get eroded if left to the devices of public institutions. Certain ethnic, racial, and linguistic minorities have become drawn to home learning as a way of preserving their originality. There is no empirical evidence on the intersection of bilingual education and home learning, but Carlson opines that homeschooling can assist in stemming the deterioration of non-school languages (Kunzman and Gaither 11). Religious, racial, and ethnic minorities have often singled out the dissatisfaction with the current school setup as the primary motive for considering home-based learning. There is the specific concern that schools and their curriculum either ignore the cultural significance of their groups or oppress and stereotype their children (Kunzman and Gaither 11). This perspective is especially prevalent amongst Muslims and African Americans. Public institutions do not have the luxury of nurturing cultures at an individual level and hence cannot accommodate all people satisfactorily.

Homeschooling is an excellent choice for parents who have special needs children. 11% of the of home-based learning parents answered a survey conducted by the NHES in 2007 citing mental or physical health problems as the key reasons behind their choice of schooling. Research studies have indicated that allowing such students to learn from home can be beneficial that leaving them to cope with the public institutions. Home learning brings individual attention and differentiated instructions which may offer a superior learning environment to special needs children compared to the public system (Kunzman and Gaither 11). Some scholars are even calling upon the relevant authorities to modify the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to qualify homeschoolers for the special education services regardless of the state's regulations. Public institutions cannot offer the same individualized care that is required for the development of this unique group.

Many countries around the world are insistent upon compulsory schooling that is administered by trained and registered professionals. These nations contribute a sizeable amount of public funds to accommodate the public school. America spends an average of $11,732-$16, 894 per student each year according to the National Education Association (Ray 97). It is a high amount of money considering that everyday parents without any advanced training are achieving success while training their children. It goes to show that there should be an emphasis on homeschooling as a way to save on public expenditure while maintaining or improving the performance levels.

Some concrete arguments are showing that home schooling's personalized approach helps to improve individual performance. Approximately thirty years of research conducted in the US, Canada, and other countries shows that home educated children will achieve above average credentials in their academic performance (Ray 97). The Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science published a study that sheds light on the scholarly performance of the students in these two sets of programs. It found that learners between the age of five and ten who study from home under a structured curriculum will perform better on standardized tests than their counterparts from public schools (Anderssen). This survey, which included 74 children, showed that public students performed above grade level but comparing their test scores with home-schooled kids showed that the latter had an advantage in reading and math grades. A different study showed that homeschooled students scored a mean of 54 while their counterparts from the public schools had an average of 47.9 in algebra (Bagwell 83). These statistics are proof that the academic performance of homeschoolers trounces the traditional public schooling system.

Home-schooled students will perform better on average than their public-school peers. This performance is not only limited to the kindergarten levels, but its influence is seen even at the college level. Cogan carried out a quantitative study to examine the academic results of home educated students using census data from the respective institutions. The results showed that home-based students had a 2.5% higher possibility of receiving a Pell Grant compared to the traditionally taught learners. Home-schooled students, on average, had more freshman college credits, higher ACT scores (26.5), higher annual cumulative GPA (3.41), higher GPA cumulated over four years (3.46), and enjoyed a higher graduation and retention rate compared to public school students (Snyder 292). The...

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