When I first started homeschooling, I really didn’t appreciate the difference in two totally different approaches to education, which are homeschooling and public school at home. What is this homeschool hoax? First, I have a few things I want you to know about my background.
Although coming from a family where my mother homeschooled my youngest sister, my vision of homeschooling was very narrow.
Like a lot of new homeschoolers, I too just copied the public school system in everything from keeping a similar schedule, to curriculum selection, and even testing my first child, Mr. Senior 2013.
Public School at Home
You see, I was doing public school at home.
I hadn’t embraced the freedom that homeschooling offered. I was afraid.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to lesson plan, to teach all of my children at one time, that my children were going to be behind, that I needed testing for grade placement, that my kids need other children their age and that I would totally fail them as an educator.
Did I mention I even had feelings of guilt questioning myself if I was a good mother?
Why do we do that as moms?
I agree that today is so much more easier to homeschool because of all the resources available to us.
However, in one particular way homeschooling was easier way back when because homeschoolers then grasped the full meaning of homeschooling.
About 10 years or so ago, public school at home providers popped up and became popular.
The meaning of homeschooling has become obscured because these companies tout that they support homeschooling. They may or may not.
Can You Really Have One Foot in Homeschool and One in Public School?
Until you let go of the public school at home mentality which models everything after the public school and where you are only assisting your children at home while somebody else teaches them, you will never embrace the freedom homeschooling offers.
Public School at Home Characteristics
- biggest difference – government controlled
- normally offered online
- have testing required
- have parent and teacher conferences
- maintain a public school schedule
- curriculum is put together by educational consultants even though public school at home touts that you as the parent choose readers or have some choice. You may or may not.
- can be accredited
- tout they are free because they are public school and public school is free
- have a teacher assigned to your child
- a curriculum is one grade level straight across the board a/k/a boxed curriculum or one size fits all.
- mostly uses textbooks. Some online school use only textbooks while others throw in a few classical readers.
- schedule is set up to complete on their timetable. Though many programs offer flexibility because they are government controlled, schedules have to be maintained.
If this sounds like the arrangement you just left, then why would you want to repeat it at home?
- biggest difference – parent controlled
- you can choose all online curriculum, part physical books or mix and match
- testing becomes the right of the parent who knows the child best and understands that a test is nothing more than a tool
- conferences are not needed because as the tutor of your children you know what they’re learning. Even if you just begin to homeschool, it doesn’t take long for you to know exactly which subjects your child excels in and which subjects he will need support for.
- your schedule is adopted based on your family’s needs and not based on an outdated school schedule, which was set up based on a society that was much more agricultural than our society is today. If schooling year round suits your family, you simply begin and don’t need approval by a governmental agency.
- curriculum is put together by a parent because she knows the child the best. If the curriculum is not working, it can be changed on a dime. Being in control doesn’t mean you can’t use something laid out by another company, but then that is your choice.
- accreditation is no longer a term which homeschoolers fear because they know it doesn’t have anything to do with the value of an education. Be sure to read my article, Accreditation – Removing the Shroud of Mystery.
- homeschoolers know that public school at home is not free. It may be cost-free, but given up freedom like control, having stressful deadlines for testing and parent teacher conferences cost. Many homeschool educuators give up well-paying jobs because their desire to stay home with their kids is greater than their desire to pursue a career they may even be passionate about. They know that homeschooling for excellence doesn’t always mean having the most expensive curriculum though they are willing to sacrifice other things if a pricier curriculum is better. Be sure to read my article, Is Homeschooling Expensive? Check out this Essential Guide in How to Homeschool Well on a Budget.
- children are tutored one-to-one by their parents. Reports show that parents play a major role in their child having above normal intelligence when tutored.
- the parent stays in control of whether they should purchase a grade level in a box or mix and match grade levels adjusted to the child’s natural abilities.
- homeschool families don’t have to settle for a few well placed classical or living books placed into a curriculum, but can choose living books consistently.
- the homeschool schedule is completely flexible to adjust to the needs of the family each year.
There is not anything that the public school at home approaches offers that an informed and hardworking educator at home can’t overcome.
If it’s structure you crave, then choose a laid out program where you are not having constant interference from an outside source.
If you need a more budget friendly curriculum be sure to check out my post Digital Homeschool Curriculum – Big Ol’ List.
Pursuing sports, music, art or any other extra curricular involvement is done easier when you set up your schedule to fit your children’s passion.
Being in control of my children’s education is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling jobs as a mother and parent I ever could have.
We were never promised it would be easy in raising our children, but they are blessings.
What we are assured of is that we will be provided with what we need to aim our children at their targets.
I have been blessed over and over many times, but not without some tears shed, lots of elbow grease, lots of prayers and a dogged determination to stick to what is best for my family. You can too!
Don’t forget so easily what many homeschoolers who homeschooled in the past knew, which is that homeschooling is a precious and extraordinary way of education that doesn’t mix with any other approach.
Look at some of these other resources that will help you to stick to the homeschooling approach.
- Homeschool Helps – Resources I’ve used that have helped me to stick to homeschooling AND savor it.
- Free 31 Day Homeschool Boot Camp Here on My Blog.
- Wipe Out Self-Doubt: 13 Ways to Show Homeschool Progress (And How I Know My Sons Got It)
Hugs and love ya,