Education Options: Homeschool vs. Private Education

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As parents and guardians, it’s natural for us to want the best education possible for our children. But with such a range of schooling options available nowadays – homeschooling, state school, private school, Steiner school, unschooling – which should you choose?

Here, we take a look at some of the pros and cons of homeschooling and private school – two very different methods – so that you can begin to explore the options open to you and your children.

Knowing me, knowing you
It can be unnerving to think that a teacher will spend as many or more hours of the day with our children as us. How can we be sure that the class they teach is appropriate for our children? This is where homeschooling comes into its own. We can monitor what our child is learning to the letter, and focus on their talents and what they enjoy learning about. We can choose our own ethos.

Jack of all trades
What if your child shows a keen interest in art, but you can only draw stick men? It could be tempting to steer your child in a different direction, but this wouldn’t follow the usual homeschool ethos. Private schools in particular can offer fantastic quality teachers, who are sometimes experts in their field. However, private tutors are another option that allows you more control.

Living in a bubble
At a school, your child is bound to meet a range of people from differing backgrounds, which can help them to develop social skills that they might not be able to develop at home. If you have a wide circle of friends with children this can be combated, but there’s no denying a school is likely to introduce your child to a wider selection of the world.

Bursting the bubble
Being exposed to a wider selection of the world has its drawbacks. What if your child makes friends that are bad for them? Many parents of children at school face these problems, but they aren’t impossible to overcome. Provide a strong moral compass at home, and meet your children’s friends. Overcoming issues like these could also teach your child about overcoming adversity later in life.

First class
One of the most attractive elements of a private education is the fantastic results that your child could achieve. With excellent resources and track records of test results, private schools can offer a first-class preparation for further learning or the world of work. This can really help your child to be successful when they grow up.

Measure up
However, the excellent track record can also pose a problem. Do you want your child to measure themselves on their academic or sporting success, constantly comparing themselves to others in subjects that they’ve been forced to take? The elitist atmosphere of private schools can cause a great deal of stress for children, particularly if their talents don’t lie on the sports field or in the classroom.

Does size matter?
Private schools generally offer a smaller class size than state-run schools, but that probably still isn’t as small as your classroom would be! Homeschooling allows for intimate lessons where your child gets your undivided attention, which can be fantastic for their learning. However, learning alongside other children also teaches about working with others, which can be a very useful skill.

Show me the money
It’s obvious, but private schools don’t come for free. Can you realistically afford the tuition costs? If you can, would that money be better used elsewhere? Would your child benefit more from private education, or from a family car that could enable you all to visit their grandparents more often? Also, tuition fees vary from school to school, and might be less expensive than you imagine, so do some research.

Know your child
The most important thing is to understand your child’s needs, and discuss with your partner what you feel is important in order for your child to thrive. Also, ask your child what their feelings are, and really listen to what they have to say.  If you’d like further advice, check out forums online where you can chat with other parents who are pondering the same queries as you.

About The Author
Hi there, my name is James. I love writing about education related issues and helping children to get more out of their education. I work for uktutors.com who help match private and personal tutors with students who need tutoring. Pay us a visit to learn more!

Image courtesy of homeschooler via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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  • Chanda September 10, 2013, 7:24 am

    Hi James,

    Loved your article. Provides some great insights. Why didn’t we think of it before? Homeschooling is something we are also quite passionate about (http://quib.ly/tags/home-education)

    Reply