Homeschool vs. Public School
As parents, our foremost thought and purpose is to protect our children. A second close is to teach them what values, virtues, morals, and skills we believe are necessary to function in this world and live a Christ-centered life. When it comes to our children and education, the big debate is what is best; a public provided education or a parent provided education, and what curriculum will meet our set goals without compromising the education we give our children.
With a Master’s in Elementary Education, I am often asked why on earth I have spent so much money and time to get a degree in education to homeschool my own children. The answer is very simple; once I began my student teaching, it became apparent what was really going on behind those beautiful brick walls covered with posters, which hide the cinder blocks (and germs).
Now, please don’t get me wrong, there are schools that are building children up and growing their intellect so we have future thinkers and leaders, but we also have schools that are “producing” our children, imparting misleading and downright wrong educational material and ideas, and foregoing character building and love of one another, with a central focus. Wait, there is a central focus, the test, but that is for another day. Teachers are piled with more and more of the parental burden, as administrators push more and more of a political burden. There are not enough hours in the school day (there are seven, but only about four hours can actually be considered educationally engaged hours) to do what is required and often times, teachers simply move on, leaving the students who don’t understand, behind.
As a once perspective teacher, I was very upset that I did not come to the realization that I was what was best for my children, sooner. Who better than the child’s parents to teach them? Sure, my degree made me excellent with crowd control, but what about really teaching these kids? It is almost impossible to reach students without parental involvement, and with the current state of the world, more and more children are raising themselves or being raised by siblings or friends. In a public school setting, it is extremely hard to reach every student, especially those who are exceptional (one end of the spectrum or the other). In a homeschool setting, the parent sets the course of learning through student interests and ability and the timeline is flexible (in many states).
As a thoughtful, loving, and concerned parent, why on earth would I send my child away to “work” (that is what it is, is it not?) for nine hours a day to have to supplement and correct for the remaining five to six hours? Not only do I have to focus on what is being taught by the adults in the school system, but also focus on what the other students are teaching my children. There is no better place for children to learn about misinformed sexuality, social norms, and secularism, then a public school setting. Unfortunately, many private Catholic schools are adopting the Common Core and embracing, with a touch of Catholic Faith, the “dumbing us down” mentality. Common Core you ask? Well, that is another stadium size can of worms that must be addressed, but I will save that for another article.
So, back to the original idea; why homeschool and what are the benefits weighed against that of a public education? The answer for me is my children’s morality and individual intelligence. I don’t expect to teach them only about our Faith, but I do intend for my children to live the Gospel and be that light for so many others who, for one reason or another, are living in darkness. I want my children to grow and prosper under His guidance, which is given through me and the Church. I want my children to know that they are important and have talents that will most definitely not be highlighted with a public education, given its current state. Not to mention the fact that so many people who do send their children to public school speak so poorly of teachers and how much they make for “babysitting” but continue to place the burden of moral and intellectual education in the hands of teachers who they criticize and belittle whenever said child does not perform up to some set of unimaginable standards.
What about those parents who want to homeschool and can’t because they have to work? Well, I am a working mother. I am busy, very busy (just ask my husband who has to make appointments to talk to me) and I homeschool. My children, through homeschooling and love and respect, have become self-starters, goal setters and achievers. Nothing thrills my twelve year old more than finishing up a textbook and work in March/April when we have slotted the work to end in late May. You can homeschool your kids. You have to remember that the educational day does not have to (nor should it) look like that of a public school. Work around the obstacles, or make changes to your current situation. God provides. He always has for us and I know he always will.
It would be just lovely if I could wrap our family up in a nice Catholic Bubble and leave everything else outside, but we do not have that much bubble wrap. Instead, I will guide my children’s learning and character through parental love and support, the way God intended it to be. I know that my children may never go to college or become millionaires, but if they are happy, productive, Christ-centered people, than I have done my job.
Laura Haber, B.S., MaEd, CFCP
Homeschooling Mother of 5
Berkeley Springs, WV