Is there something in the water? This is in response to the op-ed piece Parents must consider disadvantages before home schooling from THE OLYMPIAN, June 12, 2009
Public schooling has become an attractive alternative to homeschool or private school. Parents feel they will be giving their children a better education by sending them to government run public schools.
For many, public schooling is a poor choice because the schools fail to provide an atmosphere that is truly conducive to learning. Parents do not take into consideration the irreversible injustice they can place upon their children by sending them to a public school. There are significant disadvantages to public schooling which outweigh the benefits. After having direct contact with at least five people who have been public schooled, I have been able to identify some serious disadvantages to public schooling.
And, after consulting with employers, public and private school teachers, college instructors, church leaders and a host of other professionals, I found that my findings about public schooling are not uncommon.
According to the professionals I interviewed, it is easy to identify those individuals who have been in a pubic school environment.
Some of the most significant disadvantages to public schooling are cost, time, teachers’ inability to instruct, inability to socialize with anyone outside their age group, interpersonal skills, communication skills and being overprotected from the real world outside the school walls.
One disadvantage is the financial burden or hardship it can impose upon a community. It is the responsibility of the taxpayers to purchase the curriculum needed for public schooling where the homeschool provides it at no charge to the tax payer.
This means communities must purchase books, materials, computer software and other resources in order to teach the lessons. Taxpayers must fund all field trips, outings or special activities. Often, one of the parents must give up parenting so the children can be in public school. The loss of an engaged parent in the household can be detrimental. This can be a significant disadvantage and it can disrupt the harmony of the home.
Another disadvantage to public schooling is the amount of time it drains from family.
Many parents don’t realize the time constraints involved with sending their children to public school. Public school can be emotionally and physically draining, leaving the children little time or energy to engage with their families, communities, or the world.
A parent must be motivated and exercise laser focus if their children attend public school. It can be very challenging to follow an arbitrary schedule, set by the school, that the children as well as the parents must follow. It becomes even more challenging when parents try to balance everyday chores with public schooling.
It has been my finding that a large number of teachers are not equipped to be public school instructors. While many teachers have formal training, they lack discipline, or lack organization skills. Without structure and consistency, children can be easily distracted.
Children in public school not only have the time and space in school for study, but the school often demands that they should have an area in the home specifically dedicated to schooling. Most of the time, there is not a set routine. Teachers assign arbitrary, and increasingly time-consuming, amounts of homework that eat into the family’s time. In public school, children must report to school at a certain time and their day is mapped out. They are unable to deviate from that schedule, even when they have a deeper interest in a particular subject.
The lack of parents in a public school can be a serious disadvantage. Sometimes, children have issues or concerns that they don’t feel comfortable talking to a strange counselor, guide, or mentor about. In public schools, students cannot choose to deal with their issues with their parents in a safe and loving environment; they must wait until after school hours, bottling in their fears, anger, or sadness. Public school children don’t have their parents to talk to and provide support. It is important for children to have family they can confide in when necessary.
The biggest disadvantage to public schooling is the child’s lack of socialization which does not provide them the opportunity to interact with anyone other than other children their same age. For some children, especially children in early years, this can affect their development of social skills. It can also hamper interpersonal and communication skills. This will result in children feeling isolated, passive, lethargic and alone or ill-equipped to handle situations where interaction with people of other ages is required.
There is research that states that the self-esteem and confidence of children who have been public schooled is lower than those in private or home schools. Public educators often overprotect their charges from the real world.
Every parent who is considering public schooling should consider the disadvantages I have outlined. If you are unhappy with home schooling or your private school, public school might be a viable option, but it might not be the right solution. I encourage parents to talk to other parents who are public schooling or have public schooled. You should find out all the pros and cons before making a decision that will likely have an adverse effect on your child’s life.