Home School Vs. Christian School Vs. Public School: Pros and Cons

public or private school vs. home school-list-of-pros-and-cons

Because this post turned out to be a major hit with Google, I have revised it to reflect my views now that I have 2 years of home-school under my belt. And by the way, we are returning to “regular school” this fall. One of our boys will be going to public kindergarten. Two of our boys will be going to a private school, run by our church. Our youngest son is only 3, so he will be my only one still home with me.


HomeSchool vs Public School Vs Private School: Pros and Cons

First, we did try public school.

We were fortunate to belong to an amazing community with a high performing school.  Our neighborhood elementary school in Northern Virginia tested well above the national averages.  While that was great, and my boys were pretty happy at school, no school is perfect.

See, my boys had trouble paying attention to things that they are not interested in, especially in large group settings. I don’t mean they day dreamed a little.  They day dreamed so much that their teachers tried to interject my boys’ names into every few sentences to encourage them to listen.

Now that they are older I think this has actually improved, but back then I was all throwing my hands up and feeling discouraged.

That’s my biggest hang-up with public schools and my boys: Large groups.  Joshua’s second grade classroom had 28 students and 1 teacher.  The 1st grade class had 26 students and 1 teacher.  Has anyone stopped to realize what we’re asking our teachers to do here???

I attempted teaching public school 1 year, 10 years ago, in a low income area of Texas.  I had 19 students, in a combined 3rd/4th grade classroom, and it was a HUGE job.  I was fresh out of college and had little experience with children, so it was too much for me.

Think about it.  26 1st graders–in 1 room–with 1 teacher.  Do you really think that teacher has any time whatsoever to give any individualized instruction?  I doubt it.

So I confess, I thought I could do better myself. The boys and I took on home-schooling for the past two years.

It was painful for me. I was mostly stressed and miserable. The boys grew to like it because 1.) no home work 2.) shorter school days and 3.) so many pajama days.

But for me it was more stress than I could handle. I was not one of those ‘fun’ teacher types, doing cool experiments and building forts and playing games. I was more like, “Hey, look, I don’t care if you think it’s hard. The book says we have to do it, so please just do it now so we can be done with this already.”

Yeah…..teaching was so not my thing. Good things did come out of it, mostly personal growth for myself: I learned that it’s important to accept help from others. I prayed more.

Also, good things came out of it for my boys. They grew even closer together. My oldest had needed an attitude adjustment before we started home schooling, but over the past two years he matured in character in manifold more ways than I expected, and I am incredibly proud of him.

But I will never home school again. The stress and unhappiness made me physically ill. Literally, I am now on heart medication.

But some people love it, so don’t take that to mean I’m anti-home schooling. You may be an AMAZING teacher-mom. But if you do go for it, I hope you find some things to delegate. You aren’t supposed to have to be everyone and everything to your family. People need other people.

Also, I think it’s important to mention that some of us are a better fit for public schools, private schools, or home schooling than others. One kid may thrive in one environment, while another thrives in the opposite. We all have to choose what works best for our particular situation.

So let’s see the list!

HomeSchool vs Public School Vs Private School: Pros and Cons


Public School Pros Vs. Cons


  1. It frees up time for you to spend with your pre-schoolers during the day.
  2. It gives you breathing room and less stress in some ways.
  3. The kids get to make friends at school.
  4. The kids must learn how to function in a highly ordered environment.
  5. The kids must learn responsibility of turning in assignments on someone else’s timeline.
  6. The kids learn skills of dealing with people of diverse backgrounds.
  7. They learn to eat new foods in the lunch room, and you don’t have to even get involved. (And that’s coming from a mom of a severe nut-allergy kid.)
  8. The burden of your children’s education does not lie squarely on your shoulders alone.


  1.  having to trust whatever random teacher your kids are placed with
  2. not knowing what they are doing all day and whether they are paying attention at all
  3. having to re-teach many things they learned at school when they get home…..because they weren’t listening
  4. dealing with them occasionally not bringing home their homework assignment
  5. your kids being taught things at school that you don’t actually agree with
  6. your kids not learning what success feels like because their attention problems are getting in the way
  7. no one-on-one instruction
  8. They dislike school.
  9. summer not beginning until practically July
  10. Sometimes I feel like I don’t see them at all between school, homework, and extracurricular activities.
  11. lots of negative outside influences on their attitudes
  12. learning lots of trash talk from friends  (Think back.  You remember this from your school days, right???)

HomeSchool vs Public School Vs Private School: Pros and Cons

PRIVATE SCHOOL (Christian, protestant school):


Same as above, but also:

  1. They learn Christian principles and morals that I actually DO agree with. (Be sure to thoroughly vet what your school of choice teaches. Know what denomination it is and what that means.)
  2. Their environment is like-minded.
  3. They learn Bible verses that will help them for the rest of their life.
  4. So important: Smaller class sizes!!


Same as for public school, but also:

  1. It costs a lot of money.
  2. They would have to be “car riders.”
  3. If it is a prestigious school, there may be homework and stress overload. Be sure to check on that. Thankfully, the one I’m choosing assigns very little homework, or so they tell me. Here’s hoping!




  1. Life would run more on your own time table.
  2. You can choose a curriculum that fits the needs of each child.
  3. 1:4 teacher/student ration allows for more individualized instruction
  4. better for their attention problems
  5. more time with your children
  6. less outside influence on their attitudes and language (if only I can also control MY mouth)
  7. You might enjoy planning their lessons.
  8. Fun field trips.  Home school day at the aquarium!
  9. Home school co-ops often offer 1 or 2 day/ week of all the arts or P.E.
  10. Your kids will probably enjoy it.


  1. You have to learn to be more structured.
  2. They may not learn the same coping skills they’d learn at school for dealing with difficult people and focusing in large groups.
  3. a LOT of work for Mom
  4. no freedom for Mom whatsoever–ever
  5. Will you be able to have patience with them?
  6. Wearing so many hats is stressful.
  7. You may feel isolated from being home teaching everyday. (I felt extremely isolated.)
  8. You will either like it, love it, or hate it. If it makes you want to poke out your own eyeballs, just stop.


OK.  Your turn to chime in!  What have you chosen for your children?  What do you love about it?

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”     Proverbs 12:15

Of course, in the end, we will choose what we think is best for our particular children, based on lots of research, thoughtful consideration, and prayer.

This is our first year trying out a private school. Have any of you had positive experiences with public or private schools? Have any of you felt run down from home-schooling? Just checking because I think I need to belong to some sort of Home-School-Teacher Drop Out Support Group! Ha!!

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  • Donna

    You have done a good job thinking this thing out with pros and cons. As a retired public school teacher in the Bible Belt, I would really be as confused as you are. In a home school coop the boys would still get interaction with other kids and be learning those interactive skills. You might even find a coop that meets two days a week! The only downside to homeschooling for me would be that mom NEVER gets a break! That is why parents are always so excited when school breaks are over and they can send kids to someone else. But what are they sending them to every morning and what are they learning outside of academics? Is there a quality Christian school at the new location that isn’t impossibly expensive? Maybe you can get a chance to check out all these options when you go out to house hunt. Also, could your pastor recommend a pastor out there to consult with about their school situation?

  • Donna

    Keep in mind you have a great homeschooling resource in the family if you need her!

  • It is so important to review all the options, so I love that you have done so here! We chose to homeschool my son from kindergarten (he’s first grade now) because I knew he would be bored in public school, and because the classes for both public school and private school are close to 30 students (for one teachers…yes…..).

    I think one con you put above is not completely accurate. You say you will have no free time for yourself ever. It’s true that it is harder to find those moments of blissful quiet. And with four kids it will be difficult for you! But by homeschooling you also teach your children to care for themselves. Institute a mandatory quiet time each day….even just for an hour. It could be after dinner, mid-afternoon, first thing in the morning. If you do decide to homeschool, it is important that you take care of yourself as well!

    At any rate, whatever you decide, you can make it work!

    Best wishes,

    Rebecca Reid, Line upon Line Learning

  • The alone time thing is my biggest fear, mostly because I already have trouble getting it. I already have a toddler and a baby home all day. I really like yours and Angela’ s suggestion of a quiet time in the afternoon! That would be a life saver.

  • McMom

    Great pro/con lists! The good news is, nothing is permanant, and you can always do a “practice run” of homeschooling one summer (this one may be too tough with the move). I’m anxious to hear what you guys decide! I will be praying for wisdom for y’all.

  • I give you credit for considering home schooling. We just had a scare last week there was a shooting near the school and the school was on ‘lock down’. Not fun at all. If there was ever a time I thought of homeschooling, it was then.

    That being said, when do you think you would arrive in CA? I wonder how much you can really get a ‘feel’ for a school without seeing it.

  • What a big move!

    Right now our oldest is in kindergarten. There are 25 kids in her class and one teacher. It is NOT what I expected from kindergarten at all. She has almost an hour of homework each night, and since we’ve had so many delays/days off, now if they have a delay schedule they are skipping their one and only recess. In kindergarten!

    I have homeschooled both of mine for preschool, and loved it. Currently I am debating the school thing myself. I looked at private school, but we simply can’t afford it for both of them.

    Good luck in your move and whatever decision you make!

  • “He giveth more grace when the burden is greater…..”
    You know that song??? I sing it to myself…a lot!!! He really does give grace when we need it. Have you prayed for wisdom in this decision?? God does have a plan and He will help you!!! I am probably the least likely mom to homeschool, but we do it because it is what is best for our kids!! They would suffocate in a school classroom everyday!! Nevermind the curriculum that we do not agree with!!!
    I do have days when I absolutely need time for myself. On those days we have a quiet time. You could do this while the babies are napping and have silence. It will take some training on your part (and clocks with digital numbers so your big boys will know when they can emerge from their room)!!! On a brighter note…the bigger boys can help with the babies and learn some significant life skill at the same time!! =) They can help with laundry and cleaning too!!!!! =) =) One more thought…..your boys are going to learn all of their coping/social skills from you. They do not learn to be social going to school. They learn to fit in, not speak out, and sit still for an unnaturally long time!! The things you teach them from home will help them in all areas of their life, not just in their grades!!!! Love ya!!! Best of luck and blessings on your new adventure!!!!!

  • I love your list of pros and cons. We are veteran homeschoolers. That means we are still laughing and smiling after homeschooling our boys for 15 years. Our oldest is on college, our youngest is in 3rd grade. I have homeschooled independently and through co-ops, and currently through a charter (that gives me full power to choose what and how I teach). It’s an adventure! I love homeschooling so much, but it is a year by year, child by child journey. You can trust the Lord will guide you!

  • Pingback: First Year Of Homeschool in Review: and 4 Things I Will CHANGE for Next Year | Stories of Our Boys

  • Thank you for outlining these education pros and cons, it’s really helpful for me as I make the decision on how to school my child! My son will be starting kindergarten next year and I’ve debated between a private Christian school and public school. It sounds like Christian schools have many strengths, but I was wondering if you’ve done any research on the required qualifications of teachers at Christian schools versus public? http://bethanylcs.org/school

    • Thanks! It is such a big decision. I re-evaluate our decision (and some years change it) every single year. In my teaching and parenting experience, I have not found that the teacher qualifications made as much difference as the teacher themselves. I’d rather have a teacher that was extremely dedicated and loved the children than one that had tons of degrees and no experience or love for the kids. You know? Of course, either way, you never know what teacher you will get, so school reputation counts for a lot as your guide. Good luck on your decisions.

  • Great work of explaining the pros and cons of public school and homeschooling. Each is having its own ways to educate the children. Awesome blog..
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  • Always interesting to reflect on a perspective before and after, which you have done with this revised post April.

    Our kids have only been exposed to the public school system. My wife did consider it when the kids were young, but did think it would be too much for her.

    I sincerely hope and pray your health improves April. It would have been difficult to continue teaching when you were unwell.

    Your boys are in God’s hands, whatever place of learning they are at!

    God bless! 🙂


    • Amen Carl! All we have to do is listen to our Heavenly Father who provides all our needs. Why is that so easy to forget? Oh yeah, probably because most of us don’t spend enough time with him. But when first things are put first, everything else truly does fall into place. I always enjoy your encouraging comments! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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