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


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds
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. We will actually be using a Christian 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.   That was a class of 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

Pros:

  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. They must learn how to function in a highly ordered environment.
  5. Children 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.

Cons:

  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 school):

Pros:

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!!

Cons:

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!

 

HOMESCHOOL

Pros:

  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.

    Cons:

  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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Trying to be Positive!

    Stay at home week continues, and you will be happy to know–especially you, Mom– that I am feeling a bit more peaceful at the moment.  Of course, that could be because we have now successfully put all four of them to bed….
   I must have overdone my groaning on the last post because my mom called me and asked if I’m okay, or do I need her to come up here right away.  Ha.
   Well, Mom, I certainly wouldn’t turn you away.  ; )  However, I am definitely okay.  I pray all day long over things like John David fighting his nap, Daniel attaching himself to my leg relentlessly, and tackling supper time on my own.  Alan’s new job runs a little late, and many of you know how picky my children are.  Tonight I just gave in and let them pick their own (healthy) supper.
   Oh!  I’m also back on iron pills……again.  I keep mistakenly thinking I am better and can come off of it.  I have finally accepted that I am remaining anemic as long as I’m breastfeeding this time!  As usual, the iron is helping a ton.  Why must I keep re-learning this same lesson?
10 Positive Thoughts!
  Have no fear, though!  I am going to focus on the positive tonight.  Here are my top 10 positive things that are going on right now…..aside from the obvious: good health, nice house, plenty of food….which is all we need anyhow.
10.  Caleb got to go to the allergist this week and get tested for allergies.  I’m hoping this will help us to keep him well this fall and winter!
   
   In case you haven’t had those tests, I will briefly explain.  They take a row of pegs, fill it with a common allergen, and then prick you in the back with them.  They told him it wouldn’t hurt….but clearly it did.  Thankfully, this was Mr. Tough Guy Caleb.  I can’t imagine trying to do that with any of my other children.  We just did the initial 15-prick test, with one added on for fire ants.  Caleb laid there as instructed, howled when it hurt, but then he obediently let them finish without any fanfare.  
   That was one of those moments when I was so thankful for my super tough little boy.  This is the little guy that also had to endure an EEG and an MRI at the ripe old age of 4.
   
  Allergy results:  Caleb is allergic to dust mites, and that’s it.  Not too bad.  We never had any plans to get him shots; we just wanted the free Zyrtec.  That’s right, with our insurance, over the counter meds are free if they are prescribed by a doctor.  We are so blessed to not have been Obama-care-ized yet!! 
  My parents have not been so fortunate.  Mom’s premiums DOUBLED.  That makes me highly annoyed, so let’s move on…
  9.  Today I really did stay at home all day, aside from shuttling Dan back and forth to school.  I don’t know if I can keep this preschool + elementary school pace up.  I feel like all I do is feed the baby and load him up in the car to pick up brothers, all day long.  One school I could handle, but two is really cutting into my work hours, as well as JD’s sleep/play hours.  
   It really saddens me to think I may have to cut Dan’s preschool because he has loved it so much, but it just doesn’t really make sense with our schedule.  He’s 2 1/2, so it’s not like he has to be in school anyway.  You know?
  
  Positive thing about that:  keeping Dan home will save me a significant amount of cash, which we could certainly use!
8.  Kids are cute!  Here’s a little Caleb story for ya.  Names have been changed to save my children from embarrassment.
Me:  So who is the funniest kid in your class?  (I have to think up creative questions to get the kids to tell me about their days at school).
All boys:  “Me.”  
Caleb:  Well, really, me and Drake….and *Gladys.
Me:  Caleb, I’ve heard you talk about *Gladys a lot lately. Is she a really good friend of yours?
Caleb:  Yep!
Me:  What do you like so much about her?  Is she that funny?
Caleb:  No.
Me:  Is she just a lot of fun?
Caleb:  No.
Me:  Oh, ok.  Is she just really pretty?
Caleb:  *big, wide, shameless grin*  Yes!!
Me:  Ah.
7.  Joshua is suddenly Mr. Academic this year.  Elementary school baffles me a bit in our modern age.  They don’t have letter grades!  No As/Bs/Cs/Ds!  They’ve replaced them with 4s/3s/2s/1s, and on their graded papers they don’t even bother with that half the time.  However, they still have a code.  Smiley faces are like 4s, which are like As.  Stars are like 3s, which are like Bs.  Check marks are like 2s, which are like Cs.  I think the Ds or 1s must be when they send the paper home with a note that says, “Please correct and return.”
     All that to say, Joshua has been receiving lots of smileys, and of course we are as proud as proud can be.  He got a 100 on his spelling test last week.  Oh, my bad, those don’t exist anymore.  He got a smiley face.  
6.  Alan is off work tomorrow.  Oh, the dreams I have for tomorrow.  This is a very big deal.
5.  the feeling of rocking a sleeping baby…..ahhhhh
4.  I mentioned recently that I needed new book ideas for Joshua.  Thank you all so much for the ideas. We just finished the first Magic Treehouse book.  Caleb ended up being the one that loved it.  He isn’t on that level though, so Joshua and I took turns reading it to Caleb.  Joshua is all about Lego Star Wars, Lego Chima, and Henry and Mudge.   Grands, don’t buy him a Henry and Mudge book though.  I think his teacher has about all of them, and he says he’s read 13 of them, so we’d never be able to figure out which ones he hasn’t read. 
3.  The weather turned fall-ish!  It’s rainy, yes, but isn’t it wonderful to be outside and not be sweating!!?
2.  I have now lost 30 pounds since the baby came.  Roll Tide!  10 more pounds to pre-JD weight…okay really 12 or 13.  It sure would be nice to be able to wear my regular jeans again!
1.  Did I mention Alan is off work tomorrow!?  It bears repeating!  I am so planning on escaping this house for a few hours!  Oh, that doesn’t sound very “stay at home week-ish” does it?  Oh well, anyone that has spent all day with “littles” can surely understand my strong need for a baby-jail break.  ; )
  Are there any good movies playing?
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
1 Peter 4:8-10
  

Little Boys

 Daniel LOVES airplanes.

 ….and Daniel LOVES Daddy.  I really enjoy how much Daniel loves Alan.

**Quick Pregnancy Update**

  I went to see the midwife today.  I hadn’t gained any weight since last week, but I had gained a LOT of weight about 3 days before my last week’s appt, so all total I am now 36 pounds up.  Maybe that’s a little above average, but for me it is like a world record.  I’ve usually gained 46-50 by now.
   My vitals were mostly good, except for a high heart rate (128).  J.D.’s heart rate was perfect:  150s.
   My belly measured right on schedule:  36 cm for 36 weeks.  She said, “Wow, I can feel exactly where his legs are.  There’s his head (he’s been head down for a while), in perfect position, and he has a LOT of water to swim around in!  I can jiggle him around in there.”
   So, see, this belly isn’t all April or all baby.
  Wouldn’t it be something to deliver my very first normal sized baby!?  I don’t think I’ve ever measured 36cm at 36 weeks, and that’s a fact.
******
Now about those little boys:
  Joshua’s class was assigned a “timeline” of their life for homework.
   I saw this as a family project.  I started crunching ideas in my head for what to write and pulling out photo albums for ideas….but not so fast.  I forgot that when it comes to “projects” that require drawing and writing, I was dealing with someone more gifted than I……and that would be Joshua.
   I would have shrank back in fear from any drawing assignment as a child, but this is Joshua’s favorite thing to do, so he cranked this out with great enthusiasm and seriously little help from me.  I did convince him to look at a couple of photo albums, and I did give him the “huge baby” line for that first block.  Oh!  I also got to correct a spelling error or two.
  I thought he did a really good job, but the pictures are blurry, thanks to our old, low quality camera….

“When I was born I was huge.          When I was one, I started walking.     When I was two I wrestled my brother.”

Ok.  I promise on his timeline they were actually in order….  “When I am 7 I would like to play baseball.    When I am 8 I would like to play tenis”…..oops I just realized that he misspelled tennis, and I didn’t catch it!

“When I was six I was friends with Xavier.”  (He meant to write, “I made friends with Xavier, which I thought was sweet.)     On the baseball picture, that’s Joshua, on the left, swinging over and over again and missing  (bless him), and on the right, that’s the coach with the pitching machine, which is a very accurate picture of what that thing looks like.

“When I was three I went to Disney World.  When I was four I went to preschool.  When I was five, Daniel was born.”

Caleb drew this Angry Bird with musical notes.  He said it was a song that he wrote, which he also sang for us.  Too cute.

Caleb enjoyed the attention he got from his Angry Bird song so much that he proceeded to write even more musical notes (in yellow).

 

……It’s really hard to keep Daniel out of potato chips.  I had a Pringles coupon this week, and Daniel is so happy.

raising little boys
   I get a little kick out of telling people this is my fourth boy.  People just don’t expect it.  I’m rarely out and about with all of my children, so people usually think I just have Daniel.  (He is very much my faithful sidekick).  I’m still a fairly young looking mother (or at least I like to think so  ; )  ), so it really takes people by surprise when they say, “Is this your first?” and I say, “Oh no, it’s my fourth, my fourth boy, actually.”
    I get asked frequently if I plan to keep trying for that girl.
    No, I really don’t.  Even if I did dare to do this pregnancy ordeal again, I wouldn’t hope for a girl anymore.  I like my little boys.  This is what I do, and I like it.
     I will say that I think boys have more drama than you would think.  It’s probably a different sort of drama, but it does still exist.  They still have struggles with their friends.  They also feel left out in social situations sometimes, just the same as girls do.   In addition, they have these athletic pressures to deal with that I never experienced.
    Their world is a little different, but not so different that I cannot relate.
   Sometimes I like to pause and put myself back in their place:  kindergarten and 1st grade.  That helps me to realize where they are coming from.
    Caleb is finishing kindergarten.  He reminds me a whole, whole lot of myself at that age.  We moved to a new house from our apartment that year.  I was a bit of a bossy, ring leader type in my kindergarten class.  I guess that actually made me a bit more like Joshua…  I just remember making my friend Emily cry on the playground because I told her she couldn’t play with us.
   Then I remember getting spanked in the bathroom for not letting a girl out of her stall, which I thought was just a funny prank.  Miss Meredith was not amused.  Come to think of it, that girl cried too!
   We weren’t grudge holders either, though.  Both of those girls were at my birthday party when I turned six, and Emily and I joined– and won– a coloring contest together at a summer library reading program.
    Caleb is not a “boys only” kind of kid, and I was never “girls only” either.  (It’s a good thing too, what with all these boys I keep having!)
    I told Caleb to pick a few kids, of his choosing, to invite to his party.  It was important to him to invite kindergarteners from his class, so that’s mostly who he invited, but it’s very much a random mix of boys and girls.  I even managed to refrain myself from adding a bunch of my friends’ kids.  I let Caleb totally pick the guest list.  This is hard for me b/c I don’t like making people feel left out…..I’ve changed a little since kindergarten!!  Ha!
   Joshua’s world is pretty much happy, as long as he gets to go to the park and play with his friends.  I think he’s pretty excited about baseball season ending.  It has not been easy for him.
Joshua is DEFINITELY a “boys only” kind of boy–with a couple of exceptions.  I heard Caleb tell Joshua the other day, “We can have Xavier and Zoe over, but DON’T go off and play with Zoe.  You need to stay in the basement and play video games with me and Xavier.”  (This was before we took the Wii away.)
  I think cliques had begun to form by 1st grade.  I wonder if that is something that’s different with boys.  Do boys have cliques!?  I have no idea!  Right now Joshua has lots of friends, and most of them do at least know each other.  They are all involved in so many of the same activities.
   I’m starting to get this desire to homeschool again, but I don’t think it’s quite necessary yet.  This is a great school and all, and really the only thing keeping me from making the plunge is that the boys are so happy at school.  Educationally, though, they definitely learn faster with one-on-one attention.  Sometimes I’m having to teach them things they have learned at school during homework time.  That’s when I think, “What’s the point of sending them to school, if I still end up teaching this to them at the end of the day?”
    But one reason I think of homeschooling is just that I miss being a bigger part of their lives.  I miss them!  Then I wonder if that’s just selfish?  After all, part of growing up is becoming more and more independent.
    Caleb being recommended for summer school is what got me started on thinking about homeschooling again.
   …..but John David may have a thing or two to say about that as well….so for now we will plan to keep attending our nice little neighborhood school, where they have some of the highest test scores in the country, a superb staff and environment…..probably the best public elementary school you could find.

   And yet is there ever an end to parental decisions?

Major Decision Just Made:  I hired someone to clean my house.  She’s coming every Thursday in June, then every other week after that.  We will now be much poorer but SO much cleaner…..  ; )

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