Saturday, March 21, 2015

Public School vs. Home School

I'm probably going to raise hackles by bringing this up, because everyone has their own idea of what is a good or bad way for a child to be taught.  I've based a lot of it off being a Christian, which annoys me because I feel like it's more Christian Homeschoolers vs. Christian Public Schoolers.

I've called each part a 'freedom' as in, how much freedom do/did I have for each issue, if that makes sense.

Please remember that I am not setting out to offend anybody, these are just my thoughts on the subject.

Educational Freedom
For me, the education I received was varied. I did math, science and english because you need them. But I also did many other subjects, and I had the freedom to pick them. This meant that I was learning things that I (mostly) enjoyed. It also helped me learn what I enjoyed, and what I was enthusiastic about.

Public School: 
I do not have the educational freedom I used to have. However, I am learning what I will need to get into university, and this keeps me focused. I am also very lucky in that most of my teachers are happy to answers my off topic questions once class is over. So while I now take a fixed 6 subjects, they are subjects I enjoy. To me, that is freedom.

Every child learns differently, and for me, having the focus I get at Public School makes sure I don't get distracted. However, if I was a slower learner, it would be hard. The educational freedom you get from Homeschool or Public School depends completely on you. 

Emotional Freedom 
Homeschool was a good place for my developing mind. I was quite protected from pulic-school-things (apart from what went on in all the American books I read). I was innocent, and was quite happy that way. I never felt uncomfortable in a situation, I could just be. This allowed me to get on with my learning. While I was at home, there was no pressure, so I stopped wanting to leave. And that is deeply embedded in me to this day.

Public School: 
What if you get bullied? What if (dun, dun, dun) you feel uncomfortable? At school, I constantly feel pressure. Pressure to keep it together, to wear something fashionable (which I ignore to the most part), pressure to be like everyone else. Your emotions are constantly messed with, but it forces you to have a thick skin, and become comfortable with yourself.

Homeschooling gives you so much emotional freedom, that it can become dangerous rather than productive. However, Public School can force you into a mould, and the pressure to conform can be overwhelming. 

Religious Freedom 
As weird as this may sound, Homeschool did not offer me religious freedom. I am a black and white person. For me, my choice was Christian (it's complicated) or Nothing. However, in homeschool, pretty much everyone my age called themselves Christian. I felt like I was under pressure to do the same, just call myself a Christian because everyone else apparently was.

Public School: 
No one cares what I believe. They ask questions, but there is no pressure to change my mind. Most people are very respectful, and they often apologise for their behaviour (which I find weird tbh). The questions I am asked have forced me to become a better Christian, so for me, the religious freedom in Public School is huge. I have also had the change to meet others from different religions.

When you are unsure about what you believe, or you are still developing your own ideas about religion, homeschool is a good place to be. It allows you to take your time in a safe environment. Once you are strong, Public School will test you, make you stronger, and you can learn about other religions (although, this should really happen when you are making your mind up). 

Social Freedom 
It's probably the biggest myth of Homeschool: no one has a social life. It's not true. You have plenty of contact with others your age. However, what you do not get, is variety in opinions. There is hardly any push back. Often, I find Homeschoolers are lazy thinkers when it comes to religion and world issues, they just say what their parents think. No one dares accidentally injure another's 'feelings'.

Public School: 
I am in touch with people everyday. It drains me to the core, and often by Lunch I am ready to go home. But this constant contact with my peers forces me to be thinking, to be changing and making my mind up on issues. I receive criticism I have to take on the chin. Best of all, I get to see the way others minds work, I get to work out how they think, and this helps me understand them. It's a challenge I enjoy.

There is a fine balance between having your own ideas and talking about them and hurting another person. Homeschool allows you to slowly develop ideas as you get older, but school knocks the edges off quickly. This isn't always healthy, but in general, in means you have to learn to stand on your own feet. 

In Christian circles, where many children are homeschooled, Public School is looked at with horror. I cannot understand this: isn't a Public High School a place where you can witness everyday? Go out and be the light in this world for you beliefs! It is important to realise that, yes, Public School might rip up everything you believe. But if you are strong enough, if you know what you believe and why, it can't.

Personally, I don't think attending Public School is any more wrong than having a glass of wine or buying non-Christian music. God puts people in places for a reason, and right now for me, that is Public School. I mix daily with people who swear and make rude jokes, but the respect they show for my beliefs comes from me understanding what I think, and being open about it.

It's a wonderful environment.

Where are you right now? Thoughts? Is Public School a bad place for Christians? Have you been Homeschooled all your life? What does that mean for you, if you look at the way you have developed? I am wrong about anything? Correct me, please! 
Opal has probably put her foot in it this time. It's a good thing she has a sturdy pair of gumboots.  Just kidding! Mostly. 


  1. See, see, see. This is one of the issues that almost makes me mad. I fully appreciate that you have gotten some really, really good stuff out of being homeschooled, and I'm glad. My best friend was homeschooled until her sophomore year of high school and I think she is great. So it's not really the homeschooling itself that bothers me.

    What bothers me is the homeschooling attitude/culture, which you referenced a little bit in your conclusion. I think my least favorite part is seeing it on blogs—like, if you really want to be a Christian then you HAVE to be a homeschooler and you HAVE to show it in your blogging bio.

    And I, a life-long public-schooler (who would hate being homeschooled, looking back on it), get stuck on the question of, "Who the **** cares whether you were homeschooled or not, *grumble grumble grumble*"

    I mean, in a lot of ways it FEELS like you can use the homeschooling data as a measure naivety, emotional immaturity, blind faith, and socially stunted individuals which is totally not true, and I know it. There are some great people who have been homeschooled and people who get a great education in that way.

    It's just that when you do run into the naive, emotionally immature, blind faith, socially stunted individuals I feel like they act as though that were the best way to be. As though accepting whatever your parents teach you as truth is the only truth there could possibly be. As though you will be a "bad Christian" if you fail to denounce the sinful nature of popular books and openly flaunt the fact that you are being OH SO MODEST and LOOK AT HOW MY SHOULDERS AND BOOBS ARE COVERED and WOW I AM A BETTER CHRISTIAN THAN YOU.

    But that is just my American experience with various American homeschoolers (not my best friends' family) and still, only a limited opinion.

    For myself, I have to say that I love being public schooled. I feel like homeschooling does not have the reputation of being rigorous (which is fine, for people who like doing stuff at a more natural pace) and I really being in a rigorous and occasionally stressful environment that challenges me to get my work done. I like being in an environment with people of different beliefs and ideas, I like the high school jokes and stupid pranks and watching the boys where stupid outfits and the crazy behavior that gives us a bad reputation.

    Maybe I don't have a good reason why, but I do know that God loves me regardless, it does give me a place to be a Christian outside of my house, it has improved my social skills and my initiative, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

    And homeschoolers are great too, just so long as they do not get all up in your business about not being a homeschooler. *nods*

    *rant over*

    1. Seriously though that comment took me about 21 minutes to write I am sorry ha but maybe not really but really more sorry and not. Ahem. I need to get dressed for school; bye.

    2. This comment is awesome. *hi five*

    3. Also I wrote that comment at like 6:30 in the morning and so I apologize for all the typos.

      Thanks, Mae!

    4. Yes, the homeschool culture needs a huge change. While I did generalise a bit, I did it for a reason- because there are very few exceptions. I don't think that being homeschooled makes you any better than a public schooler, and it will never make you more Christian.

      There is defiantly the element of being a 'better Christian' in there. It's as if dumbing yourself down or staying blind to other peoples ideas is better (or maybe, just safer?). People like this frustrate me, because I feel like the only reason they do what they do is because they are scared that if they don't, they won't be able to keep believing in Christianity. In other words, they know deep down that they are weaker in faith than they make out to be, and don't want to be tempted.

      For me, entering Public High School a bit later was good. Going back to Homeschool now would not. It had it's place in my life, but it's over. I love the environment as well- my high school also has a reputation (drugs and sluts), but it means I am forming a real idea of the world.

      God loves you no matter what you do, and He puts people in different places at different times. Homeschoolers are not more holy than Public Schoolers. We are all sinners and I think that both sides, Homeschoolers especially, need to remember this.

  2. Hi. I am said homeschooler, friend of Heather's.

    I have to say - I... agree with her.

    See, I can't say that's how it was with me (as she said) because my mom, the one who taught us, always encouraged us to argue things and listen to different opinions and sure we were raised Christian but there wasn't any doom threats to keep us on that path. And as for modesty and stuff, I didn't have much to compare to, so I don't think I thought about that a whole lot. (Note: I did indeed think of public school as a scary and horrible place, but that was because I read a /lot/, and it turns out the fictional representation of public school and the real thing are pretty different.)

    However. As far as I could see, we were not the typical homeschoolers.

    I remember going to homeschool groups (especially the Catholic ones - and I say this as a proud Catholic)... and sometimes being a bit annoyed. They did indeed tend to think that they were the best and all their opinions were the correct ones. And there were things like many of them had a zillion kids and I know birth control is against Catholic teachings and all but yeah.

    The thing is, I feel like homeschoolers tend (TEND) to be either very conservative or very liberal, and they act as if anything outside that sphere of the extreme is dark and evil and should be avoided at all costs. Or something.

    Hopefully that makes sense.

    1. I find that most homeschoolers are like that too, but I like to keep an open mind about everything!
      Mae :)

    2. Thanks, Elizabeth. XD What she says is right (as far as I can tell), and also I'm going to say that she did a great job in public school and as far as I know has never had her head flushed down the toilet. So there you go. :)

      Although, maybe Mae is right and we should be more willing to listen to their ideas, too. ^.^

    3. Hi, said Homeschooled friend of Heather's!

      When I was homeschooled, I was also encouraged in these things. This was what quite often left me out of my Homeschooled peers. My family were not typical Homeschoolers (or, what the majority of the community was like). Public School is different from what the books say, isn't it? Although, not always :)

      I think that the reason Homeschoolers tend to be quite extreme is because they have left the Public School to practise their extreme in their homes with their kids. I agree, I think that Homeschoolers often think that it is dangerous outside of their sphere, but they are like that partly because they are scared of the big wide world.

      It makes sense :)

  3. I'm a homeschooler. The reason why is that I live on a farm... I find that homeschooling is the most flexible schooling for my work schedule. I challenge myself against public school test grades and try to keep above those, so that is my drive to work hard. Plus my dad is my principle which is a little scary. XD I used to go to public school, and I found that the day moved too slowly. You had to sit around all day waiting for all the other kids to finish, and THAT was a huge waste of time. There were so many more things I could have done with that time, instead of sitting and staring at my desk. Ever sine I have started homeschooling, I have learned guitar, performed in theatre, baked, I've been to new places, and had more time with family, friends, and my animals. Now for the downfall. Yes... I am going to say it, I am not religious. That is one thing I find VERY hard in the homeschool life, is that ALL of my homeschooling friends, are pretty religious, and some seem to look down on me. One lady left our group just because I was in it. Not all homeschoolers are like that though. But it seems like the "cliche" homeschoolers, are the ones that speak the loudest so it seems like that is how people think of homeschoolers. Other than that, my life as a homeschooler is pretty enjoyable, and I am very lucky to be brought up like this. I suppose some things work better for some than others.
    Mae :)

    1. See, and that is where homeschooling is good. A farm is a good example, because I know that way back in the day a lot of kids who DID live on farms didn't make it to school until winter because they had to keep working. And, I mean, I don't know the mechanics of a farm, and it would be presumptuous to assume that you wouldn't get to go to school if you weren't homeschooled or something, but I can definitely see how being homeschooled would be an advantage there.

      Also, yes. I think Musings from Neville's Navel (can't remember her name and can't go on Wordpress; at school) isn't religious and she is homeschooled either. It's kind of like, being homeschooled can be great, but it's really easy for homeschoolers to give other homeschoolers a bad (or the wrong) name.

    2. Ah, yay, someone who is not religious! I was worried I might scare you all away xD

      Living in the country was also part of the reason I was homeschooled (I was just diagnosed with Type One Diabetes, and mother was worried about the travel time, in which I could not contact her). I really valued the time I had to do things when I was homeschooled as well. Opposite to you though, I only started to learn the Guitar once I started back at school.

      I agree. There can be a lot of sitting in Public School around. However, now that I am in the senior years, I find that there isn't anymore- there is to much to be done and I am never sitting around waiting (apart from in form time).

      Sadly, there is a reason a cliche comes about, and that is because at some point, it was really quite like said cliche. Often Homeschoolers who preach Christianity do not follow what they say, especially when it comes to non-believes who Homeschool. However, there are always exceptions!

      Everyone is different, and we all go through stages of life when we need different things as well :)

  4. I really appreciated this post (and the comments). I attended private Christian schools for most of my life, with the exception of a public middle school, but I can't really say much about homeschooling other than that my brother was homeschooled for a few years when he was little, and one of my best friends was homeschooled except for a few years in elementary school (where we met).

    From my experience and observations, it really depends on the person as to what is the best option for them. For example, I thrived in the private Christian schools but couldn't get out of public school fast enough. Part of that may be attributed to it having been middle school, which isn't fun for anybody, and part of it could have been my introverted nature. I most likely would have done just fine as a homeschooler (except I would have been a complete and total hermit), as well, but I guess I'll never know.

    My brother, however, is a huge extrovert and despised homeschooling. He would have much rather been in public school with the rich variety of people, though my parents put him through private school like me (which was probably better for him in the long run, as he attracts trouble). And my friend much preferred homeschooling, though I think she would have enjoyed private school because she, too, is extroverted. Personally, I think private school allows a happy medium (depending on the school), but, of course, I'm biased. :)

    And before I finish this essay of a comment, I'd like to agree with all of the generalizations made here about Christian homeschoolers. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, as noted, and probably more than we realize. But my experience with homeschoolers has been similar to that of Opal's and Heather's.

    1. The problem with Private Schools in New Zealand (from what I can tell) is a) they are very expensive and b) they are probably Catholic. I have nothing against Catholics, however, I could not practise what they do.

      It's interesting to hear about the different view points you have seen. I think that Private School is a good in between, but in between certain types of Public School and Homeschoolers. They cannot cater to a huge variety of people, if that makes sense?

      There are always exceptions, but unfortunately, Homeschoolers do often come across in a negative way.

  5. See, this is hard for me...because I don't have anything against the idea of public school, but I very much disagree with the way it's managed and the kinds of things that are taught/encouraged, and I could really go into that a lot but I'm not good at explaining. xD BUT I have lots of public school friends and they're all lovely people, so I don't have anything against that.
    I've always been homeschooled, and I have to say I've never once regretted it, or wanted to go to public school at all. And I say that an a HUGE extrovert, who gets to meet and hang out with lots of different people during the week. :) I'm pretty conservative as they go but I love the way our family does it; we've always been encouraged to read diversely, educate ourselves, discuss things, and come up with our own opinions, and I think I've done a lot of that. I know that classroom-like structures crush me, and I have a hard time in enviroments with strict schedules and everything, and I very much like having the freedom to learn according to my own style. I've met some of the homeschoolers you talk about, but not very many - I've had very good experiences with the homeschoolers around me. I think it all depends on the person, and the perspective. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, of course,but neither is public school. *shrugs*

  6. Some Public Schools are much better than others. Some systems work better than others. I very much disagree with the way the two single sex schools in the city I live near by are run, but I think that my co ed school does a pretty good job. Often it has to do with the teachers, and what the school aims to achieve with its students.

    It's awesome that your parents encourage you to think on your own, and read widely. I know some families who would be very upset if (for example) a book on evolution entered the house. The best Homeschool families I've meet have been a lot like what your sounds like.

    The tricky thing about school is that it really depend on a lot of things, so it's hard to pin down what is best in general :)

    1. Ugh, single sex schools. Don't get me started. D:

    2. I've never been to one, but from what I see.... Same. I'm sure it suits some people but for me *shudders*