Pros and Cons: Homeschool vs Private K-12 Education
How to give your child a solid, Christian education is a choice that many parents face. Most of that choice falls between homeschooling or private school. While both have benefits and setbacks, choosing a private k-12 education has some added benefits that can be very appealing for families with strong beliefs about how their child should learn.
Around 1.7 million students are homeschooled in the United States. Homeschooling be very appealing because parents are able to monitor all of the information that their children are being exposed to, as well as giving them the added benefit of having individualized attention. Parents who homeschool are able to completely customize the curriculum and integrating faith and learning can seem easier when there are not multiple teachers working together to come up with an integration plan.
The drawbacks can outweigh the costs, though. Teachers in the private k-12 education sector have been trained in the field, whereas most parents are not. While it may seem that this drawback would be mitigated by the fact that the parent knows their child best, it can lead to less resilience in the long run. Children who are planning to go to college are going to experience multiple teaching styles, something that they would experience during a private k-12 education. If children aren’t given those experiences, there is a chance that they may have trouble adapting to a university setting.
Homeschooling is also very time-consuming. Parents who do not have the option to have only one working spouse would be hard-pressed to work homeschooling into their schedule. This can be exacerbated by the fact that parents are responsible for all education-related costs, including computers, text books, and learning aids.
Of course, the most obvious setback with a private school is the cost. Private school can cost upwards of $40,000 a year, comparable to an Ivy League education. Schools can also have parental involvement stipulations that some parents may find difficult to work into their schedules. Of course, parents will also not be able to monitor every interaction and learning opportunity that a student has while at school
The benefits of a private k-12 education can outweigh the costs. If you do your research, you can find a private school that supports the biblical values that your family does. Conversations with fellow parents and administration can give you an idea of how well faith and learning are being integrated in the classroom.
Great private schools also offer accredited and recognized programs and learning opportunities that students would miss out on in a homeschool environment. Universities think highly of students who participate in AP and IB courses, which would not be possible unless they are enrolled in a private school.
Of course, students would also have the opportunity to make friends, gain mentors, and forge connections with others who share their values. It is often said that networking is one of the most important steps in becoming successful in their post-secondary educational life, and private schools offer those opportunities in abundance.
Obviously, parents should choose whichever option is best for their family. Both educational settings can provide a firm foundation and facilitate growth as a Christian and a learner.