As parents, you understand the value of your child’s education.
You also know how important it is to select the right type of education for your child.
For most people, talking about homeschooling versus public school is like talking to a brick wall – it doesn’t matter how persuasive the argument is or how strong the points are; it’s still unlikely you are going to change pre-existing opinions.
However, homeschooling is on the rise and is becoming more and more popular for parents everywhere. Homeschooling has risen 40% in the UK over the last 4 years.
The main thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to education – whether you are a fan of traditional schooling, or you prefer to invest in home education resources, you should weigh up all of the options to see which is best suited to your child.
You may be considering this option for your child so here’s a quick breakdown of how it stacks up against public schooling.
What is Homeschooling?
Simply put, homeschooling is schooling your child at home. It is also known as home education and is legal in several parts of the world, including the UK and the US.
There are many reasons people choose homeschooling but some common things that drive this decision include:
- Dissatisfaction over the curriculum or method of teaching
- A desire to instil a specific worldview
- Providing flexibility for a child to pursue his/her passion
- Religious concerns
- School safety concerns
- A one to one approach
- Spend quality time with your children
- Regularly moving with work
- Children with learning difficulties
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost in the UK?
The Department for Education has made it clear that choosing to teach your children at home means taking on the full financial responsibility for their education.
As a parent, when deciding whether it’s a good match for you, you need to take into consideration the kind of budget and time you will need to put aside monthly for your child’s education.
There is no hard and fast rule around how expensive homeschooling will be but it’s still important to plan how much it will cost you to educate from home.
Thanks to the internet, the cost of homeschooling has drastically reduced with access to various educational apps, youtube, and online learning support. For example, apps such as KidSmart promote self learning for kids but have access to on-demand tutors within the app should your child get stuck.
Many two-parent families have a simple setup where one of the parent’s works and the other is a stay at home parent who focuses on the education of the child.
Some parents share responsibility but every person has a system that works for them.
Many people who go down the homeschooling route have flexible schedules when it comes to work with many people working from home, running their own business or working online.
Planning to homeschool your child? Here are some basic things that you might need:
- A computer with educational software
- Higher home energy bills
- Access to tutors in areas you are not comfortable in teaching.
- Travel and entrance costs for educational visits to parks, museums, zoos, etc.
- Stationery, workbooks, textbooks, craft materials
- Curriculum course fees and tuition fees for specific subjects where necessary
- Exam fees. If you decide to enter your child for certain promotional exams like the GCSE, IGCSE, and A/As, you’ll need to pay for each subject (about £140, each) and the exam centre (£40).
- Educational apps and e-learning resources for kids
While there are no government-backed statistics on the standard costs in the UK, seasoned homeschoolers will tell you that your expenses will depend on the standards you set for your homeschool.
Homeschooling Pros and Cons
Homeschooling may be regarded by some as an innovative or a ‘hippy’ form of education, but in truth, it is one of the world’s oldest forms of education.
Homeschooling is a little bit like marmite, it’s not for everyone, it either works for you or it doesn’t. Just like any educational system it has advantages and disadvantages.
Here are some of the main benefits of homeschooling:
The Pros of Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling
1. Personalised Teaching and Learning
Homeschooling allows parents to have more say in how they teach the syllabus. With no standard homeschooling in the UK curriculum, you can simply tailor the curriculum and teaching methods to suit the learning needs of your child.
In the public school system, there’s a structured program for all students to follow without much thought to their unique learning needs.
In the UK, parents rely on parent’s evenings and end of year reports and exams to assess how their child is performing.
A teacher has to focus on a class of about 15 to 35 students, which means they cannot always give students the individual attention that they require.
Just like in the real world, the louder voices dominate and if your child is introverted there’s a high chance they may get lost in the crowd.
It’s easy for a child to be lost in the classroom and not have individual attention on areas that need improvement.
Your child’s weak points are not being focused on and it’s harder to measure their progress.
2. Flexible Schedules
Opting to homeschool your child means not having to deal with hectic morning routines, crazy rush hour traffic – waking up to alarms and racing through showers, dressing up, and breakfasts just to get your child to school in time.
Instead, you and your child’s mornings will be more relaxed, and you can alter schedules as needed.
3. Effective Learning
One of the greatest criticisms of public schooling is that students learn for assessments and do not actually gain deep subject knowledge.
Everything revolves around grades. Grades promote them to the next class and do not always reflect your child’s ability. If gaps in your child’s knowledge were spotted earlier they could have been identified and fixed.
With one and one teaching, your child can actually focus on learning for the sake of knowledge and implementation.
By giving your child individual attention, you can pull them up on areas where they need work, reward them when they do well and measure their development in a streamlined effective way.
4. Advancements in Technology
Technology has changed the world – nowadays everything is a click away and we can access almost anything on-demand; food, clothes, books. You name it, it’s now possible.
Thanks to these advancements in technology, homeschooling has drastically changed over the years. Now we have a range of educational apps for kids and it’s never been easier to teach children from home.
Apps like KidSmart have been created to put the fun back into education. Through gamification, you can teach your child in ways that our predecessors could never have even imagined. It is imperative to make learning a fun activity for kids as they will be more engaged
Due to apps, you can easily measure your child’s progress and where they need to improve. Technology underpins everything in modern society and that shows no signs of easing up.
Arguably by using technology in your education methods, you are getting them more equipped for the practicalities of the real world as tech is ever-ever-growing in the current landscape.
The Cons of Homeschooling Vs Public Schooling
Choosing to homeschool means you have to wear two hats, you are both a parent and teacher all day long.
In today’s busy world, time is a luxury very few parents can afford, even if you are a stay-at-home parent.
On the other hand, schools have a fixed daily structure that allows parents to work outside of the home more efficiently.
2. No Independence/Lack of Socialisation
Learning to be more independent is a crucial aspect of any educational system.
Public schools teach children a certain degree of independence, depending on the year. For instance, they learn how to find their way from one class to the next, keep track of their own class schedules, and make it to and from the bus every day.
Homeschooling means that your child may be spending a lot of time at home. Efforts need to be made to involve them with other kids or it may hinder your child’s development. Mixing socially with others and learning how to integrate with others need to also remain a focus for any homeschoolers. Eventually, your child will potentially go into further education or employment so it is pivotal that these skills are developed at an early stage.
3. Limited Access to Diversity
Homeschooling means that the only people your child encounters in a typical day are you and other family members.
While this is nice, education should be holistic enough to expose children to the diversity of the world outside of their immediate surroundings.
By attending public schools, they are more likely to come across people that don’t look, act, or think exactly like they do, and learn to relate with them.
In turn, this broadens their minds, exposes them to different cultures, value sets, moral beliefs and gives them a more well-rounded outlook on the world.
4. Lifestyle Change
There’s no getting around the fact that homeschooling is a large time commitment and if you are taking your children out of conventional schooling it will be a massive change.
Education requires time, effort and consistency to get the best results. Moving to a homeschooling structure means that you have to act both as a parent and a teacher towards your children.
Parents must think about how it affects their work life, as well as any other commitments that they may have which could interfere with teaching their child.
If parents have limited time, you need to source all the relevant tutors to ensure that your child has a smooth transition into homeschooling.
For example, you may need to study the assessment guidelines, create a detailed education plan, form plans and stick to a routine. Tutors for English, maths, and science may be required if you feel that teaching is not your strong suit.
As a parent, you can’t afford to be lazy or have off days, and you need to make sure that you have things in place if work commitments crop up.
What resources can I use for homeschooling?
For many parents, the largest reservation about homeschooling is understanding how to teach.
Doubts creep in for most people, ‘Do I know enough to be a teacher’ ‘Is my child better off in school?’.
These are valid questions to ask but with the wide resources available today we are limited only by our imagination when considering homeschooling our children. Here is a short list of resources that can be used.
- Educational apps for kids
- Past exam papers
- Trips to local museums and historic landmarks
The Bottom Line
When it comes to learning, every child is unique and the option that might be right for another child might not necessarily be the best choice for yours.
Learning for childrenshould be fun, rewarding and equip them with the skills required for them to live a happy prosperous life.
Homeschooling in the UK offers an attractive flexible lifestyle where you can really be attentive towards your child and their specific needs. Due to the rise in learning games for kids, it has never been easier to teach from home.
The disadvantages are that your child will need extra care to integrate within society, and that homeschooling is a large time commitment.
As such, even though you might have considered the pros and cons of home education, you should keep in mind that these benefits and drawbacks are not universal and should be analysed by each family on a case by case basis.
Only then can you know for sure which option is best for you and your child.