Over the last 4 years I have been battling the internal war of whether to home school or public school. I have family members who cringe when I mention homeschooling and family members who cringe when I say public schooling. Heck, I cringe at each one of those suggestions to a degree. There have been years where I have felt passionate and positive that homeschooling is my future and what I want to do and I have had times where I want nothing to do with homeschooling and want to send my kids to public school.
Here I am going to go through my reasons for each and discuss my feelings on why this is such a conflicting issue for me.
With public school, I have the freedom to get a job and make some money. As a struggling, pay check to paycheck family, with student loans to be payed, this is a huge appeal to me. I could get a job right in a school as a teachers aid or a in the office or even as a substitute for awhile. I’d have the same hours and breaks as my children and be getting some kind of paycheck to chip away at loans with.
With Public school my kids will get that “first day on the bus” experience, learn to deal with other kids each day in different social situations, learn to function in a classroom environment, take instruction from people other than myself and Jason, make their own friends, have art class (unless it gets cut from budgets!) and recess and gym and all their primary subjects on a regular basis. I can make sure I’m involved and in communication with teachers and still be an active participating mom but without actually doing the work of schooling.
On the flip side, with public school there’s a lot of atmosphere out of my control. I may not agree with everything my kids teacher does. I may have conflicting views on their style of teaching. They may talk down to my child. They may let other kids talk down to my child. They may discipline for things (or in a way) I dont like and then let things go that I feel should be dealt with. I am trusting a complete stranger to just about raise my child. 5-6 hours per day, 5 days per week is a lot of time to trust someone else with my child and will certainly make an impact on my child. I just have to sit back and trust that it will be a positive impact and that if something is going on, my child will know to speak up and tell me about it, which I’m not very comfortable with because I had many teachers say and do things to me that I now know were damaging and I never spoke to my mom about it.
With homeschooling, I have a lot more control of the atmosphere. I know exactly who is with my kids and how they speak to them and how they are treated. I get to custom their work for them and work with each of them on their strengths and weaknesses. I can test them and teach them in ways that suite their personalities best. I can find other home schoolers to get together with and will know who their friends are and still socialize them well. There’s so much more I have say over. As someone who does not trust the public school and all the teachers within it, this is a major factor for me. I do not like the idea of the government having say over my child or how they are raised and keeping them out of public school keeps my kids protected from that.
If I home school, There’s a lot more work for me. I have to have time to plan and teach 3 kids at three different ages and levels of learning. I need to stay on my game, stay organized, and be teacher and mom. All without a paycheck. All without getting my debt payed off. All without going insane.
Right now, we feel like the best thing for our family as a whole is to put our kids in public school. Though we have some serious reservations about trusting public schools, our home is that we will be able to stay involved enough to be on top of everything and deal with any issues that come up, all while getting into a better financial situation. Things may change with time. It’s impossible right now to know what the best environment will be for each one of my kids as individuals and that will play a part in this decision as well. So far, we have seen Eve flourish in a classroom environment with others and her love for being in a class has helped us decide that it is best for her at this point. If we come to find one or more of our kids does not do well with public school, we will find a way to work with them and get a better situation for them. We are taking it all a step at a time and I am trying to rid myself on mom-guilt over having these conflicting feelings over their schooling.