The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Homeschooling and Public Schooling
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5
At this point, we’ve been homeschooling for 4 years and so far, everything has gone pretty well. Makayla has stayed in public school for all of this time and for the most part, that has gone pretty well too. There have certainly been times along the way that we’ve just wanted to pull her out of school, but it has always come down to what is best for her. Today I just wanted to spend some time talking about the pros and cons of having a foot in both camps.
· Time to really focus on 1 child at a time. During the day, my focus is solely on Connor (along with a little laundry and housework). My attention doesn’t have to be divided between the 2 kids so I know Connor is getting the help that he needs. When Makayla gets home from school, Connor is done with school so I am available to help her with schoolwork or just listen to her day without being pulled in other directions. I think both kids feel like they get me when they need me.
· Gaining benefits from both worlds. Navigating the waters of public school has absolutely helped me as a homeschool teacher. It has given me ideas of things I want to include in our homeschool and things that I don’t want to creep into our homeschool. Stories from public school also help us realize how good we have it in our homeschool. The resources that we have as homeschoolers have also helped our daughter a great deal. We’ve learned about opportunities that will hopefully help her get into good colleges and get awarded scholarships that we never would’ve have learned about if not for our homeschool community. As homeschoolers, we need to look for opportunities for our kids to stand out when applying for colleges and we are hopeful those ideas will help Makayla too.
· The education I’m getting as a Homeschool teacher allows me to help my public school student. There have been times that I certainly wouldn’t have been much help with my daughter’s homework if not for the learning I do alongside my homeschooler. Even though my daughter is far more advanced in her math than we are at home, having Algebra fresh in my mind has helped me figure out enough Algebra II and/or pre-calculus to help her out a little. I’m still always filled with dread when she says “mom, I need help with math," but we usually figure it out and muddle along.
· Losing some of the flexibility that traditional homeschooling offers. One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility. If needed, our schedules can be adjusted or we can take our work with us if we want to go on vacation. If an opportunity for travel presents itself, we can tweak our curriculum to tie our schooling into our vacation. Since we have a kid in public school, we are limited to scheduled school breaks which means we can’t just pick up and go and we can’t go places in the off season. This was a little easier in middle school when we could just pull Makayla out of school and go whenever we wanted. Now that she is in high school, she can only miss 3 days per semester or she has to take final exams, which has really put a damper on our travel plans.
· Dealing with the bureaucracy of Public School. As homeschoolers, we love our freedom. We get to decide what we do and when we do it, we tweak our plans on nearly a daily basis. Unfortunately, when dealing with the public school system, that freedom goes right out the window. Honestly, we’ve been pretty lucky, our school has worked with us a lot on allowing Makayla some freedoms mainly because they know what a serious student she is. They are limited though because anything they allow her to do sets a precedent for other students to do the same thing. Most of the time we understand the limitations and other times we get frustrated and just want to pull her out of school so we can do things our way. We sometimes have to bite our tongues so we don’t alienate ourselves from the school administration. Whenever possible, we've allowed Makayla to take the lead and talk to her counselor, principal and superintendent (with our support and guidance, of course) and I think that has been a key factor in maintaining a good relationship with the school.
· My day of school work is longer. If both kids were homeschooled then at the end of the school day, all of our work would be done since we don’t generally have “homework” in homeschool. Since Makayla goes to public school, she of course has homework every single night, which means that I have homework most nights too. Luckily, she’s a really good student so I don’t need to help her that much but if you have a child that struggles with homework, the time that you will need to spend every evening helping is certainly something to consider.
While I’ve given you the same number of pros and cons to having a child in public school while homeschooling another, I’m going to be honest, the cons of doing both certainly outweighs the pros. The loss of flexibility in our schedule is a huge factor. We have lost out on a lot of great travel opportunities because we are tied down to the public school schedule. We definitely wish both kids would’ve wanted to be homeschooled but this is the path we chose in hopes of making everybody happy. Hopefully these points will help you decide what will work best for your family too.
Do you have any specific questions about how having kids that are both homeschooled and public schooled works?