Public School vs Home School – My Teens’ Perspective
My teens are big advocates of homeschooling, but they haven’t always been educated at home. They both spent elementary and middle school in a French Immersion public school. They never had any problems in school, they basically enjoyed it. In all of our minds homeschooling was not even a thought or an option. But, then came a time when we needed to make a move to another province and our new town did not have a French Immersion school, so we had to decide whether to home school or not .
What were we going to do? My older son would have done ok, because he had already taken English, but my daughter had not. We were in the process of deciding whether or not homeschooling was for us, when a gunman threatened my kids’ school and the school went on lock down for the day. We lived just down the street from the school and I watched the police surround the building. I spend the day in a lot of fear and anxiety and I knew right then, that I had made my decision, I would not send my kids to school again.
My oldest kids were apprehensive about homeschooling at first, but we decided we would home school for 1 year. We needed to help the kids with their English skills and we would see what happened after that. After that first year, they have not wavered in their decision to continue being homeschooled!
We don’t have a big homeschooling community in our town, so all of my kids’ friends go to public school. They have had many opportunities to defend the reason why they like homeschooling more than public school. So, I decided to sit down with them and find out their reasons for preferring homeschooling over public school.
I interviewed Nick, who is 15 and in grade 10 and Shanna, who is 13 and in grade 8.
Q: How long did you attend Public School?
N – I left public school after grade 6, so 7 years I guess.
S – Umm 5 years, I left after fourth grade.
Q: What activities were you a part of in Public School?
N – I was involved in band and Christmas musicals every year. I played Ping Pong and Badminton. I also took swimming lessons through the school.
S – I also took swimming lessons and was in the Christmas musicals. I took choir and played the Native American Flute.
Q: What activities have you been involved in since you started homeschooling?
N – I have taken piano and bag pipe lessons. I am involved with Army Cadets. I have gone to youth group at church and I am now on a music team as well. I am also getting ready to take fencing lessons.
S – I have taken piano and guitar lessons as well as been involved with a children’s choir. I took color guard for a year and now I am with the Army Cadets.
Q: What did you like about Public School?
N – I liked spending time with my friends every day. Although, most of them moved away at the same time as I did, so I wouldn’t see them at school anymore anyway.
S – I liked spending time with my friends too, but I also really liked to go to choir.
Q: What didn’t you like about Public School?
N – I had a teacher I really did not like, and I had him for 3 years. I didn’t like the crowded hallways and the bullies. The kids that always asked questions just to waste time and waiting for the rest of the class to finish up their work was annoying. I hated safety drills and lock downs. Always having to get a bathroom pass was frustrating and of course I did not like homework. At times, I was doing up to 2 hours of homework a night.
S – I also didn’t like the crowded hallways and sharing a locker. Too many people were so competitive. It made me mad that the playground equipment was always getting destroyed or banned because it was too dangerous. I did not like spirit days. And having lice checks all the time was gross!
Q: What do you like about homeschooling?
N – I am done my book work by noon and then I can work on my own interests. Going at my own pace is great, never having to wait for anyone or go on before I’m ready. My schedule works for me and I never have to pack a lunch. I love getting my birthday off of school and I learn lots of life skills that I wouldn’t at school.
S- I like going at my own pace too and I don’t have to worry about things like fashion trends or school gossip. For Christmas I ask for what I want, because I don’t have to worry about fitting in with my friends and only asking for what they are asking for. I like getting a longer summer break and all the field trips we get to go on. We don’t have a dress code and we don’t have to dress up for spirit days.
Q: What don’t you like about homeschooling?
N – I would like to see my friends more and I’m getting sick of hearing homeschooling jokes. Yes, all my school work is homework, thanks for asking…again. 😉
S – We don’t get to hear about many of the fun activities going on in town because they only announce it in the public school. I wish I could see my friends more often.
Q: What would you say to teens who are trying to decide if they want to Home School through high school?
We would tell them it’s the best thing we have done.
N – I love that I can work on what I love to do. I love learning new languages and spend several hours a day on this task. This would not be possible, if I was in school 7-8 hours a day, plus having to do homework too. I have had the time to learn several musical instruments. I get to concentrate on the courses that I love and will assist me in my future learning path. I like learning new, or should I say old skills, and I don’t have to worry about what my friends would think of me. I have time for a part-time job, if I wish, and I am not stuck with only working evenings. I can see myself getting an internship or working in my chosen field before I graduate.
S – I like that I can learn the way that works best for me. My learning style is different than most people, but because I home school I can still learn all the material I need to, and I can learn it well. My curriculum is designed for me, no one else. I can learn more in a shorter amount of time. I have lots more time to learn the things that interest me. The school system has a curriculum that they have to follow, but for me the sky is the limit. Whether it’s an online course or in person tutoring or on the job training, I can learn anywhere. My family loves to travel and because I do not have to be in a physical school we can stay as long as we like. So much learning happens out in the world and not just in a classroom. I love that I don’t have to worry about fashion or having my hair a certain way, I am free to just be me 🙂
Do you home school your teens? Are you planning to home school your kids all the way through 12th grade? My kids can’t imagine going to public school now; homeschooling has become a way of life for us and they love it!