Homeschool vs. Public School

Homeschool vs. Public School

At some point, you’ve probably heard the question asked (or maybe you’ve asked the question): why homeschool when your child can go to a public school funded by the government?

But perhaps we should flip that question around. Homeschooling has grown in popularity with families throughout the United States. Several studies suggest that between 5 and 6 percent of school-age children are homeschooled (that’s about three million kids), and this number increases year by year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents found themselves homeschooling either outright or de facto—and that only increased the popularity of homeschooling!

So what is it that makes homeschooling increasingly attractive and public schools so unattractive?

Why Homeschool?

There are more reasons to homeschool than ever.

Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is one of the most repeated answers offered by parents when making the decision to homeschool their child. Public schools don’t incorporate religious studies into the classroom. Public school curricula may teach a different set of values and beliefs than what parents believe and want to instill in their child.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, affords parents the opportunity to incorporate Bible studies, prayers, and values throughout the lesson plan.

Safety and Security

Concern over a child’s safety is another reason why parents choose to homeschool. Some children are subjected to negative influences such as bullying and the presence of drugs and alcohol in public schools. These negative influences can affect a child’s academic performance in the classroom.

However, in a homeschool environment, parents are able to watch over their child and help them develop without those stressors and dangers.

Personalized Learning

In a homeschool setting, parents are able to offer more personalized learning for their child. Public school teachers have a classroom of students with different abilities and levels of learning.  The lesson plans won’t be tailored for each individual student.

Homeschool allows for the parents to assess their child’s strengths and weaknesses and help build lessons around their needs. This type of teaching provides flexibility to give the child what they need to learn and skip ahead if they grasp the subject.

Family

Homeschooling is a family effort. There is collaboration between siblings and parents to come together and share knowledge and experiences. This level of connectedness goes beyond what can be provided in public schools.

The opportunity to reinforce family values and beliefs while developing a stronger sense of self is why many families choose homeschooling over public schooling.

Want more reasons to homeschool?
Read: “The Benefits of Homeschooling: A Graduate’s Perspective

Why Not Public School?

These are a few reasons why homeschool parents often decide to homeschool their children rather than send them to public school. Here are two such reasons:

Lower Academic Outcomes

Studies have revealed that homeschool students typically score higher than public school students on standardized tests. Parents’ level of education does not change the student’s success.1

Homeschool students also typically do better in college. Homeschool students have a higher rate of graduating college than students who attended public school. One study revealed that homeschooled students graduated with an average GPA of 3.46 while their public school peers graduated with an average of 3.16. The same study also showed that homeschooled students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).2 3

Poorer Social Environments

Contrary to the popular misconception, homeschool students are often better socialized than their public school counterparts. They are more likely to participate in political drives, sports teams, church ministries, and community work.4

Public schools, meanwhile, often present challenges for social development, such as bullying, discouragement, and negative peer influences. For example, according to one study, 5% of students between the ages of twelve and eighteen reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school in 2019.5

That’s 1 out of 20 students, and the average class size in the USA is 20.3.6

The evidence is abundant and the collective experience of homeschoolers shows that homeschooling works. Public schools, on the other hand, afford poorer outcomes all around.

Why send your child to public school when you can homeschool?

Written By: Classical Conversations®

A young boy and girl concentrate on their homework, writing together at a table

Oklahoma Bill HB 4130 – A Deeper Analysis

By Elise DeYoung

In recent months, Oklahoma and Michigan, two states that have historically had low regulation on homeschool freedoms, have sought to pass restrictive laws. These states both claim to be passing homeschool registration and oversight laws to prevent the abuse of home-educated children.

Since homeschooling became legal in 1992, many states have tirelessly attempted to oversee and regulate a parent’s right to home education. If you wish to learn about your state’s homeschool laws, you can do so by visiting HSLDA’s website.

You can learn more about the specifics of Michigan’s proposal and its problems here.

In Oklahoma, Rep. Amanda Swope has introduced HB 4130, which would require homeschool parents to send in a letter to the Department of Human Services requesting to homeschool their child, provide the information of every adult involved in the child’s education, and go through biannual background checks performed by the DHS.

While the intentions of Swope may sound noble at first (who wouldn’t want to put an end to the abuse of children?), this bill is founded on a false premise and represents a trend of state aggression towards homeschooling. For these reasons, Americans, especially in Oklahoma, must strongly oppose Swope’s bill to restrict and regulate homeschooling families.

The Narrative is Fabricated

The entire reason for the bill rests upon the premise that there is an epidemic of abuse among homeschooled children, and we need new legislation to address it. Sadly, for Swope and her bill, the statistical facts strongly contradict this narrative.

First, all of the evidence available shows that “homeschooled children are abused at a lower rate than are those in the general public, and no evidence shows that the home educated are at any higher risk of abuse.”(Ray, 2018) What’s more, a Gen 2 Survey found that homeschooled students are actually 257% less likely to be sexually abused than their government-schooled peers.

It is ironic that Swope’s proposed solution to the fallacious low abuse rates among homeschoolers is government regulation. This has yet to help public schoolers who experience constant state oversight. What makes her think it will help the homeschoolers in any way?

Additionally, according to the statistics, if Swope were truly concerned with addressing child abuse in her state, she would turn her attention to the place where children suffer the most—government schools.

Even if there were high rates of abuse among homeschooled children, there are already nationwide laws on the books that protect all children from abuse, including homeschoolers.[1] There is no reason to pass another bill. Oklahoma simply has to enforce the ones it already has in place.

So why do Swope and those who support HB 4130 want to pass it so badly? The answer is increased government oversight and regulation on homeschooling.

Government Overreach

To understand the extent of the government overreach within HB 4130, we must examine the document ourselves.

Letters of Intent

Paragraph F. reads, “On or before the school district start date, parents making the decision to choose homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling shall submit a letter of intent to the Department of Human Services.”

A Letter of Intent can easily be dismissed as “normal” because many states require homeschooling parents to write a letter outlining their intent to homeschool. However, most states require parents to submit it to their local school district or to their state. The purpose of this is to inform their state schools that it is not responsible for their child’s education.

The difference is that with this bill, Oklahoma parents must submit their letter of intent to the Department of Human Services. Later in the bill, the letter of intent is referred to as “a request to homeschool” and may be denied by the DHS. Denial of a fundamental right to educate one’s child is an egregious abuse of power. Since when did the DHS (the civil government) have the right to determine whether a family has the right to homeschool their children?

The bill continues by explaining what information parents are required to surrender:

  • The names of the homeschooling parents
  • The social security numbers of parents.
  • The names of all the homeschooled children
  • The home address of the family homeschooling
  • The names of all individuals living at the home address
  • The names of “any associated individuals or organizations assisting with the child’s or children’s schooling.”
  • Along with “A brief statement for the decision of schooling”

Furthermore, this bill requires you to “reapply” for homeschooling by sending in a “subsequent letter of intent” every time you make a change in your initial decision to homeschool, whether it is “a result of a move or otherwise.”

Background Checks

Paragraph H. says, “When the Department of Human Services receives a letter of intent, it shall perform an initial background check on parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children’s schooling.”

The fact that the DHS wants to perform background checks on parents to decide whether or not they have the right to home-educate their children is Orwellian. It also begs a fascinating question:

Why does this bill not include background checks for the parents of public school students? Those students are home, with no government supervision, for three whole months. Why isn’t Swope concerned about abuse in those homes?

Background checks on “parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children’s schooling” is both a disturbing invasion into the homes of home educators and will also cause a multitude of issues for tutoring programs and independent educators who will now be subject to background checks by the DHS.

Biannual Checks

Moreover, parents must repeat all the regulations examined so far biannually. “The Department shall maintain a system to conduct biannual checks of the database and compile a database of individuals, facilities, and organizations that perform and assist with homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling.”

This regulation means that by the time an Oklahoma homeschool student has graduated, the DHS will have made 24 reviews on that child’s security information, address, family members, homeschool organizations, and teachers.

The bill concludes that the DHS may deny “requests” to homeschool and will deny them if any adult involved in the child’s education has a “pending child abuse or neglect investigation” against them.

Constitutional Home Educators explains the danger of this vague wording: “There are so many loopholes here that could allow DHS to deny your request to home educate. It does not say just an abuse or neglect conviction; it includes a pending investigation. All it takes is an accusation.”

Oppose HB 4130

This bill represents an outrageous abuse of government authority and power. First, it is completely unnecessary and will be totally ineffective. Regulation does not reduce abuse. Second, the bill is designed to empower government-run agencies to dictate a parent’s right to home educate and to regulate that right if it is “approved” by the state. This bill is a blatant abuse of power and must be ardently rejected by the citizens of Oklahoma before it is instated and enforced.

Homeschool freedom is a right that many before us have fought to win. We cannot allow the state to deceive us into surrendering this right for a fabricated narrative and a false promise. All Americans must stand in support of Oklahoma citizens as they fight on the front lines for educational freedom.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!


[1] (n.d.). 2022 Oklahoma Statutes Title 21. Crimes and Punishments §21-843.5. Child abuse – Child neglect – Child sexual abuse – Child sexual exploitation – Enabling – Penalties. Justia US Law. https://law.justia.com/codes/oklahoma/2022/title-21/section-21-843-5/