I've been to private school, public school, and homeschool. I never thought much of it but now being older, I realize that it's a bit unique to have experienced it "all." I figure I would make a pros and cons list based on my experiences. My experiences - that is a big flaw itself, right? Private schools are very different from one another. Public schools can be totally different worlds from each other. And obviously homeschools can be DRASTICALLY different. So take these lists with a grain of salt. It is highly unique to me and I am mostly doing this for entertainment purposes. 😉
Finally, I was homeschooled for high school....this is going to be the one that will be the most highly unique because each family is different, each homeschooling experience is different.
Pros of my homeschooling experience:
- My educational plan (initially) was tailored specifically to me. I got to spend a lot of time reading what I wanted to read and writing what I wanted to write about, researching the history I wanted to, studying geography as much as I wanted. These were my favorite subjects and it was amazing. I felt I learned a lot, even though I was teaching myself (in 8th grade, I had my academic levels tested and I was placed at college level for these subjects, so my parents though it was appropriate to give me autonomy here). I was at an average level in math and science for my grade/age, so my parents hired a private tutor for those subjects.
- Schedule - besides tutoring lessons 2x/week - was whatever me or my parents wanted it to be. I could do schoolwork at night instead of during the day if I wanted to. I could decide to do my work on Saturday instead of Friday or on Sunday instead of Monday. For the first two summers, I worked through them. The "only 3 hours of schoolwork required" law/rule was very nice.
- A LOT of free time to do whatever. I got to do extracurriculars like archery and sewing. I spent much time at home blogging and helping take care of (and even at one point homeschooling) my younger nieces/nephews. I could hand out with my other homeschooled friends in the middle of week, during the day.
- Very little homework, the only work being from my tutoring lessons but even that wasn't much.
- No bullying or feeling social pressure to dress or act a certain way. If I didn't like someone, then I never had to see them again.
- The homeschool community is really tight and supportive. Even now as an alumni, you feel an instant camaraderie with other homeschool alumni.
- I saw how much my parents did for me and for our family, and for a teenager, I had a newfound respect for them and we became a lot closer during those years.
Cons of my homeschooling experience:
- My tutoring sessions were 30% school work and 70% stories from my tutor's childhood in Transylvania. I told my parents I no longer wanted to go as I completed the requirements and I didn't feel like I was learning anything else and it was a waste of time. My parents stopped the lessons but then never replaced it with anything else.
- As with many homeschooling families, my educational plan eventually fell into disarray. After a while, I was soon doing nothing. While one could argue it wasn't THAT big of a deal since I technically did my graduation requirements by then, I think it's just not good to have a 16-year-old kid who is still technically "in school" just laying around doing no school work. My parents had always been exceptionally resistant to teacher's suggestions that I skip grades while I was in regular school, so they were not ready to hand me my diploma early while I was being homeschooled. They did not want me taking dual-enrollment classes in community college. However, they also didn't supplement me with any extra work. So I literally spent my last two years of "homeschool" helping my parents raise their grandkids/my nieces & nephews.
- Without outside forces telling you that you are smart and capable, I stopped believing it. My parents never said that I was smart anyways, but even if they did, it's just not the same. I feel like homeschooling really sank my self-esteem in that regard.
- One parent did not finish high school and one parent did not finish elementary school. They didn't teach me any subjects but that they were left in charge of my educational planning for high school seems cringe-y to me now.
- The lack of daily social interaction with my peers definitely left me a lot more socially awkward. I was already naturally shy and socially awkward but homeschooling did not help this and only made it worse.
- At some point in time, I had completely forgotten how to study for tests. It wasn't a big deal at the time but it has come to bite me in the ass now that I'm in college.
- No need for time-management skills, or how to deal with authority figures and other people. I feel I was already lacking this due to being a private school kid most of my life, but homeschooling made it worse.
- I feel like if there were better regulations, my family could have gotten some guidance on what the heck to do with me for those last two years.
- Still no sex ed or mention of evolution.
- A lot of responsibility at home fell onto my shoulders when I was just a teen. While I'm not like some of the people discussed on this site who had to take care of their younger siblings, I did have younger nieces & nephews to help take care of. I was often left at home, all alone with them, for hours and hours at a time. I had several breakdowns of calling up my parents crying that this was too much and I couldn't do it. I was told I was being "an evil and selfish girl" who had a duty to my family to help. Normal kids are in school during these times but instead I was at home being "homeschooled" with my parents refusing to give me my diploma and hoping that if I behaved good enough, they would give it to me.
- I was actively encouraged by my parents to make bad decisions, like not going to driver's ed due to anxiety (I'm now 28 and still never learned how to drive....), not recording transcripts of my schoolwork, not going to college, etc.
- My parents straight up refused to give me my diploma at all. I was suppose to graduate in 2009. I was scared to look for a job or go to college without my diploma so I spent yet another 2 years at home, still helping take care of my nieces & nephews, and also caring for my sick sibling, waiting for my parents to give me my diploma. I begged and pleaded with my parents for two years. I finally got my diploma from my mom when I told her I was going to get my GED if I didn't get my diploma soon. She said it wasn't necessary, she'd order it for me. I was excited! Then the day I got it, my heart sank. Not only did my mother put 2011 as my graduation year, she also put down my high school name as, "[Lastname]'s Super Awesome Magical Home School!!!]. My diploma looks like a ridiculous joke. I am so embarrassed of it. To this day, I have no idea why my mother would do this to me.
- All blame for anything that went wrong during my homeschool years is blamed on me. There are a bunch of other decisions and events that went on during these years that I'm not going to mention because they are a bit too private. But I made certain decisions that a CHILD should not be making and PARENTS are suppose to be PARENTS making these decisions *for* their children. But the blame is put back on me. My parents say, "You wanted this, remember? You loved homeschooling. You didn't want to go to tutoring anymore. Maybe if you had behaved better, you would have gotten your diploma sooner. This is not our fault. Everything was your fault." I feel like this is my parents absconding their responsibility that they should have done at the time.
- I feel like I'm gaslighted about certain things. I literally have video of my parents telling me seriously that they did not want me to drive or to go to college. This was something they told me often. Now, they say they "always wanted" me to go to college and learn how to drive, and that I am just "lazy" for never doing these things. Again, I think this is just them trying to feel better about themselves now because maybe they realize they were wrong for doing these things.