If you’re just researching home schooling, you may be trying to determine if homeschool vs private school (or even homeschooling vs public school) is best for your family.
Trying to choose home schooling or private schooling is an important decision and one that should be given a great deal of consideration.
6 Major Things to Consider When Choosing Homeschool vs Private School
- Why are you considering homeschooling and private schooling?
- What is your budget? (And, how much does homeschooling cost compared to private school?)
- Are you looking for a Christian private school or a secular private school?
- What are the homeschooling laws for your state?
- What are the standardized testing (and reporting) requirements for both home school and private school in your area?
- What are the benefits of private school and homeschool advantages for your family (and the disadvantages)?
Homeschool mom Gillian has been through the process of deciding homeschool vs private school.
Here’s what she said about her journey:
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Homeschool vs Private School: One Mom’s Private School Experience Decision
If you ever want to feel like a millionaire then I have a psychological experiment for you because we’re going to talk about homeschool vs. private school options.
Here’s what you do:
Go ahead and start researching and browsing private schools near me.
Gather all those beautiful packets of marketing literature with smiling kids holding hands, collect all the pens and notebooks they hand out to visitors and make sure you read up on all the private school tuition and fees, and don’t forget the private school review!
Then, decide you are going to stick with home schooling and regain all that money you spent on tuition in your mind.
Now you feel super rich!
Told you so!
This exercise actually happened to our family when we were trying to decide on homeschool vs private school.
We went through all the rigamarole of “So you want to put your child in private school…” and came out more gung-ho than ever on sticking with homeschool.
Let me start at the beginning . . .
Our Hunt for Private School
We went on a private school hunt after we had spoken with a pediatrician who recommended we consider private schooling for our oldest who is, how do I put this, an advanced learner of sorts.
I struggle to share this because I’ve received negative pushback from people.
It was nice to have a doctor point out that our child could go far in a private school setting, even getting scholarships.
So off we went. . .
Homeschool vs Private School Consideration #1: Private school scholarships, you say?
Then, I learned that there are private school scholarships available!
I have also learned that “scholarships” is an idol word trigger for me and many other parents out there.
BEWARE of the power this word holds!
Some parents will do anything to attain these!
But, don’t choose private schooling just because of the scholarship potential!
READ THIS NEXT:
Homeschool vs Private School Consideration #2: Which Do We Tackle First: Private School or Special Needs?
Knowing our kid loves to learn A LOT and upon hearing this idea from an outside source, a pediatrician no less, we began to consider this idea of private schooling in depth.
We especially liked how it might help with the huge stress of dealing with a sibling with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Because when you have a sixth-grader reading a textbook in a day that was supposed to last a semester, and a child who, bless her heart, is struggling and acting out in every way from an traumatic adoptive background- WHICH ONE DO YOU HELP FIRST
(OR, which snack do you just go eat in your prayer closet as a mom on the edge?!)
You want to continue the love of learning for your middle schooler and not squelch it by teaching her below her abilities because you are limited by helping your youngest.
You want to help your little one process her world and feel safe.
You also want to remember to not go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.
It’s a whole heaping lot for this mama to keep up with.
(I watered a fake plant for a whole year in college mind you. So, there’s that…)
(I’m just telling you what I am working with.)
Homeschool vs Private School Consideration #3: We Wanted the Perfect Private School
The search for the perfect private school was nothing short of a tale from The Odyssey.
We met lots of very respectable, kind, and great salespeople that function as the school’s representative or admissions person.
I liked them all, every time.
The classes, teachers, “maker space areas”, grounds, student ambassadors, uniforms, traditions–all were very endearing.
At every school tour, my girl would ask straight-faced: “Do you have a microwave?”
(We bring the class, what can I say?)
Homeschool vs Private School Consideration #4: Budget
Is homeschooling cheaper than private school?
We could not afford one of those private schools we looked at.
And, I have no shame in admitting that.
Not many people can afford the cost of private school, and so they offer financial aid.
But typically only up to half of the tuition cost, we discovered.
Chances are, you’ll be going into debt to send your kid to private school. And, that will happen every single year your kid is in private school . . . sometimes even with those coveted scholarships that don’t always cover all the expenses.
Homeschool vs Private School Consideration #5: We Asked for Direction
Maybe I forgot to mention, we prayed.
We prayed our faces off.
I mean, I almost turned into a Benedictine Monk from all the praying.
LORD, JUST TELL US WHAT TO DO.
If I put my youngest in preschool next year, then I could have time to teach/help my oldest (she really teaches me and that’s not fair to her).
But then we certainly couldn’t afford private school.
Been there, done that, and not going back for her.
If I put my oldest in private school, then bye bye preschool funds.
And, school after school just left us feeling very heavy hearted.
Reading all the great private school reviews got so laborious.
It didn’t feel right.
So, what happened?
Deciding Homeschooling vs Private School
If there is one thing I excel at, it’s asking questions.
We came up with about 7-9 points of consideration that were important to us in our private school search.
This is something you should do too before you start your private school search. Decide what are your deal breakers and what you really want and need.
Here’s our list of “must-haves”:
• Heavy, hands-on science/STEAM based lessons (Science Fair is a must!).
• Invested teachers who don’t mind dealing with an advanced learner.
(If you have a student reading above college in 2nd grade you don’t tell them to just go read a book but also tell them they can’t check certain books out! I’m still not over this from public school, can you tell?)
• Emphasis on teaching communication skills (i.e. opportunities for students to learn to present their ideas and themselves).
• Project based learning, thus teaching research, time management, and creativity.
• Servant leadership emphasis.
• Like-minded kids.
• A microwave. (Guess who put this one in?)
Okay, this is making us sound a little unrealistic, but this is what we want for our kid to meet her needs and challenge her so she learns to PUSH herself.
You can get very comfortable with these abilities and then when it DOES get hard, you are in for some trouble.
(Hello, college, if that is God’s plan!)
For Us, What Was the Difference Between Homeschool and Private School?
Y’all, the answer was not to be found at any of the schools we visited.
Not for what we could pay.
Not for how far we can drive.
And not with the absolute best friends you can ask for your child, which God has already surrounded her with.
Friends that don’t care if she uses crazy big words or if she suddenly turns into a dancing gazelle during lunch.
For us, God said “NO” to private schooling.
He said that through our commitment to staying debt free, through my inability to drive on dark mornings (10 eye surgeries baby!), and through His gift of her (and my) beloved buddy system we got going through our Classical Conversations Community.
And, through the heaviness.
There was not any peace for a private school decision.
Oh sure, there was a tingle of excitement at the possibility of her being a student at such and such prestigious institution, USA, but that is not to be confused with peace.
If you are considering private school:
Can you afford it—both financially and spiritually?
If not on either, then it’s a no.
Look at what God has already said “Yes” to for us . . .
For us, He has said yes to homeschooling for our family.
He has made it abundantly clear.
Because we, maybe not perfectly, already have all those things I listed.
We are aiming for all of that and then some.
I know it’s the big leagues coming up with 7th grade and then high school and then SAT/ACT and all that, but with the Lord on our side, we have the BEST guidance counselor.
If He wants her to change, then He will direct her steps.
And for her sister?
Preschool will be great for my youngest.
And I am thankful for the time I have now to help her at home and I am trusting God to help us make it through the rest of sixth grade for our oldest with our heads held high.
Now knowing what else is out there, I see that she is doing so much to engage her brain.
So the private school tours were actually beneficial in giving us a “You’re doing just fine” shoulder pat.
We are thanking God for His gentle leadership and are looking forward to His syllabus for our homeschooling journey!
ARE YOU CONSIDERING HOMESCHOOLING VS PRIVATE SCHOOL VS PUBLIC SCHOOL?
WHAT EXPERIENCES ARE YOU HAVING?
WHY DID YOU DECIDE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER?
SCROLL DOWN TO DISCUSS!
Contributor Gillian homeschools her two daughters and focuses on the funny in life through imperfection over at her family’s blog: www.fournicholstwocents.com.
Grateful for Jesus and deodorant, she loves talking to anyone about the correct meat to cheese ratio in tacos.