Home Education vs School Education

I would love to be able to educate our children at home (this is holiday sentimentality talking.. heh heh). I enjoy teaching, and it's soo much more enjoyable to be teaching your own 4 children, rather than a class of 32!

However, I have found it definitely takes its toll on the little ones while focusing on the older school age children. When we did our short stint of having Ben and Charlotte doing school with me at home last year, I found that the little ones were sometimes left to play on their own, while we were up at the table working, when they really needed me there with them. I also found it very hard to keep the house nice and clean and tidy (I need it this way to stay sane!) and have dinner ready for when Michael got home.

Having done home education for a short time, and now having the children in a small, local Christian school, I know that there are heartbreaking difficulties with both home education and traditional schooling.

With Ben and Charlotte currently attending school, I love the time that I can now spend focusing on Jacob and Oliver... after all, Ben and Charlotte had my attention all day, every day when they were young, so I am glad that I am now able to do the same for the little ones.

I have really seen Jacob and Oliver come along in leaps and bounds now that I am free to spend more focused time with them each day. I was amazed at how quickly Oliver's speaking skills came along as soon as I was able to spend a lot more one-on-one time with him.

Also, with the older kids at school, I am now able to lead a ladies bible study one morning a week, visit people, host coffee mornings, grocery shop without 4 klingons, take the little ones to playgroup and keep up with the housework... so it definitely has its advantages!

However, at the same time, I am saddened by some of the things that my children come home with, that they have learnt "in the playground". I do often struggle with the feeling that they are too young and do not have enough grounding to be learning some of the things they are hearing from kids at school.

I do need to be more at peace with the knowledge that God is in control and he is taking care of our children every minute of the day. I know that I need to spend more time each day praying for each child individually and that I need to trust God more.

I also need to remember that although our kids might be able to get a "better" education at home, that God uses anyone and everyone who is willing to be used by him, regardless of their background or education level.

I have been reading a few books lately where God has used people from very poor, uneducated backgrounds to do mighty works for Him. I think we as a society (myself definitely included), often value education too highly, and I need to constantly tell myself not to be stressed out that my kids are not learning at the speed I know they are capable of, and not necessarily learning all the things I would like them to learn.

There is still all the before and after school time, and all weekend to do a lot of character training, and to equip our children for a lifetime of compassion and service. Family devotions around the table at night are a great opportunity to do some daily "schooling" with all the children at once, and it's lovely having both Michael and I there for this time, so that I can do crowd control, while Michael is able to focus on the teaching!

It is also lovely that school holidays are quite frequent and substantial, and there is definitely a lot you can teach them in that time... heh heh. My kids beg me to do "school" in the holidays because they love it so much.

I sometimes think it would be great to be able to do a lot of the teaching with my children at home while still sending them to school either a couple of days a week, or a couple of weeks a term for all the benefits that come with attending a "mass learning institution" (learning to get along with others who are "different" from us, learning how to make friends, developing independance etc).

I do think that "going to school" is great, and it should be there as a full time option for those who need it, but I think there should also be more options available to parents who are more than capable of teaching their own children, where there can be a mix of learning at home and school, without having to send them off for 5 out of 7 days a week when they are only 5 or 6 years old.

Anyway, just something I've been thinking about... I'd love to know other people's thoughts on the matter.


  1. It's such a toss up! I'm sorry that I can't really offer any advice, as my little ones are too young for school, but I hope you fins a workable solution. :)

  2. Like you said, God is in control. Just keep praying about it, and He'll show you what to do. We homeschool and I love it, BUT that doesn't mean God calls every family to homeschool.

  3. Hope you find a solution that works for you! We have opted for school education, and supplement it with other activities to extend them at home. When they were in the younger grades, I did a lot of voluntary work at the school - that is a great way to get to know their friends and to be involved.

  4. We homeschooled until my eldest was 9. The kids have been in school for 2 years now. I still miss the older one being home. I think the little ones are missing out too on the attention their older siblings give them. I think my middle two benefited a lot from the older two being homeschooled. We were unschoolers so not as structured in age level learning. I can't say my home is any tidier having 4 at school and only 2 at home.
    I prayed on sending them to school and believe this is what I'm to do but sometimes accepting his way can be difficult for me.

  5. Mmm, thought-provoking reading.
    Have you been in touch with your local home education network? I believe it is possible to do part-time formal schooling if you want to. Some people send their kids to school for just science or maths or sport. If that would suit you, I think you should check it out.
    xx Tanja (Possum on NC)

  6. As a homeschooling mom, sometimes I wish there was a happy medium, too. It would give my son a taste of going to school, but yet the bulk of his learning would be at home.

    It's funny that you should bring this up. My friend (also named Ruth!) in Tasmania recently told me she wanted the same thing but was told she had to either homeschool full-time or send them to school full time. But, like it's been said, God is in control.

  7. I would also love to home school but know it isn't the answer for us. Range of reasons, including not being able to keep up with everything. DD loves school and we keep track of what she is doing and work with her about it. Similar with DS#1 (who will be going to school next year).

    It would be nice to have a mix but I'm not sure how that would go in the long run.

  8. am just grappling with this same question myself...thanks for the food for thought! Oh and I have tagged you whether you want to join or not I'm not sure but I would love to hear some of your quirky facts!!

  9. I think that, ultimately, parents and family members are the strongest and most powerful role models and influences in our children's lives. So, yes, they will pick up things in the playground and see how other people live - but as long as they have a solid foundation at home with you Ruth, then that's the best thing you can do. Part of the whole thing of God trusting us (jGarden of Eden etc) as people without having to come in and save the day all the time. Hope I'm making sense? I'm rambling now . . . lol

  10. I love this post Ruthie. I think similar things quite often, especially now after having had the kids out of school for nearly 4 weeks, followed by 2 weeks of school holidays! I love having them at home, and they really love it here too. But on the other hand, I really like to be able to get work done while they are at school. I think it would be great if I could send them to school for 3 days, and home school the other 2 days! The problem is they will still be picking up unwelcome habits from school, and enduring the things they really don't like about it, although at least not for quite as long. If you do come up with the perfect solution, please let me know, lol :-)

  11. Your thoughts are so similar to mine, Ruth. It's funny that, whether we choose to homeschool or away-school, we all need to learn to trust God more with our children.

    As you mentioned, I think it is hard not to place too much importance on education in Australia. You read so many newspaper articles denigrating our public schools and then consider the fees that the prestigious schools think are reasonable for parents to pay for their elite services... it all leads you to think that education is the way of salvation. But it's not: Jesus is!

    I'm going to link to this post from my blog if you don't mind.

    ~ Sharon

  12. My eldest son has had 3 years of "regular" school, and has no desire to go back, where my daughter has only been home schooled. My dear daughter wishes she could try "regular" school, but I can't afford private school, and am a little too skeptical of public school. I keep saying, maybe next year I could let her try it out for a bit. Then it never happens. I just tested them both and they are many years above their grades in all subjects. I would hate to put them in public school and stop forging ahead just for the sake of the school "experience". You seem like such a good mom, and I am sure God will continue to guide you in all that you do:-)It is great that you can afford a Christian school.

  13. Wow, what a post. Home education versus public education. We are in our third year of home schooling. It was not a decision that we came to easily. It was something we prayed about for months seeking the Lord's guidance. I tried to rationalize both sides of the issue, and have come to the conclusion and firmly believe this-my children were given to me, by God to raise, teach, nurture, and lead in the ways of the Lord. When my oldest was in public school, my time to influence her was limited. Having her at home now I can make the most of every opportunity teaching her how to make wise decisions so that when she does go out into the world she has solid Biblical foundation to draw from.

    I know this is a major issue with some. I see both sides of it. For our family, the right decision was to home educate. It's something that you and your husband must bathe in pray and following the direction the Lord leads you in.

    Praying for you,

  14. Hi Ruth, quick msg to say thanks very much for the water bottle - got in the mail recently. It has been very handy pregnancy accessory! Also keeps the rainwater cool. Thanks again, Kath x

  15. Hi Ruth I enjoyed your post on this subject. I find sending my kids to school hard even Tim who is 16 I do enjoy the holidays. However my kids love school but I do keep them home if they really want to even my 16 year old. Suprisingly this year he really enjoys Yr 11 and is studying very hard with good results. As long as they do their best as a person I don't look at results though.
    One thing I haven't worried about is my 6 year old learning to read in Pre Primary. I do see others pushing for this to happen, but I want her to enjoy been little as that time passes way too fast.
    Hope you can find a balance, I know I wish I could.

  16. great post...i home school our 11year old son.
    and have only been at it for a couple of i am very new to it...all the lessons are organized for us through distance education...i too have noticed that little miss does seem to miss out on the one on one since starting...but i have arranged for her to have a friend come over one day a week and she goes to there house one day as well she has 2 days a week at pre-school so she is very active most of the time...we have chosen home schooling as a result of our sons medical condition...which constantly made it impossible for him to attend school on a regular basis and he had gotten so far behind and missed so many days it really was unfair on him...thanks for the post ...

  17. A lot of homeschooling families form co-ops so they can get the benifits of mass education while still being in control of their education. I'm a member of a homeschooling group here and although they don't offer classes for my daughter to take they're very good at offering other social opportunities.

    Thanks for submitting your post to BPOTW!

  18. My first time here, and it sounds like home :)

    "For all You've done" by Hillsong, on your Playlist. Brian & Bobbie are 2 of our favorite pastors.

    Thank you for sharing...God blesses you continually :)

  19. I enjoyed stumbling onto your blog today. I wish I had a blog so you could get to know me a little too. Maybe someday :-)

    Its very easy to approach what we do in life from a pragmatic perspective. When this happens, we often sacrifice principles without even realizing it. I encourage you to identify why you do what you do.

    Here's the #1 reason why I homeschool (I probably have 4 or 5 #1 reasons, but this one really is the foundation for the rest)). And honestly, our commitment to the why is what gets me through the occasionally difficult times of being wife/mom/teacher/friend/whatever else. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (I'm not typing it out in the interest of space). First God gives the greatest of all commandments for His people--to love Him with the whole heart. Directly following that is the command to diligently teach our children this very thing. Note that we're to teach His words/ways to them when we are at home in our houses, walking by the way (driving in traffic nowadays, I think), going to bed and getting up. That sounds like an all-day scenario to me. I cannot figure out how to transmit godly values to my children if I send them away for 7-8 hours a day. In Deuteronomy 6 God commands the PARENTS to teach and He tells us what to teach and when. To me its pretty clear.

    A book along this line that you might find helpful: When You Rise Up by R. C. Sproul Jr.


Hi! Thanks for leaving me a comment... I love to hear from people :-)
Ruth xx