Private school or home education which is better

Private school or home education: which is better?

Are you looking for an alternative way to educate your children?

If you’re a parent, you’re keen to give your children the very best start in life. And their education plays a major part in that.

You’ve probably heard that smaller classes help children to learn more readily than when teachers divide their attention between 30 students. And perhaps, like an increasing number of parents, you’ve done your research, and you disagree with many of the conventional techniques used in state schools, like rewards for achievement or traffic light systems for behaviour.

Or maybe the state schools near you just aren’t the right fit for your child’s personality.

Whatever has driven your decision , if you’ve decided that state schools aren’t for you, you need a different option to help your child reach their potential.

But what will that be?

The two main routes open to you are private education or home education. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each option? Let’s explore so you can work out what will suit your family best.

Mum and daughter looking at a laptop screenHome education: the benefits

Home education is where you don’t enrol your child in a school, and instead take full responsibility for their learning yourself.

Flexibility and fulfilment

Home educating gives you complete flexibility to work with your child’s personality and interests. You can sculpt a school day that brings out your child’s best, and make learning fun by choosing topics that inspire and excite them. Plus, you’ve got the freedom to take a ‘school trip’ whenever you like.

If you home-educate your child, you can tailor their extra-curricular activities by accessing local amenities like sports centres, clubs, or private music teachers. Or if you get involved with your local network of home educators, other parents often bring a wealth of resources and knowledge that you can tap into, as well.

The world’s your oyster

Many museums and educational attractions give discounts to families who home educate. Some even run school trip-style days out if you book together with other home educators. And plenty of theme parks even offer cheaper entry for home-schooling families, too.

Supportive home-ed communities

In areas with high levels of home education, there are thriving communities supporting each other. Home-educating families often share outings and learning resources.

If you join an established home ed community, your child will have many opportunities to build friendships, learn and socialise. And they’ll usually get to know children of a wider variety of ages than pupils who attend school do – it’s an important skill that’ll stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

There are even Community Interest Companies (CICs) that provide home-educated children with a place to learn. They give a bit of routine alongside the freedom and flexibility of home ed in a forest school-style setting. By finding a scheme like this, you’ll give your child access to knowledge on nature and conservation, as well as exposure to visiting experts – something that most other schools may be unable to offer.

Group of children on a field tripGetting away from it all

When it comes to family time, a major advantage of home educating is that you won’t be restricted by school holidays when you want to take a break. Going on vacation during term time can mean big savings on flights and accommodation, and means you can enjoy holiday hotspots or far-flung locations without hordes of other tourists cramping your style.

Home education: the drawbacks

Of course, home education’s not all days out and family adventures. There are some disadvantages, too.

Knowing the unknown

Home schooling means responsibility for your child’s learning is entirely on your shoulders. Planning and executing a rich programme of learning across a broad range of subjects is hard work – especially in subjects you haven’t studied for decades, or didn’t enjoy when you were at school.

And there are some topics now considered essential learning for your child’s future – like coding, for example – that could be completely new to you as a parent. While you might be able to wing it while your child’s young, it’s a whole different ballgame when they reach secondary school.

Of course, teaching topics outside your own knowledge isn’t an insurmountable problem: you can outsource some subjects to a private tutor. But if you’re tying yourself to weekly lessons on someone else’s timetable, you’re losing some of the freedom and flexibility that home schooling offers.

A parent trying to teach a distracted childStrength in numbers

Some activities, like team sports, may be harder for your child to participate in if you home school. That’s particularly true if your local home-schooling community is quite small and you’re not close to local sports clubs and leisure facilities.

There’s also a concern that children who don’t see the same classmates every day could have difficulties developing their social skills, too.

Lifelong financial sacrifices

For most families, home schooling often means one parent must sacrifice their career and earning potential – either in whole or in part – as they dedicate so much time to teaching their child.

It’s a huge financial decision, and unfortunately, stats show that women, in particular, struggle to regain their career trajectory when they take time out of the workplace to have a family. It’s not hard to imagine that this would be magnified if you were out of the workplace for several years to home school your child.

And if, as we mentioned earlier, you decide to pay a private tutor to help when your child has outgrown your knowledge and ability, the cost can add up. You’re adding yet more burden to your financial position.

So although homeschooling doesn’t come with the hefty fees of a private school, the financial impacts on your family could actually be far higher. And much longer lasting. And that means you’re far more likely to have to say goodbye to dreams of early retirement, a second home in the sun, or the luxury holidays you’d been planning.

Private school: the benefits

So what about private school? How does it measure up?

Tailored teaching

Choosing a private school will give your child the benefit of smaller class sizes and high-quality teachers. Being independent of government control, private schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Instead, they’re free to teach a broader or more focused programme of learning. Many private schools offer forward-looking classes or specialise in a particular area like sports, science or performing arts.

Group of children in a classroomFantastic Facilities

Funded by school fees, private schools can give your child access to resources that most home educators (and state school pupils) could only dream of, like incredible sports facilities or state-of-the-art science departments with rooftop observatories. Home educating parents would be hard-pressed to match the kinds of experiences their child could get at a private school.

Consistent classmates

In a private school, your child will have a steady group of peers around them. It’s a stable environment that allows them to settle into their learning and form long-lasting friendships.

Best of both: private schooling and homeschooling combined

If you’re torn between the dream of homeschooling and the fear of being responsible for your child’s entire education, don’t worry, help is at hand -there’s now a school that’ll help your child get the benefits of both.

Minerva Virtual is a private school that offers 100% online learning for students, so they can use technology to benefit from a mix of online resources and one-to-one support. Of course, being a private school, there are fees to be paid.

Which brings us neatly to the drawbacks of private school.

Private school: the drawbacks

A childs hand using a calculatorThe main drawback of sending your child to an independent school is the cost of school fees. Depending on the school you choose, the fees can seem daunting for many families. And that’s before you take into account extra costs like trips and uniforms.

Unfortunately, this can mean that some parents feel a private education is out of reach for their child. But that’s not necessarily true: many public schools offer scholarships and bursarie , and there are other ways to reduce independent school fees, too.

It’s important to know that you can ease the financial burden of school fees on your family significantly. Parents considering a private school often find that thorough financial planning [makes the crucial difference between fees feeling crippling, and affordable.

If you’d like expert help in planning your child’s school fees, contact us to find out how you can fund your child’s private education without sacrificing your own long term goals.