Homeschooling Encouragement, Christian Homeschoolers

Public, Private, or Home? How to Make the Ultimate Decision

Public, Private, or Home? How to Make the Ultimate Decision

We know it’s a biggie… the decision about which method your child will receive his or her education is of monumental importance. Even seasoned parents can find themselves gnawing their fingernails in a back-and-forth state of turmoil over what could be the best decision, or the worst. There are pros and cons to every schooling method – if there weren’t, it would be an easy, cut-and-dried matter. The best thing for a nail-biter to do is take a breath, back up a step, and calmly evaluate each system before making an informed and positive decision that is best for your child and your family.

A History Lesson – The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria

There are lessons to be learned through studying the past – our own history is simply one of the greatest teaching tools for success in the future. On August 23, 1542, a fleet of three ships set out from the shores of Spain and toward the banks of the Americas, carrying Christopher Columbus, a man instrumental in the discovery of our own great country.

These three ships had varying characteristics – as well as certain strengths and weaknesses. The Nina and the Pinta were both smaller, sleeker ships, called caravels. The Santa Maria was a larger, round-hulled ship, called a “nao”. All three ships were well-armed, but the Santa Maria was much heavier, and eventually ran aground and was destroyed completely on December 25, 1492. The Pinta was light and fast, but broke a rudder early on, and even became totally lost in a strong headwind (although it did end up making its way back to the Nina). The Nina held true, and eventually came to deliver Columbus back to Spain and into the history books after his ultimate successful discovery of “India”.

So what is the correlation between these three boats and the choice of a public, private, or homeschooling system? We all want our children delivered safely and successfully back to our homeland in the end. Hmmm.

Public System


  • Convenience. Generally close to home, bus picks up and drops off on a set schedule.
  • No additional cost. Although you pay school taxes, there is no extra fee for public school.
  • Integration with peers. Kids are exposed to all different personality types – as in real life – and must learn to integrate with others and problem solve. Jungle survival.
  • Exposure to sports/activities. A wide variety of extra-curricular activities and sports opportunities abound, although competition can be tough.


  • Class size. Large class size usually means that the brighter kids lose out, and those with learning issues can be lost in the mix.
  • Rigid instruction. Public school teachers don’t have the resources or ability to customize a lesson plan based on a student’s learning style. It’s learn or lose – and many kids end up losing.
  • Peer pressure. If it’s a negative behavior, your kids are sure to be exposed to it in some manner in public school. Bullying is also an issue for many.

Private System


  • Higher quality education. Private school classes are generally geared towards college-bound students.
  • Future opportunity. Graduation from a private school looks good on resumes and on college admission applications .
  • Birds of a Feather. Private school communities generally stick together, and even look out for one another. Although some may perceive it as snobbery, being part of a close-knit group can certainly have its advantages.


  • Expense. Private schools cost A LOT, this we know. And it’s on top of school taxes.
  • Limited diversity. The types and backgrounds of the people your children will have class with may be much more limited than public school, making the adjustment to the business world a bit more difficult.
  • Time-intensive. Parents of private school students are typically expected to be involved in quite a few volunteer efforts with the school which can take time.

Home Schooling


  • Custom education. Your child’s curriculum is made-to-order, taking into consideration their learning style and varying educational needs.
  • Flexibility. You have an appointment? No problem. Your child is sick? No worries. Test scheduling? It’s easy to maneuver. Very, very nice.
  • Close-knit families. Lack of quality family time is one of the biggest downfalls of today’s society – and homeschooling keeps families together and bonded in a way that rivals anything else.
  • Faith aspect. You are free as a parent to keep faith strong and alive during the school day – this is becoming impossible in a traditional school setting.


  • Can be very time-intensive. With some homeschool programs, you’ll need to be your child’s full-time teacher in addition to being a parent – and that’s a scary prospect for most.
  • Social isolation. Some say it’s just plain hard for kids to interact with others their age in the same way that traditional school kids do, no matter how you look at it (although there is some evidence to support the opposite). Public school kids tend to label each other.
  • College admission difficulties. Although homeschoolers are being taken very seriously by most colleges of today, there can still be issues with diplomas and the transfer of credits. It’s not as easy as having standard transcripts. That’s why it is critical to ensure that your student graduates with an accredited high school diploma.
  • Wearing two hats is difficult. Being both a parent and a teacher– on and off, over and over – is truly hard to do. Lines can become blurred.

So now that you’ve taken a step back to rationally review the facts in a logical fashion – take the next step. Close your eyes and go with your gut feeling.

Which school system is right for your family and right for your child? I’ll bet you have an answer right there in your heart.

Jessica Parnell is passionate about homeschooling.  A wife, mother and former public high school teacher, Jessica has transferred this passion into her career as Principal of Bridgeway Homeschool Academy. Her passion grows out of a deep desire to see every child reach their God given potential and purpose through faith-based, customized, and flexible homeschooling. With over 25 years of experience helping over 24,000 families to homeschool their way, Jessica is dedicated to helping families understand the freedom that comes with homeschooling and to empowering parents, a child's first teacher, to feel confident in taking control of their child's education.

Publication date: January 10, 2014