Homeschooling vs traditional school, a mother’s experience

homeschool vs traditional schooling

As a mother of four amazingly different children, I have often thought of homeschooling them myself.. My reasons being twofold: financial affordability and to inculcate my value systems .

I felt that my kids would be able to learn at their own pace and cover more subject matter in less time. I wanted to incorporate religious and secular studies under one value system.

I tried homeschooling my five year old when I returned from the Middle East in 2011.  For a while she was happy to learn with me and she picked up very quickly. However, after a few months she wanted to have friends and got bored at home. I noticed too that she became withdrawn even with family members that she was familiar with.

Eventually after 3 months I enrolled her in a preschool and she enjoyed being with kids her age rather than spending time with her 3 year old sister. She has also became more confident.

My husband and I have considered re-introducing homeschooling again. In my experience, the only down side is the lack of social interaction with peers where the children can be too sheltered and isolated. The ideal would be to have a network of homeschooling parents with kids of similar ages and to meet regularly or to even have a classroom of kids where parents involve themselves collectively in the teaching process

The advantages of going to a school are the discipline and routine.  Children are more aware of and integrate into our multiracial society which equips them better for the real world. It also exposes them to the harsh realities and existence of bullies and they learn to participate in healthy competition and team activities.

In the end I believe that parents are their children’s most important role models.  If you lead by example the child will adopt those values.  Even if they learn bad habits it can be undone by practically reiterating your principles and values until they are old enough to distinguish between right and wrong.

Click here to find a list of preschools in Gauteng.

Click here to find oganisations that offer services and products for parents homeschooling their kids.

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Author

Nazmeera Moonda

Nazmeera Moonda

Nazmeera Moonda, mom to 4 beautiful children, Arabic teacher, loves travelling and cooking, endlessly curious about the world and invaluable Jozikids staff member.

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19 Responses

  1. I have been home schooling for 3 years. I have 3 children aged 8, 6 and 3. My eldest went to school for a term in grade one. We decided to home school because our children are so different and we did not feel one type of schooling would work for them. My daughter is arty and a dreamer while my middle boy is very bright and can sit and work on one thing for ages. It was not just the education we were thinking of but also the social aspect. At school my daughter only only played with children her own age and when we home school they learn to get on with all ages. They don’t even notice there is a age gap and when in the working world you work with all groups of people. Social aspect is a HUGE myth with home schooling. It is very much up to the parents how much they expose their children to others. That said there are also school going children that are very shy and ‘anti social,’ so it depends on the child. I feel that parents know what is good for their children and what will work for them! Home schooling works for our family. My children are happy, doing very well at school, participate in a lot of sport and social activities. I would say to anyone who is thinking about home schooling to really research what will suit your family.

  2. There are LOTS of home-schooling groups out there! Parents and children meeting with other parents and children, co-operative learning groups, outings specifically organised for home-school groups, activities and lessons specifically aimed at home-school children. Home-schooling is NOT isolating at all, if you make the effort to be a part of your community. My daughter goes with me everywhere, she interacts with people from baby right through to adult, she learns about the real world, she certainly does not lack in discipline and routine, but we follow her own routine, not one dictated by bells and administrative staff. I don’t see why she should be exposed to bullies at an age where she is still broadening her horizons and eager to try out new things regardless if she fails or not, a bully would ruin that for her, why expose her to that now? Schools group children by age which is very much NOT what the real world is like.

  3. A very uninformed view of homeschooling. Home educating a five year old for 3 months does not constitute experience! And yes, socialising your children requires effort. But if you read ANY study about about homeschooling anywhere in the world you’ll find that overall homeschooled kids are BETTER socialised than school-going kids.
    Discipline and routine are just as essential at home as at school and those harsh realities about bullies are learnt at the soccer/swimming/gymnastics/whatever club/s that your children attend.

  4. THis is aside from homeschooling. My daughter who is 12 is eager to learn different languages. One of the languages she is interested in is Araibic. I see that you teach Araibic. Where are you located???

  5. Hi!
    Hope you all are well!
    Most of us feel that we homeschool for ALL the right reasons and we as the parent should determine this as we are the caregivers. I homeschool my 6 and 4 your old boys. One extremely disciplined and the other a thumb twiddler. Both are different and in their differences, their spirits and hearts are best suited in a homeschool environment.

    My 6 year old is a self learner and moves at his own pace; he grasps certain concepts quicker than he would with others. My 4 year old on the other hand is a kinesthetic learner, usually not entertained at schools, he usually needs to make a loud noise or go fetch something from his room that WILL help him understand what we are talking about.

    Joshua who is 6 is involved in one extra curricular activity in the week that involves other kids mostly from privileged backgrounds. Other than that we are involved in many social work activities that involves the homeless, hungry and families that have been abandoned by AIDS. Both my boys are involved in a farming project that allows underprivileged families to eat from the patch that they have planted.

    No they are not getting socialised as most homeschool kids are, but are learning a whole lot from the world we live in.

    Homeschool is awesome, tiring, frustrating, gives you a sense of freedom in what you teach and how you teach, it allows you to experience the world without buzzers, you get to teach until your child understands.

    Although, I have to say this, there are kids out there who do wonderfully well in a school environment.
    Parents who also do well when their kids are at school.
    Do what you feel is good for you, your children and over all your family.

    Much Strength for your decision.

  6. I also have 4 children who are very different and have different academice requirements, although none are disabled or require specialised care or tuition. We tried public schooling as well as private schooling. As a last resort we looked at homeschooling. I can’t begin to tell anyone how my life has changed for the better. My children are up before we are, sitting at the breakfast table and can’t wait to start their day. Our view was a little different on the entire home schooling debate. We had a look at a system that could supply us with our requirements as well as cater for the needs of each of our children. Since we have become a rainbow nation, the education system does not cater for parents who are wanting to have their children raised and educated with a good solid foundation from a religious point of view. We are not fanatically religious, but I do believe that children need a good basic foundation on which to build character and produce a well rounded and adjusted individual.
    We have our children at a support centre where my children are taught using the ACE system and where there are other children whose parents have similar views and values. We have a certain responsibility to ensure that as parents we also give our commitment to educating our children, so even though they are at a support centre I still need to sit with them in the afternoons and “teach” them. There is no bullying tolerated, they are taught that even though there may be others that you may not like or get on with that they are also people with feelings, so learn to accept everyone.
    I feel that if parents gave their children the time to become who they were meant to be, there would be a lot more children going out into the world being who they were meant to be, and not who society decided they should be.

  7. Hi,

    I started home schooling my 15 year old cousin in the beginning of the year. His mom & dad could not look after him & his brother, so we had to take them in, in June last year. They are from a SEVERELY UNDERPRIVILEDGED background, and have never had any good role models. The eldest brother goes to our local public school (which I went to 14 years ago and was a great school THEN)
    The younger brother, the one I am home schooling, is very small for his age – probably due to a lifetime of malnutrition. He was bullied endlessly in his 6 months at that school last year. We mentioned the option of home schooling to them in September, and they immediately said NO. After the last day of school in November last year, the younger brother asked me if we would still consider home schooling him. I was very impressed with his decision to home school without his brother, and we started researching the best option for HIM. We found Brainline, which, in hindsight, really just is school at home.
    I don’t think that this is the best option for my cousin, as he has failed Gr 8, and is so extremely behind with his schoolwork, it is scary. He still struggles to read time (analog or digital), but at least we have him reading books now. I think the schools just passed him because he was on a bursary, and they couldn’t afford to keep him back. I make no apologies – he is and was very lazy when it comes to school work, so his being behind is nobody’s fault but his own. It also didn’t help that his dad was an alcoholic and his mom addicted to over the counter meds.
    He is doing much better now, and his first term’s marks are on average 20% higher than at the end of last year. He is doing Gr 9 this year.
    We are very proud of him doing so much better, but him and I often butt heads. I think he is lazy and has no drive, and he just loses interest the moment he sees me getting frustrated.
    We’ve tried various extramural activities – swimming, cooking classes etc, but he is very shy. This also frustrates me, as he is growing up with adults now, and not socialising with friends his own age. The one friend he does have, from the school he went to last year, is a very bad influence on him, and we’ve told him that he is not allowed to play with him any more. However, they still keep contact via FaceBook and sms’s.
    Any advice welcome. 🙂

    1. Cousin: Congrats on a courageous choice, you’re making such an impact. Perhaps a sense of perspetive may help on the laziness/blame aspect of the situation. My darling 14 (nearly 15) year old has the biggest, kindest, most generous spirit of anyone I know. He’s super bright, skilled at most sports, and well loved at church and home. He’s never known an under-priviledged moment, has the latest of every gadget and a room to die for. He’s also as lazy as any creature God ever put breath into :)!!! Some, particularly boys, take that much longer to mature. Most grown men will relate similar stories of back when they were at school for precisely that reason! Brainline was in hindsight not the best choice, but hey, you needed to start somewhere. We drill discipline on a daily basis, he’ll ‘get it’ at some point, till then we hang in there. Should you be reasonably close, my son would love to help you tutor and socialise your cousin. You can find either me Gemma Louise Etchells or my son Matthew Etchells on Facebook, sounds like YOU need a hand to pass it along. We’re friendly, slightly off the wall homeschoolers, who are more than happy to help.

  8. If possible I would like feedback from parents who have homeschooled their children and how these children have fared academically when they have gone on to tertiary-level institutions such as university or college.

  9. I homeschool my 3 boys, one of whom has learning difficulties and cannot go to a mainstream school. My oldest son is 13 and doing Grade 8. He is a Patrol Leader at Scouts, plays club hockey, sings in the home school choir on the Westrand, plays softball with other home schooled kids regularly, does guitar lessons and will be playing and singing solo at a concert in due course. He has led hikes and camps already at Scouts which includes children of all cultures and races. One of his best friends is a Muslim boy of 15 from Scouts. My boys are also friends with our neighbors son (black). The others also do Cubs and various arts and sports. At hockey they play with disadvanted children from Bethany House. I would say they are pretty social on the whole; and not just with their own peer group,but all ages. Still other home schooled kids participate in Honey Badgers at the zoo, still others are dancers and performers in various arts. I could go on all night. As for post Matric. The first lot of Home Schoolers are only in recent years really starting to filter into Varsities etc. I know of several who have been accepted at various universities and are excelling. Some are doing pilot training, others apprenticeships and still others are in the work force else where. They are all coping VERY well. Their self discipline and ability to work on their own stands them in good stead, as well as their ability to socialise across the board. As in all things however their are some failures – that’s life, but on the whole these kids are very prepared to deal with REAL life.

  10. Cousin: What area are you in? Why not a find a homeschool group that meets on a weekly basis. Join them every week and once your cousin is more comfortable in the environment, he should start to make friends. I would also suggest play therapy or some other for of therapy for him and you, you’ve both been through a lot. Have a look here: https://www.pestalozzi.org/ I’m sure they can point you in the right direction for support groups etc. There are also quite a few online groups, many on Facebook you can connect with.

  11. Hi All

    Thank you all for the very beneficial information on Homeschooling. I have been re-inspired to think about the education of my children.

    As for the Arabic classes, i wish had more time to teach. However, working and doing religious studies at home with my kids and my son needing additional help due to him having dyslexia, i cannot take on anymore students.

    To Cousin, i hope it becomes easy for you with your cousin. Maybe with time it will become easier.

  12. Hi,

    Thanks to everyone who has responded. We live on the West Rand, in Jo’burg, and I have learned a lot from your responses. Thanks for the warm advice. May you all be blessed. 🙂

  13. Excellent article Sister. Your arguments for and against each option are well presented and make a lot of sense especially to parents who have the same concerns. Barakallahu Fiki. Shaakirah. xxx

  14. Interesting article. With regards to the social interaction issue, many of the homeschooling parents who are part of our network tend to enrol their kids in 2 or 3 extracurricular activities per week. You should not be homeschooling if your child is not getting this level of extracurricular activities. There's no way you can be teaching speech and drama for example at home. It requires a group effort.

    The kids then have different friends with each class or group for each activity, i.e. soccer friends, speech and drama friends, etc. Then there are neighborhood friends, play dates with other homeschooled kids in the area, and so on. A lot has to do with how involved parents are in the academic and social life of their kids when homeschooling.

    Children in traditional schools can only interact freely within breaks which is less than an hour a day. They probably spend more time with cousins, neighbourhood friends and other kids in say religious organisations that the family belongs to. There are many education centres particularly in Gauteng and Western Cape that offers socials for homeschooled kids and even group excursions.

    So if a parent is prepared to network with the homeschooling community, there should be no issue about social interaction for their kids. Unfortunately some parents do want to "shelter" their kids and not make the effort to create the right social environment for them. Yes, soccer lessons early on a Saturday morning may not be exciting but it needs to be done, for your child's sake.

  15. Hi

    I would like to find out if there is some feedback with Brainline Homeschooling.My son is going for a big operation now the 2nd of Dec and would be wheelchair bound for most of Des,Jan and Feb and then move onto a walker.
    In a mainstream school the chances of him being tripped or kicked on a leg is so much higher.
    We live in a small town and I found a cottage school,who only takes 8 kids,they are equipped for kids in wheelchairs and they also give them 2 meals a day and fruits during the day as well as colddrink and water ect.
    I am just trying to find out if there is people who went through grade 12 with Brainline and still got jobs and could get into universaties easily?
    The cottage school has a tutor,but they only work with brainline products.
    Please help urgently!!!

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