Public school vs Private school vs Home school

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What do you think is the best type of schooling?

Public education
Secular private education
Religious private education
Home schooling
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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby manictheatrefan » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:13 am UTC

I went to a secular private school in Hong Kong from kindergarten to Year Seven (grade six in North America, I think) which switched over to the IB curriculum when I was eight years old. I'm now at a public high school in Canada (which offers next-to-zero opportunities for academic acceleration, but that rant is for another post in another topic). I've realized that the public school system in HK is very different from the one here. My parents never considered sending me or my sister to anything but a secular private school in HK, but in Canada they were very happy to put us in public school. The kind of schooling I choose for my potential child(ren) would depend mostly on the child(ren) and the country/city I would raise them in.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby Monika » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:07 am UTC

Is there something wrong with the public schools in Hong Kong, or why would your parents never sent you and your siblings there?
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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby deepnet5 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:51 pm UTC

I think the argument over which type of schooling is irrelevant, at least in New York City.
I've been a public school student all of my life (going into senior year of high school right now) and I think that I've turned out pretty well.
What honestly matters is how much time your parents put into schooling you at home early on and how devoted you are once things get harder.
At least in New York, we get to choose our high schools, regardless of location. So, I managed to attend one of the top public schools in the country.
I hear a lot about public schools in the city, but the high tuition rates are just not worth it. Why waste money when you could get a perfectly good education for free?

As for the other criteria, saying that you went to private schools usually conjures up images of uniforms and strict teachers while saying that you were home schooled implied that you were sheltered from the world and are completely useless in social situations.

I'd rather spare my kids from the judgment of others and just have them attend public schools, as long as public schooling doesn't change too much.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:24 pm UTC

Having done home-schooling over the past year with my oldest son for a variety of reasons (bullying at school, moving three times to three school districts, and working on some of his frustration issues), I think that each of the above can be the Best, with an "if" attached to them. I went to a public school, a couple friends went to a secular private school, further friends (the no-goods) were sent to a religious private school, and my son and several kids of our acquaintance were home schooled. So far, we've all turned out pretty good.

Public school worked for me because I had a hunger for learning that went far beyond the school walls, so the incredibly slow pace wasn't so m uch of a problem for me.

Secular private schools worked for my two wealthy friends, but they both opted to go into public school for Grade 11 and 12 because they wanted to be a part of a special unstructured social atmosphere (unstructured in a different way, at least). They all learned the same stuff we did, but they got to wear fancy uniforms.

The religious school here was basically where all of the religious families sent their kids, and all of the bad kids got sent, so it was a very strange atmosphere, from what I hear. Fights and misbehaviours and pregancies were more common there than at my school! Still, it did really help put my friends into a slightly better all-around atmosphere.

Home-schooling... well, I haven't met any home-schooled adults, but the kids run the full gamut from well-adjusted to "precious eye-sparkle" Rain Man. The jury is out on that one. Home schooling REALLY depends on the parents doing the schooling.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby modularblues » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:51 pm UTC

The best schooling is something that lets the students discover and sustain their curiosity and passion. More educators should follow Sir Ken Robinson's model. But since it's harder and less profitable in the short run... go figure.

I'm a victim of excessive and useless schooling, and trying to rediscover things for myself has been failing.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby Dippy » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:46 am UTC

I was educated in three state schools (I use the term "state" as in the UK "public school" means "private school" - not the only thing that's crazy about our school system) and have worked as a supply teacher in I would guess around 50 more. I have no personal experience of private school or home schooling unless you count tutoring kids in maths for an hour a week. The only experiences I have are of church schools which do not charge fees and of supposedly non-religious state schools. I have seen enforced prayer in both. I have seen religious tolerance in both. I have seen kind, responsible, thoughtful kids in both. I have seen vindictive bullies in both. The lesson I have learnt about schools is that the type of school, the ofsted report, the academic results, the economic area, the size of the school all tell you NOTHING about the school itself. If I had to choose a school for a child and had not worked in any of the schools being considered I have no idea how I would go about it.

The two schools with the highest levels of deprivation that I have worked with, both with a large proportion of children with English as a second language, both two-form entries (approx 60 children per year group), both placed on special measures by ofsted, both inner-city, both non-church were as different from each other as you could imagine.

One of them was a brilliant school despite what ofsted had to say, in that school I saw a child with severe special needs who had managed to write her name for the first time applauded by her classmates and hugged by some of them. Disruption to lessons was rare and quickly dealt with. Work was targetted carefully to the children's ability levels in the more academic subjects and in the less academic subjects children were expected to choose for themselves whether to draw, draw with labels, draw with a sentence or write a paragraph in answer to the question. (Eg in answer to the question in a geography lesson "What would you pack on holiday to a hot country?" answers ranged from pictures which an adult had labelled for the child as they were unrecognisable to several paragraphs about which items are important for sun protection, which items would be needed for the activities you'd be likely to do in that climate etc.) Religion was taught in a factual "Most Christians believe....", "Most Muslims believe..." way. Assemblies consisted of a moral story (non-religious), non-religious songs and "Let'sthink about....." which was a quiet time for reflection, some children bowed their heads, some put their hands together, some knelt, some pressed their heads to the floor, some sat up straight, some closed their eyes while others kept them open. The only requirement was silence.

The other school had an extensive bullying problem and discipline was ineffective with problems frequently escalating to the point of violence. All children were set the same work, if they finished they went and played, if they couldn't do it a teaching assistant did it "with" (for) them. Religious education was a lesson in stereotyping. Assemblies consisted of a rant about the children's behaviour followed by songs (about half of them Christian) followed by prayer.

The church schools are just as variable, academically, socially and even in the area of religious instruction. I have seen children in church schools treated respectfully when they were unkind and asked to consider how their behaviour might have affected the other child and I have seen them shouted at in the middle of the corridor while they stood in tears for simply walking to class instead of waiting and holding the door open for a teacher they hadn't noticed was there. I have seen children forced to pray and children simply told "If you agree with this prayer say Amen". I have seen religion including the story of creation taught as absolute fact and I have also seen the headteacher of a church school say "You have to choose for yourself what to believe"

So is home schooling the answer? Maybe....if you are an expert in every single subject.....and have a laboratory at home.....and send your child to join a whole load of sports teams.....and a debate team.....and have access to a junior orchestra which will allow them to try several instruments to see if there are any they enjoy.....and you can both spend the vast majority of your time with each other without both wanting to kill each other.....and you don't mind giving up on your own career (which was sure to be great since you're so clever and versitile that you can teach your child everything)......and you can cope with the possibility that your child will still say "Actually, I don't want to be a doctor/lawyer/[insert parent's unrealised dream here], I think I'll just flip burgers/go on the dole/[insert parent's idea of hell here]"

So here's the thing, you can't trust a school to get it right just because it's the type of school you think is best, you can't even trust yourself to get it right, so what do you do? Listen to your child. You will never really know what it is like in that school, there will be things your child does not have the vocabulary to explain to you, there will be things they will tell you that aren't true because they're trying to avoid getting into trouble or want an amusing reaction from you. However you know if your child is enthusiastic about something - if they never come home excited about something they're learning about you have a problem. Have them bring friends home from school sometimes, if they can think of nobody they want to invite you have a problem. Take an interest in their homework, if the work is not on their level or they don't seem to be progressing you have a problem. You know if they are scared to go to school, or if they become quieter and more easily upset than they used to be, or if their behaviour suddenly gets a lot worse. And if you do think there is a problem? Talk to your child about it, make sure they know they're not in trouble, if you're still worried then talk to their teacher about it. If it persists go back in. If it still doesn't improve it's time to talk to your child about moving schools. You can't guarantee that you will choose the right school for your child, but you can move them out of the wrong one.

Or, of course, hire a platypus if you're lucky enough to have one available locally.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby johnegood » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:03 am UTC

Hi, There's nobody more conflicted on this question than me.

I went to US public schools (except for the years that I was in London when I went to UK private schools which actually are public. or were).
I made it into a fancy Ivy League College and Grad School where I also excelled.
I have my kids in a snooty private school since my local public schools stink. But I don't like it. Especially since I have three kids, the school is expensive, and frankly, I think my educational experiences were superior.
I run a business which provides educational online curriculum, primarily to homeschoolers.

And I've read voraciously in the last few years on our educational system: ie

So Much Reform, So Little Progress
Disrupting Class
Taking Science to School....
etc etc.

Interesting thread, glad I joined....


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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby manictheatrefan » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:16 am UTC

Monika wrote:Is there something wrong with the public schools in Hong Kong, or why would your parents never sent you and your siblings there?

The academic pressure is heavy, and students (actually, it's more like students' parents) get very competitive. Also, it's pretty much impossible to succeed if you're not suited to the narrow and rigorous curriculum (mostly based on memorizing stuff and spewing it out on tests).

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby Lycoming » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:23 am UTC

My view (having come from the Canadian system) is that above all else, your teachers are the most important thing. I think I was lucky in that I had a lot of good teachers. I had one teacher in grade 8 that would often go on extended tangents about various political, social or just general life issues, and that taught me a lot more than the grammar or math that we didn't have time for (all i can remember from grade 8 math was 2x + 9 = 13, solve for x). I owe my first grade teacher a huge debt for helping me learn english when I first immigrated to Canada (though on that count I probably owe as much to the people behind the magic school bus) and for cultivating a love of science that is still very important to me.

Here, private schools tend to have smaller classes, a more intimate student/teacher ratio, in some cases selective admission and generally better facilities (computers, washrooms, etc.). However, teachers in the public system are better paid. Neither system really guarantees anything in that regard though. The public schools here have programs for advanced students, but they tend to congregate them all in 1 school (ie. theres an athletic oriented school, an arts oriented school, IB, etc.). They can be pretty far though, and I didn't fancy a daily hour long commute to high school. All they offered at my school was AP english, which is pretty much useless, though they did have good courses such as philosophy and introduction to sociology, anthropology and psychology. The curriculum felt a bit slow until grade 12, but by then the damage had been done, as I'm going into university with no understanding of integral calculus. There are plenty of kids here that just dont care, but you get that anywhere. Overall, the fact that I see the majority of the anecdotes here as horror stories probably indicates that, for its various flaws, the system here is not that bad.

But I still see the teachers as the most important part of the system and as far as I can tell, good teachers are not exclusive to any system. I guess if you have the money, a private school is better on paper, but at the end of the day the teachers make the real difference and in that regard, I can say that there's nothing wrong with the public system.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby markop2003 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:35 pm UTC

Private schools have their benefits though except at places like Harrow or Eton there's nothing to say the teaching will be any better. Any complaints you have just have more impact because you're a direct customer.
Unless you're going to a top of the line private school or a boarding school then i think the most important thing is what you do on top of regular school. Tutors, clubs and the general home environment will make a larger difference than the type of school. TBH you'ld be better off saving the money sending a kid to a public school over your average private and investing in a tutor once a week, a few books, museum trips and a cultural holiday.

Boarding school should be an option, there's more difference between a public school and a private boarding school than a regular public and private. Also dosn't this argument get confusing when public school = private school in the UK?

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby Monika » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:04 am UTC

How does home school save on books, pencils, ink? The latter too should be just as high as in school, books and related materials probably more expensive, even in places where schools do not issues the books for free.
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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby monicaclaire » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:20 am UTC

:lol: :lol: :lol:

My vote cast was number 42 on Platypus.

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Public school worked for me because I had a hunger for learning that went far beyond the school walls, so the incredibly slow pace wasn't so much of a problem for me.

Ditto Jalapeno.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby KestrelLowing » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:47 am UTC

monicaclaire wrote:
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Public school worked for me because I had a hunger for learning that went far beyond the school walls, so the incredibly slow pace wasn't so much of a problem for me.

Ditto Jalapeno.

Oh man, I envy you guys. Sadly, I am one of those people who really needs some sort of structure in order to really learn much. Left to my own devices, I don't really do much. I was also in public school and was often just about bored to tears because I needed that extra push to do something different, but I could never sustain that on my own. I don't need much of a push just a "hey, you should do this" but those kind of pushes are few and far between when it comes to academic learning outside of class. Thankfully, I was always involved with robotics, but I shudder to think what would have happened (particularly in middle school) if I would have been unable to be in the robotics teams I was. I was quite depressed in middle school - but robotics helped.

For me, I really think home schooling could have been a viable option until I finished middle school math (whenever that happened to be). At that point, I probably would have surpassed my mother's retained knowledge in math and science (she's a music director, so understandable) and would have needed a tutor or a school.

But, at the same time I'm already socially awkward enough and being home schooled probably wouldn't have helped.

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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby drkslvr » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:54 pm UTC

I went to a religious school for all twelve years of elementary, middle, and high school. My story is, at very least, proof that kids who are determined to learn are going to do so, even in the worse of situations. In the process, I met many students and teachers whom I love and care about to this day. Using the lessons I learned there I've been successful in life in everything I've yet to put my hand to. But at the same time, I would never send my children there, and in fact, if I had the power, I would not hesitate to make the type of school I attended essentially illegal.

Let me quote to you from chapter 3 of my eighth grade science book. (I was fortunate enough to find a copy of this online years later. Otherwise, I doubt anyone would ever believe this story.)

  • God created both living and nonliving matter
  • God created the major groups of living organisms
  • Similarities among organisms suggest conservation of design
  • Fossil records indicate rapid burial by the waters of the flood
  • Human beings are on course of self-destruction caused by sin. Only God can save us.

That's not science, it's theology. It's not even particularly good theology, and I got twelve years of it.

I find it more admirable to accept the world for what it is than to pretend it is something else, but if people choose to tell themselves that, so be it. However, the purpose of the law is the protection of those who are unable to protect themselves. Fortunately, by eighth grade, I had enough sense to recognize #3 and #4 for what they were, and I figured out the rest by myself soon enough. But despite my respect for an adult's choice to live in a fantasy world where the KT-boundary was created by Noah's flood, I don't find it acceptable to teach children that.

Society has a duty to protect the unempowered, and no one has less power of their own lives than children. I'm not going to lie. My community failed me when I was a child. I was certainly never physically abused, and I think that I turned out mostly alright in the long-run. But I was schooled in an environment where I was intimidated into accepting and affirming obvious delusions as opposed to simple fact. I hate to say it this way, but really, it's just another form of child abuse. I would gladly give a year of my life to have had a community that would have protected me from that kind of fundamentalism.

Like I said, my own story proves that kids can and do rise above that sort of thing. Despite the having 32 students in two grades sharing a single teacher, despite consistent teaching to the bottom of the class, despite the complete lack of college counselling or even encouraging kids to take the ACT in time to apply to colleges... I was bright enough to go to another local school and take the ACT and SAT on my own, on which I scored 35/36 and 1540/1600, respectively. Not perfect, of course, but good enough to pay for college and my ticket out of Crazy Town. Still, I know that when I am one of the empowered members of society, I am going to do my best to keep stories like my own from happening again. No child deserves to go through the kinds of things I went through.
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Re: Public school vs Private school vs Home school

Postby eaglewings51 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:54 am UTC

I do not believe any one school system is better than another. I believe that the best type of school is what works for you in your situation whatever that may be. It all depends on how the parents wish to educate their kids and how their kids learn. For example, some children just do not learn as well in a public school situation. Kids who have ADHD or who learn at a different rate from other kids (not meaning they have some sort of mental disability: just that some kids learn at different rates) will probably benefit best from homeschooling. Kids who have parents who work will benefit best from public or private school because their parents wouldn't have enough time to homeschool them.

I believe that no matter what education system you go through, you can learn from it and you can benefit from it in the long run even if it was not a very good experince during it. I did not have a very good experience in high school. I did not enjoy it and couldn't wait until I graduated. Now, I'm a college student with good grades, have a great life, have had good summer jobs, have been able to travel to South America four times, and I am, in my opinion, a successfull adult despite my bad high school experience.

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