How are homeschoolers missing out on these popular school activities?


Students listening to lecture

Homeschoolers are missing out on some popular public school activities and likewise public school students are missing out on some popular homeschool activities.

Homeschoolers can participate in many of the same school activities as public school students. Many activities may be arranged in partnership with private school organizations or among local homeschool co-ops.

If you attended public school, perhaps you can relate to some of the things below that homeschoolers might be missing out on:

Mystery meat lunch-

Homeschoolers may never know the curiosity and confusion that comes from deciding what type of meat is on their lunch plate or why pizza is served with corn. Does anyone really know? They may wonder why everything is bland and condiments are limited to one domino-size pack of ketchup.

Pep rallies-

Pep rallies are popular middle and high school activities for some students and highly dreaded for others. Homeschoolers can experience a pep rally type atmosphere at a lot of sporting events but without the social pressure and crammed bleachers. It really depends on the child’s personality as many students look back on pep rallies as either fun or misery.

The Bus-

The bus, aka the big cheese, is an extended school activity that is very popular for all of the wrong reasons. Homeschoolers would probably be highly entertained by some of the bus antics if it weren’t for seeing it roll up to their homes before daybreak! Public school students would tell you that the daily commute on the big cheese starting before daybreak gets old really quick!

Teachers-

At some point in a public school journey, a student is bound to have the one teacher that inspires to greatness. They will never forget his or her name and influence. Sadly, there will be others they would like to forget because, well, some people end up in the wrong profession. At home, teachers also have the titles of “mom and dad” and your pretty much out of luck if you want to change classes!

Prom-

Some larger homeschooled communities do hold a prom or create a similar experience for kids in their area. In smaller communities, this is likely exclusive to public school unless a homeschooler is invited by a public school student. It could be an experience that’s not missed because they weren’t interested in a dance to begin with, or they could participate in college-sponsored dances.

Sports-

Most people think homeschooled students are missing out on sports activities. This is really a misperception. The Tim Tebow law has been passed in 27 states and is currently in the legislative process for 15 more. It may be harder, but not impossible, for homeschooled students to participate on school sports teams. Other options are joining travel and private school teams.

Honorable Mentions-

  • Stomach bug/head lice- Some things are not meant to be shared, but it’s hard to avoid in a room full of students.
  • Yearbooks- These can be fun to look back on or they can end up collecting dust. Large homeschool co-ops may have yearbooks available and smaller ones could start. Photo books are easy to make with modern technology!
  • Bullying- It shouldn’t be a popular activity, but it does exist despite efforts to increase awareness and student support systems. Nothing to miss here!
  • Clubs- Some clubs are open to communities and others are exclusive to public schools. Homeschoolers can find opportunities to connect with groups who have common interests among churches, co-ops and online if there is not an opportunity to join a club on a school campus.
  • Senior Pranks- It depends on the pranks as some are more creative than others but this is a common tradition among students “getting in one last jab” at their teachers. I suppose it would not have the same effect at home or would be hard not to get caught!
  • Wait Time- This is one reason some families decide to homeschool. Students spend a great deal of their time in public schools… waiting. Waiting on classes to start, classes to change, buses, lines to the lunchroom, lines to the restroom, waiting on others to finish work/tests or others to start. There is much time lost on waiting.
  • Fire/safety Drills- Sadly, there are more drills for various scenarios than in the past. Fire drills, severe weather drills, and lockdown drills are a common part of the school schedule. Lockdown drills are a sad necessity in the schools.

Likewise, a public school student might find that these are a few of the most popular activities on the homeschool agenda:

Field trips-

Both homeschool and public school students are always eager for a few hours or a day away from the regular routine. Public school students may be a little envious to know that there are usually weekly or at least monthly field trips on the home scene because it’s one of the best ways to get hands-on learning. It’s too bad public school students rarely get more than 2 field trips a year.

Sleep-

One day the powers that be in public education will figure out that a little more sleep will result in huge gains on learning potential. Until that happens, homeschool counterparts will be getting up when most public school students are getting on the bus!

Flexibility in when to start and finish also goes along with the length of the day and school year.

Breaks-

Need to go to the restroom or step outside for some fresh air? It does not require a pass or special permission at home. The school day is very flexible and most homeschoolers are done with academics before lunch and use the afternoon to explore other interests. Taking breaks as needed through the day is definitely a perk!

Pace-

If homeschooled students work on a skill that becomes frustrating, they can adjust their pace and keep practicing until it’s mastered. On the flip side, they can zip through areas of strength and move on to the next skill. In the public school format, it’s very difficult for teachers to find a pace that gives some students the wait time needed while others are frustrated with the amount of wait time.

Focused Learning

Homeschool students are more in control of their learning experiences and can spend more time on the topics and areas of interest. They are not bound by a pre-determined curriculum with little wiggle room for diving deep into subject matter.

Minimal Testing

Testing requirements for home education is based on state laws, but it is minimal compared to public school. There is not a requirement for state, local and federal policy which might require pre-testing, mid-term testing, test prep, and final tests. I don’t know any students (or parents) in public school who wouldn’t be happier about less testing.

Honorable mentions-

  • No dress code- Parents may draw the line at consecutive pajama days, but there is definitely less pressure to have a certain brand of clothing or shoes.
  • Personal devices allowed- Parents may limit screen time or access to devices so this may be the same for school at home. Some public schools do not allow BYOD- Bring Your Own Device- out of liability concerns, or teachers take up phones before class starts. Personal devices are more than likely used during homeschool as a learning tool.
  • Kitchen access- The kitchen may only be open at certain times, but you risk your life on a public school campus if you ever try to get a peak at what goes on beyond the cash register! A homeschool perk is definitely the access to favorite snacks!
  • No heavy bookbag- Hopefully the bookbags students carry today will not lead to future back pain because they are HEAVY! Nothing to miss out on here!
  • Visitors welcome- Visitors are more than likely called “Gran” “Nana” “Grammy” “Pop” “Pa” and no ID badge or special pass is needed!
  • No homework- You’re already doing work at home, so once it’s done, it’s done! Public school students have to bring school back into their home and that leaves little time for family or just disconnecting.

In all fairness, both groups of students have advantages and disadvantages. What matters most is the right learning environment and fit for families and students. Some students may start out in home education and transfer to public education and vice versa. When families choose an educational path that best fits their lifestyle and learning preferences, everyone wins!

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