Is Homeschooling Really All That Different from School?

School and homeschool are two entirely different things!

Sometimes I feel like a broken record.

broken record
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I have made it my passion to let people know how different homeschooling is from school, but it feels like it’s falling on deaf ears. Maybe it’s because people have just been so completely brainwashed immersed in what education is supposed to look like that they just can’t picture it any other way than that of the traditional school setting. 

I’m totally thinking of “Another Brick in the Wall” right now…Pink Floyd, anyone?

“We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control…”

You’re probably thinking, Why do you care?

By this time in our homeschooling journey, my concern has moved far beyond caring what people think about the way my kids learn. Instead, I’m more concerned with the way that other kids learn. I’ve recently come across so many other moms who realize that the system is broken and want to do something about it but keep hitting a brick wall when the question of bringing their kids home comes up.

There’s that wall again.

hitting a wall
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I don’t have time to homeschool.

I’m not qualified to teach my kids.

How would I know what my kids are supposed to be learning?

I want my kids to know about the real world.

But what about socialization?

I could never afford it.

I wish I could shout from the rooftops what a huge blessing homeschooling is- one of the biggest reasons being that it is not like school!

Well, okay. I could shout it from the rooftops, but I don’t think that it would accomplish anything other than really annoying my neighbors, so…

…instead I’m going to list the most obvious differences between homeschooling and school here. Again. And I’m really hoping to get through to some people. 🙂

A Comparison of School and Homeschool





  • Curriculum chosen by the parents, often with input from the student
  • Learning approached in many different ways, from traditional textbooks to following interests to learning from life
  • Children encouraged to pursue things that interest them the most; the arts and other interests given equal footing as all other subject areas
  • Individuality is embraced and celebrated; curriculum tailored to meet needs of students
  • Children learn at their own pace
  • School starts and ends whenever the family chooses; “school” often lasts for only 2-3 hours, less for unschoolers
  • Well, I guess all their work is “home”work; more time with the family due to the lack of school-mandated homework
  • Family decides which parts of the calendar year will be dedicated to homeschooling
  • Family has complete autonomy over their own children; no need to worry about unexcused absences or denials of requests for time off for family vacations
  • Children can spend as long, or as little, on an assignment as they need to
  • Children interact with people in the community of all ages, races, ethnicities, income brackets, and beliefs


If you are a parent considering homeschooling but afraid to jump in, I hear you. But please, please make sure you have an accurate depiction of what homeschooling is actually about before making your decision. This could be the most important decision you will ever make for your family. Do not look to people for advice who have never done it or known anyone who has done it. I’ve found that people in our society love to criticize those things they don’t understand.

Homeschooling is one of them.





Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

41 thoughts on “Is Homeschooling Really All That Different from School?”

  1. I love your homeschool posts! You are passionate like I am. I think we can’t help it! Hopefully those parents hitting a brick wall will realize they CAN homeschool and give it a chance. I panicked at first but then I remembered that God qualified me to teach my own children and I had already been doing so since birth. Homeschooling rocks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! When I started I had a family offer to let me sit in on one of their homeschool days, but I didn’t because I felt like I would’ve been intruding. I wish I would have. It probably would’ve saved us from the stress of thinking we had to recreate school.


    2. This is such a wonderful idea that I don’t think very many people do. I first “learned about” homeschooling by doing this “by accident” because my best friend was a homeschooler.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It has evolved for us as our kids grew. First they had desk in a home school room. Then they moved to the upstairs where there was more light. Now they prefer to work either at the dining room table, the couch or their beds. However, the Workbox system we used in the beginning is still a consistent winner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ours has evolved too. We started out trying to imitate school (because I didn’t know any better) and got more and more relaxed to the point of unschooling, after which we pulled back a little and settled in as relaxed/eclectic homeschoolers. I love that we can do things the way we work for us!


  3. I think that a lot parents get scared and start to believe that they aren’t qualified. It was something that held me back for a little while and finally I read “Homeschooling for Excellence,” by the Colfax’s and I have to tell you, it was like they were speaking to me. You know? They mention how there is no government interference in the first few years of your child’s life when you are teaching them to walk and talk, but all of a sudden the feeling becomes that you can’t educate your children. Crazy, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have never read that. I hope my library has it. And it is so sad that we as parents have somehow been ingrained with the notion that once our kids turn 5 or so, we are not qualified to teach them. That’s why I feel so passionate about getting the word out.


  4. You summed up the school system quite well. But one major component that you missed is, at least in the school where I worked last year, EVERYTHING was geared to pass the STARR test. It was all about the test. The children are not learning for the sake of it, but learning so they can do well on the test.

    My principal pointed out that there should be no problem with this because this is the standard. I think this is the only conclusion you can come to if you realize the education you are giving these students, really doesn’t matter. It was quite frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm… People always ask me what our days are like and ask to sit in but I think with people watching over I could never truly show what a day is and also, what works for us might not work for another family.

    Ps. I love this post and will redirect my friends who are considering homeschool but on the edge of taking that leap, to read this well put together post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you have a point there about having someone observe your homeschool. I would think, though, that it would at least give an idea of how much unlike school homeschooling actually is. Thank you so much for visiting and for your encouraging words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh I totally understand! I have so many acquaintances who tell me that they are so fed up with the school but they are all fearful of homeschooling. It’s so hard to explain to them just how different it all is and assure them that they could in fact do it only to see them try over and over again to change the school systems. I wish them luck of course, it’s their choice how they educate their kids but I know so many that would be amazing homeschoolers but they feel that they could never do school at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said! It’s so upsetting to see kids really struggling in school and their parents who feel helpless but are too afraid to try anything other than a system that just isn’t working for their child.


    1. There are so many resources we have available between the library, free educational websites, curriculum with tutorials, tutors, etc. that homeschool parents don’t have to know everything. Thank God!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting read – I don’t think homeschooling is as big here in the UK as it is in the US? I’m more than happy with my daughter going to school, she’s only been there for a year but the benefits have been huge. I guess it depends on your child, the school options and the family. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are about 2.5 million homeschoolers in the US right now. I’m not really sure about the UK, but I have ‘met’ several homeschoolers from the UK online. We absolutely love it! Thanks for commenting!


  8. I used to think homeschooling was madness, but seeing my son’s three years of primary school education I can’t help but think the opportunity to tailor his education and learning to just him would be a fantastic opportunity. The circumstances aren’t right for us but I’m far more open minded on this topic than I once was. Good luck to you all! #KCACOL

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I applaud those who can homeschool. I just know that I could not. As I have said before I seriously don’t have the patience. I hate having to even help with homework. Maybe it is all related to the fact that I hated school but managed to graduate and go onto college but ended up quitting college and finishing a trade school. If I was interested in homeschooling this would be a great reference guide. Thanks for linking with #momsterslink and I hope to see you again tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually have a post planned for the future when I will write about how homeschooling is actually less hectic for us than sending our kids to school. It’s funny that I’m completely the opposite of you in that I absolutely loved school, and now I can’t stand it, while you hated it and now you’re okay with it. Isn’t life funny?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I remember years ago when I sent my kids back to school for a while because I had completely overdone it with homeschooling. At first, I used to open the living room window, sit in the recliner, and just listen to the crickets chirping because I could never hear that when all the kids were home. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I really love the idea of homeschooling and I think it offers you so much more time and flexibility. I just don’t think I’d have the patience! However I don’t believe in homework at all, especially for really young children and I make that very clear to the teachers that are involved in my daughters education. There are so many more important things than homework. Thank you so much for linking up to #KCACOLS and hope to see you back next week! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m curious how your daughter’s teachers responded to that. I agree with you completely about homework. I once heard it described like this- everyone else (the general public) is expected to complete their job within the hours of their work time, and if they do not, it is their responsibility to finish it. Yet teachers are able to not finish everything and then send it home for someone else (the parents) to take over. As if 6-7 hours a day isn’t enough already.


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