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Homeschooling vs traditional schooling: What’s the difference?

While most kids attend public schools, homeschooling has become increasingly popular. In Singapore, homeschooling is legal, but parents have to submit a request to the Ministry of Education. Like their public school counterparts, homeschoolers have to follow the same curriculum for their grade level and sit for nations exams, like the Primary School Leaving Examinations.

Although the syllabus is the same, homeschooling and traditional schooling vary a lot in terms of environment and ways of learning. In this article, we’ll get to know more about the differences between homeschooling and traditional schooling.

What is traditional schooling?

Traditional schooling is school education formally taught by a teacher in a school to acquire knowledge. In traditional schools, education is divided into stages — daycare centres, preschool and kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, and university. Find out more about preschool in Singapore at

What is homeschooling?

Homeschooling or at-home learning involves educating all categories of students and children. These children learn under the guidance of an educator, parent or facilitator to acquire certain skills, knowledge and abilities.

Is one better than the other?

Certain factors determine which choice is better. Some parents might choose homeschooling for their kids because they realise that the skills learnt in school do not necessarily transfer to real life. Thus, they wonder if at-home learning brings more benefit compared to a school classroom education.

However, parents should acknowledge that education has different meanings for kids; some might benefit from a traditional schooling system and others might not. Consider your true intention of wanting to homeschool your kid — is it because you genuinely believe that homeschooling brings more benefits, or are you just being overprotective?

In a survey done by the National Center for Education Statistics in the United States, 91% of parents of homeschooled children chose the home route of education due to concern about the environment of public schools. While it’s fair to worry about your child’s safety, such actions can be detrimental to your child’s development in the long run.

Do your research

If the school is something you’re really worried about, perhaps do some research on factors like:

  • Teachers — how credible are these teachers? What are their qualifications and backgrounds like? How about their teaching style?
  • Students — are the students friendly, do they bully?
  • Venue — is the classroom conducive for learning? Some classrooms breathe motivation and life and make learning interesting, while some feel almost like a prison
  • The school’s system — what are the values and mission of the school? Do they have any policies against bullying or vice?

Most public schools are also meritocratic in nature and reward students who perform well. This might motivate students to do well, although the same system can be implemented in a homeschool system. However, traditional schools provide healthy competition, something homeschools might not be able to provide — at least not to the same extent.

The student’s needs

When it comes to choosing homeschooling or traditional schooling, the student’s opinion matters most, because he/she is the one going through this process.

A primary concern about homeschooling seems to be that homeschoolers lack the opportunity to socialise and make friends. This is somewhat true, as traditional schools in a sense force students to interact and work with each other through projects. This allows them to foster leadership, teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills. Some homeschooling institutions allow students to interact with each other for projects, but the main focus is always on the individual student’s education.

However, again, this depends on the student’s needs. A kid with anxiety or special needs may find it easier to be homeschooled. With homeschooling, the child is always surrounded by a familiar face and allowed more time to work on a difficult topic. A perk about homeschooling is that the educator has the freedom to spend more time on a harder subject.

Some other key points to note

Both homeschooling and traditional schooling come with equal responsibility. After all, education can greatly shape a child’s life and path towards success.

  • Regardless of choice, homeschooling and traditional schooling require the guidance of parents to ensure students stay on track with their work
  • For homeschoolers, at home point, you would need to hire tutors who are on par with educators in traditional schools. Here you have an advantage, as you get to pick a tutor that’s a good fit with your kid
  • Socialising is important — this applies for traditional homeschoolers too. For homeschoolers, get your kids to socialise with other kids of their age and teach them ways to think independently
  • Teach your child about cultural differences, how society works and the realities of the world. There’s no better way to learn about this through interacting with others from different backgrounds.
  • Homeschoolers might require counselling for them to feel like they’re not missing out much


First Steps Preschool @ Admiralty
701 Woodlands Drive 40
Singapore 730701
6365 6535