Often times, when parents and educators talk about the type of school they are involved in, whether it be public, private, homeschool or other, we project an attitude that our way is the only way. It’s only human nature to do so.
The problem with this, is not one type of schooling/education works for every single child. I went to public school all my life, then a private Christian college for my math degree. My husband did public school and college. His brothers have done homeschool/running start. I’ve taught a homeschool class, I’ve also substitute taught in public school and student taught in public school. I’ve tutored a public school student, I’ve tutored an online school/running student. I’ve tutored a private Catholic school student.
I have experienced almost every type of school whether I am a student, teacher or tutor. But even with this experience, I cannot determine what is best for your child. Only you can do that.
Each type of school offers different things, depending on the town you live in, the resources you have, the experiences you show for. For some, public school is the only viable option. Maybe both parents work. Maybe it’s not possible to afford private school. So, you make the best with what you have. Maybe your public school is thriving and the students are academically minded. Maybe your school offers many extracurricular activities such as robot art (my friend volunteered for such an activity), or Spanish club.
In these cases, public school can be fantastic for your child, giving them boundless opportunities to explore different subjects and interact with many different people.
However, not everybody experiences this for public school. For some, like I was, living in a small town, we didn’t have opportunities such as these. Sure, we had speech and debate, but there were no programming classes, or math clubs, or honors programs. For others, they may be bullied in school, or just can’t handle the peer pressure. Many parents are trying to find other options for their children, as suicide rates go up and our world ratings go down.
If public school is determined to not be for your child, there are other great opportunities. One of course, is homeschooling. That is my option for now, since I am passionate about teaching and learning, which homeschooling fulfill these passions. There is also a vibrant co-op community in my city, which is very encouraging. Homeschooling can be great for your child if you want to make sure they get a Christian curriculum, without the cost of a private school. It can also be fantastic for children who may want to work at their own pace, not to be slowed down by the 35 other students in their classroom that can only go at the pace determined by the district.
There are many reasons why you may want to homeschool your children, and with today’s resources, as well as misconceptions waning on homeschool (in particular making oneself “socially awkward”) make it much more feasible than it was 20 years ago.
Even if you are a stay at home mom/dad, not every parent has the ability or patience to homeschool. Maybe you don’t want your child in the public school system but you can’t imagine yourself teaching your own child. There are also online schools that are beginning to flourish. You watch lectures, do the homework, video chat with your teacher, and sometimes go into an online school hub for classes such as LAB or PE. This can be great for a self-motivating child. It can also be a way to catch up on subjects that your child may have gotten behind. I tutored a senior once who was taking online math classes through an online high school, while also taking running start classes at the nearby community college. She had simply neglected to focus on the math, even though she was good at it and only needed minor instruction. Combining online school with a tutor can be highly effective, especially for subjects such as math or science.
Now what about private schools? Some private schools boast academics, while others boast sports, and others boast arts. I almost went to an art school for high school, because I wanted to pursue violin and orchestra. However, I also wanted to play high school soccer, and they did not have sports at the school. So I ended up going to my public high school, all because I wanted to play sports. Some of my friends admit that private school can be no different than public school, with bullying and peer pressure still present. It just depends on the individual school itself. Private school may be great for your child, because often times the parent chooses the school based on the classes, teachers, college prep opportunities. Because the parents have somewhat of a choice for which private school, they can find one that works for their child.
The point is, whatever you choose for your child for education is your decision alone. I encourage parents to reevaluate each year, no matter what type of schooling your child does. Every year is different, especially making the jump from elementary to middle and middle to high. A child may thrive in public school one year but the next year fail due to peer pressure. Another child may do extremely well in homeschooling, but may want to join a public high school for more opportunities. As parents, we have to be open to other types of education. It can be hard, because often times we look at the other schoolings with disdain or fear. And whatever your friends or family decide, it’s important to support them in whatever they choose. We may voice our opinion, but we cannot force our own education experience on other people. Every child needs their own individualized education and it’s up to the parent to decide what is best.