The Better Schooling Option
As parents there are a number of options for schooling our children. However, it often comes up in debate: Which option is best? Some feel that public schools offer all that their children need in way of a good education. Others feel that public schools lack and a private school offers the best option. In addition to two long standing sides, a growing number of people are choosing homeschooling as the best option for their families. So, which is really the best option?
Public schools offer a wide range of education standards often depending on your neighborhood. This is a good option for many parents because it is free (well, paid for in your taxes whether or not your child goes), doesn't take any additional time, and is fairly effortless for them.
In many cases, public school will offer a standard of education. While this might not be an above the mile type, it is possible for your child to learn what he or she must learn to go to college. Someone else is in charge of teaching and making sure that learning takes place, but it is important to stay involved because large classroom sizes limits one on one teaching time and makes it easy for some children to fall through the cracks.
Private schools often have advantages over public ones. With a larger budget, smaller classroom sizes, and more individual attention many private schools offer a higher level of education then there public school counterparts. However, this isn't always true and it sometimes comes with a religious cost. Many private school (probably most private schools) are affiliated with a religion or Christian denomination. This could be one of the parents following or one that the family doesn't practice. Additionally these schools can often be pricey and difficult for lower or middle class families to afford.
While this education can be superior it is important to evaluate cost, the education, and any other factors (such as required volunteer time, religion, or transportation issues) that may effect your families ability to enjoy participating in a private school.
Is Homeschooling For You?
Homeschooling is something that each family needs to evaluate for themselves. This isn't always an easy thing to do, but should consider many factors.
- Money- While homeschooling doesn't have to cost a lot of money and it is usually less expensive then a private school option, it will cost money. You will need to buy curriculum, teaching aids, and equipment for each of your children. Do you have the money to spend hundreds to thousands on your children's education each year?
- Time- A bigger issue that is often brought up is time. While many homeschool options allow children to work on their own, homeschooling will require time and effort from you. This is especially true for younger children or those transferring from a different education option.
- Effort- Depending on your child it may take a great deal of effort to make sure that they stay disciplined in their school work. It is very easy to get sloppy on the work that is done because of the lack of schedule in the home "classroom".
While for many years homeschooling was seen as a radical Christian movement used by religious parents who wished to "protect their children from the evils of other people", it has moved into a much broader choice. Many parents choose to homeschool to provide a superior education, to offer children choices that they wouldn't have other wise, and even to help a struggling child through education.
Homeschool is a difficult option to weigh. On one hand, it can and sometimes does provide the best option for a family. On the other hand, many times homeschoolers lack in education and it can be a huge failure. Evaluating whether or not it is the best option for your family can be a difficult one, but is an important step in the process of choosing a schooling option.
The Best and The Worst
Often time answering the question of which option is best has to do with who you are and what your family has time, money, and energy for. This can be difficult to answer for everyone. For most children public school is enough. On the other hand private school is more likely to challenge those that desire or need to be challenged, provide extra help needed by those who struggle to keep up, and provide an education that will look better for more elite higher education institutions. Which is best for your family often has to do with the area you live in and the financial status that you can maintain.
The Best and the Worst. Homeschooling is often on that falls on the list of the best for many and the worst for many. There is a reason for this. Homeschooling can be the best option for a family that has at least one parent home a significant amount of time, who has the determination to provide a superior education, has some money to put into the education experience, and works hard to make sure that the education is the best that it can be. This takes a lot of work for both the parents and the students. There should also be some measures taken to make sure the student has adequate opportunities to become socialized, both with peers and those of other age brackets.
Homeschooling can be average if a decent curriculum is provided and the student works to go through the curriculum in a timely manner. While many still think that this is a supirior education to the alternatives it should be noted that this education is comparitive (though often has a religious slant of choice) to public education, but lacks the social elements of public and private school. This education would be lacking.
The horror stories. In the ten years I have been studying homeschooling I have seen some excellent examples of a superior education and I have seen average ones. In addition to these I have seen some horror stories. Students who graduate from their homeschool programs unable to read at a junior high or high school level, unable to do simple math, and who must start in lower rated classes at community colleges. These are the least of the horror stories. However, they do happen. They happen because families aren't dedicated to getting an education together. Parents don't work hard to make sure their children are learning what they need for a better future and are ready for college if they desire to go to college.
With these things in mind, homeschooling is often an educational choice that works out the way that you make it. You can make it super, average, or below the norm. The choice is yours, but before choosing homeschool as the best option for your family, make sure that you know the work that needs to go into it and are prepared to make the commitment.
No one person can tell you which education option is better for your family. There are too many factors to consider. If looking at choosing an alternative to public education make sure you do your homework, check out the schools that you may be interested in, read all you can find on homeschooling, and make an informed decision. Education is often what you and your family make it, whatever choice you make.