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School Choice: Public, Private, or Homeschool - Let's Talk About It


Come with me as we talk pros and cons of school choice options!

As a teacher, I have taught in homeschool, public school, and private school. As a parent, I have had my children in all three as well. We had good and bad experiences with them all. Using that knowledge and some help from a few friends, I compiled these lists of pros and cons for each option to help you make an educated decision on what works best for your family. My best advice is to do your research on whichever school or curriculum you choose so you are prepared for your choice. Also, in case no one has told you, do what is best for your child each year, you know them well. Be their advocate to ensure they get the education they deserve.

Public School

Pros

Cons

It is free for a child to attend a public school as it is paid for by state governments

Transportation is provided with a busing system.

Teachers are required to have certain credentials due to state funding.

Public schools may provide activities for students to become involved in, such as clubs, sports, and fine arts at no expense to students.

Public schools may provide services for students with disabilities at no cost.


Large class sizes may not provide a student one on one assistance when needed.

Many schools have cut programs such as art, PE, and music due to funding cuts, which then limit a student's involvement in activities.

The schools often give standardized tests that are required and schools are often "graded" based on students' performance on these tests. Unfortunately, this means there is a great focus on “teaching to the test”.

Public schools have a large number of students, and sometimes there are often limited numbers of teachers.

In a regular education classroom, academically advanced students may not be challenged as well as they could because the teacher has to work with all students, and often average or lower students need more of the teacher’s time. These more advanced students cannot move ahead until the rest of the class is able to.

Because it is state-funded, religious beliefs cannot be shared.


Private School

Pros

Cons

Most times it is a smaller environment with smaller class sizes.

Usually funded by private sources and tuition from students which enables religion to be expressed.

Because class sizes are smaller, there is often more one-on-one assistance, and students are able to be challenged as needed.

There is less emphasis on standardized testing, though there is accountability to the accreditation board that oversees the school. [Some examples are: American Association of Christian Schools (AACS), Christian Schools International (CSI), International Christian Accrediting Association, Montessori School Accreditation Commission, National Christian School Association, National Independent Private Schools Association]

These schools typically still include PE, art, and music daily or weekly to give students a well-rounded education. 

The curriculum is often more challenging and rigorous than the public school curriculum.

Because private schools are centered around a teaching style or religion, the students, teachers, and parents tend to be more like-minded and a community is built.

Because the school is smaller and there may be less funding, there are often fewer choices for electives.

Sports programs may be fewer, and any sports played will be in a smaller division.

Teachers don't necessarily have to have a teaching degree, though there are requirements set by the accreditation board. 

Typically, there are no special education classes offered. Though there are some private schools that provide this.

Often there is an entrance exam, interview, and possibly other factors to determine eligibility


Homeschool

Pros

Cons

Parents and children are able to choose a curriculum that meets their interests.

There is more flexibility in the schedule, with parents able to provide more hands-on experiences that can be used to enhance their curriculum.

There are online homeschool options for those that wish to homeschool but not be required to be knowledgeable in all subjects.

Children can be taught to their learning styles. For children with learning disabilities, ADHD, or other types of issues, homeschooling may give these children the ability to be taught in productive ways according to what works well for them as parents learn these strategies.

Children can move at their own pace: slower for children who are more academically challenged or faster for those who are able to move at a quicker pace.

Since parents are the ones teaching the children, this style of schooling lends itself to better relationships within the home setting. 

Homeschooling 

There is a variety of programs available for homeschooling families now as it has become more popular recently, Local universities, recreation centers, and other facilities have begun homeschooling PE, art, dance, and visual art classes. 

Homeschool co-ops are available where many students gather in local facilities with parents teaching subjects in their areas of expertise.

 In most cases, homeschool students may be eligible to play sports at their zoned public school.

The curriculum material must be researched and bought which can be quite costly.

Parents are completely in charge of their child's education. They need to establish a well-rounded educational foundation, especially if college is a goal of the student.

State requirements for homeschools vary making it inconsistent across the country.

Students are limited in their ability to attend classes with other children, and it takes an effort on the part of the parent to ensure that the children are given opportunities in the community to interact.

Typically, one parent will have to give up their job and income to teach their child/children. This can cause a strain on the family, both financially and with the parent being with their children most of the time.


Are you deciding which type of schooling you want for your child? What part of this was most helpful?

 

Blessings,


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