Choosing the Best School: Public, Private, or Homeschool?

Choosing the best school for your child isn’t easy. Whether you decide on a public school, private school, or to homeschool your children really depends on you. Consider your child’s strengths and weaknesses, your local educational options, and your financial situation when choosing the best school for you. Do you have a child who’s gifted? Has one of your children been diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability? Use the tools provided here for choosing the best school for your child quickly and easily. I’ve organized links to local educational hub sites. You will have the tools for choosing the best school at your fingertips. Not sure if you like public school, private school, or homeschool for your child? There will be resources for each: public school, private school, and homeschool. Each is described in detail to help you in choosing the best school for your child. Check out each link to further help you do your research: local area schools, area co-ops, curriculum resources, and financial resources.

Get Help Choosing the Best School for Your Child by Learning Various Public, Private, and Homeschool Options Available

choosing the best school
photo by Sanja Gjenero

Most American families choose to enroll their children in the public school system, but according to the Council for American Private Education, about 10% of American families, or 5.5 million, choose a private school education instead. The third most popular American trend these days is homeschooling. Once a fringe choice, it has been steadily growing since the early 1980s. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, in 2010 there were an estimated 2.04 million children enrolled in homeschooling in the United States, coming in at a respectable third behind private schooling.

This is Part 1 of Series in Choosing the Best School

choosing the best school: public school, private school, homeschoolYou may want to read Part 2: Public School: How Does it Rank Against an Alternative Education? and Part 3: Supplementing a Public Education: Homeschooling after School.

Have you done a quick search on educational choices for American parents? You’ve more than likely come across several general articles that highlight educational options for parents based on bullet points. This article will attempt to dig much deeper into the issues involved in choosing the best school for your child. Perhaps you have an exceptional preschooler who is quite bright, or you have a young child with special needs who is floundering at his current school. Maybe you’re not happy with your local public school. Do you have a very sensitive child being bullied daily by peers in the private school? You want to choose the best school for your children because you know the importance of their early education. Use the resources here for choosing the best school. A simple article outlining generalities is not going to help you. You need additional resources that will help you in choosing the best school for your child. This is what we intend to provide our readers at Healthy Family. As parents we understand that school does more than teach academics. when they graduate, your children will have had many teachers, mentors, and peers influencing them. Choosing the best school means giving them the right community. The people in your child’s environment will effect his intellectual abilities, moral value system, and will have greatly influenced his overall attitudes. Choosing the best school will determine your child’s attitude toward family, community involvement, and most importantly, his own individual sense of self-worth.

Thankfully, as an American parent, choosing the best school for your child is within your control. Private and homeschooling options, although not the norm, are legal in all 50 states. Our public educational system ranks a mere “average” worldwide, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). So the decision you make when you’re choosing the best school for your kids is important.

In 2009 the OECD released their Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report. It compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world. The report ranked the United States a mere 14 out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science skills, and the U.S. scored below-average in mathematics at a dismal 25th place ranking.

The American public school system is obviously not without flaws. It is not a coincidence that private schooling and homeschooling are on the rise. Many parents of public school children are developing a growing dissatisfaction. Many public school teachers are also frustrated with the educational model. Perhaps the most ironic example of this is highlighted in Perry Marshall’s “Escape from the Institutional Straitjacket.” He starts with the story of John Taylor Gatto, who received the New York State Teacher of the Year award in 1990 and was named New York City Teacher of the Year in 1991. Marshall writes:

“New York City Teacher of the Year Turns Against the System”

When the appointed evening arrived, Mr. Gatto appeared in the hotel ballroom before an audience of well-fed administrators and principals, and delivered his acceptance speech.

The only reason I received this award – the only reason I’ve been a great teacher for my students – is because I didn’t do a single thing you told me to. I ignored your “standards,” I thwarted your bureaucracy and I taught unauthorized material. I filled out those forms that said the students were in their desks, when they were really taking horizon-expanding study trips. I had them read real books instead of those inane, dumbed-down textbooks of yours, I taught them real history instead of the porridge of revisionist pabulum you call “social” studies.

Your bureaucracy is a mill that grinds up human beings and turns them into consumer fertilizer for a planned economy. Human potential erodes as hungry minds sit in listless boredom, and teachers operate without the tools they need, just so you guys can fill your administration buildings with cushy jobs and give contracts to your cherished vendors.

That’s why most of our students can’t read after 12 years of education – yes, even though it only takes 3 months to learn how to read. That’s why most kids follow the herd into a bleak future instead of thinking for themselves.

Interested in a more philosophical background on public school education? Some educational experts are adamantly against our current public education model. Alternatives are becoming more commonplace, take a look at an innovative live cartoon lecture by Sir Ken Robinson, PhD., an internationally recognized leader in the field of education for his artistic innovations. This 10 minute clip highlights the flaws in our current public school system and how it discourages inventive thinking and artistic creativity of children.

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD.: Changing Education Paradigms

But implementing an alternative plan isn’t so easy or even ideal in some instances. Let’s break down the educational options for American parents into two parts, to help you sort out some possible pros and cons for your particular situation.

Part 2: Learn how parents can judge strengths and weaknesses of each educational model based on their individual child’s strengths, family dynamics, and the conditions of their local schools.

  • How does the public school system stack up against alternatives for children who require special education?
  • How do I determine whether or not my neighborhood public school is as effective or better than my local private school options?
  • What is a charter school, is it available for my family, and how might that benefit my children?
  • Can I use the K-12 school? (This is a public education model that provides a teacher and curriculum through an online homeschool setting that the parent facilitates).
  • How do I find local resources and curriculum materials for my homeschooled children?
  • What is unschooling and is it successful?

Part 3: Learn alternative educational options that parents can realistically apply to prepare their children their adult lives.

  • Teach phonics at home either prior to enrollment or in conjunction with your child’s kindergarten teacher.
  • Higher a qualified tutor to assist your child outside of the school setting.
  • Utilize summer camps and programs that cater to your child’s learning style and needs.
  • Take advantage of religious education programs for public school children.
  • Enroll your homeschooled child in sports teams through your local public or parochial school.
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