There are many different options when considering which form of education to provide for your child, but which to choose? You may have a child who is ready to enter school, and you haven’t yet arrived at a concrete decision, or you may already have your child in public school, and are considering another option due to specific circumstances. Whatever your case, here are some important factors to consider, beginning with public schooling:
Public schools are far and away the most common form of schooling that is offered to all children. However, there’s not much that most parents don’t already know about public school. In fact, most parents don’t even consider the drawbacks of public schooling, since it is easily the most prevalent option, and thus, should be the most thorough section of discussion on the topic. If you’re considering potentially pursuing another avenue of education for your child, there are many factors that you must consider when weighing public schooling against home-schooling or enrollment in a private school.
Public schools have the main drawback of being commonly unfocused. While your child is away at school, he or she may be safe, but individual children are rarely considered as more than a statistic when so many children are attending non-stop classes each day. Teachers are required to teach the exact same lesson plans to multiple students one after the other, and there is rarely time for interaction between your child and any particular teacher on a meaningful level. With stringent time constraints put into place, along with the sheer number of students being taught, it is often unlikely that your child is able to receive any alternative options if they are falling behind, and it falls to the parent or the individual child’s discipline level to pick up the slack.
While it is assumed that a child is consistently present at school, a student’s education or behavior cannot easily be tracked, and little real care is given to this effect. Public schools care little about the individual, and are more concerned about test scores as a whole than overall behavior. Children are not guaranteed to learn anything in their classes, few teachers have the ability to stray from their predetermined, cookie-cutter lesson plans, and individual children are rarely monitored beyond glorified babysitting. Furthermore, with the advent of technology and social media, students have the option to spend more time on their phones than learning, which is detrimental all around. So, what are the alternatives?
Homeschooling has all the benefits of a structured, long-term, individually-focused lesson plan, however, it requires a heavy commitment, and determination by the parent in order to succeed. In the U.S., 1.5 million kids were home-schooled as of 2007. Most parents are not licensed, professional teachers, nor do most have the educational background that professional teachers can provide. This can be circumvented with discipline, patience, and the right tools, but the difficulty and commitment level that home-schooling requires cannot be ignored. With homeschooling, you are in complete control of your child’s education, for better or worse. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can be purchased to aid in your child’s instruction, as well as lesson plans and other media that can be found online. It helps immensely to be tech savvy and familiar with current events in this regard.
If home-schooling sounds like a lucrative option for your child, be sure to do your research, and plan ahead. It is a high-risk, high-reward educational strategy that can pay off enormously if you and your child stick to it. However, homeschooling does have one important drawback that all parents should be aware of when considering home-schooling. One of the main benefits of public school that homeschooling simply cannot provide, despite what it may seem at first glance, is the social aspect of education. Most children need interaction with others in order to succeed psychologically, and the absence of interaction with other children their own age can be disruptive to any child’s development. If homeschooling is an option for you and your child, consider adding additional social outlets to your child’s daily routine. Sign your child up for a club, a sport, or any activity that promotes socializing, in order to prevent social apathy and/or antisocial disorders from developing.
Private school is often a hybrid of the benefits of both other schooling options, but usually requires heavy monetary investment in order to attend. It also suffers from the same problem public schools do, though attendance and attention can often be more enforced in a private school setting. Private schools have the upside of a more disciplined environment, circumventing one of the main drawbacks of public school while still maintaining a similar level of education. If the monetary barrier for entry is not too high for your income level, private schools are a solid, dependable option for your child’s education. Here’s a database if you are looking for the perfect private school.
Ultimately, your child’s education is an important decision that must not be taken lightly. It is always a smart idea to do as much research as you can on any particular educational option before deciding on what is right for your child. Consider enlisting the help of professional consultation, or discussing these options with a fellow parent who can offer insight into what might be best for your family. Every choice has its benefits and drawbacks, but as long as our children’s safety and well-being are being properly addressed, you can’t go wrong.