First Things First
So you have come to the conclusion that public school may not be the very best choice for your children. You are not alone, even though you may feel like it. Where do you start? Maybe even more important, where do you stop? I mean, when do you stop looking at options and just pick one? This post will help you see some of the considerations you should think about when choosing an alternative to regular public schools in your district.
Last week, I interviewed Audrey Rindlisbacher from the Ten Boom Institute. I really learned a lot from her, but I think one of the most powerful takeaways from the interview for me was the idea that if you are not thrilled about staying home with your children and spending every day with them… then homeschool may not be for you. You can hear all of Audrey’s great interview right by clicking right here. Before you consider anything else, the most important consideration is your relationship with your children. As you read through this post and start to consider what your options really are, ask yourself if your relationship with your children will be able to thrive under each program or system. Without question, my wife’s favorite thing about homeschool is the relationships she has built with our children.
Let’s just start with the different alternatives to public school, of which, homeschooling is only one.
So Many Options
It does not take very long to realize that there are lots and lots of homeschooling and other alternative options. Here are some that you might have already considered. (click on the “plus” to see a description)
[su_spoiler title=”Charter Schools”]These are still public schools, but with a twist. It is funded by the government, but organized by teachers, parents, or organizations. It is built upon a charter that should direct its choices in curriculum, organizational structure, and classroom experience. One benefit to a charter school is the limited enrollment and your ability to choose a school whose charter fits you and your children’s educational goals.[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”K-12 Online (or other similar online program)”]This is also a public alternative to public school… if that makes sense. We have also used K12 where we are and it served its purpose. They develop their own curriculum. Each child receives a “teacher” that follows up with their progress. Our children even received little motivators in the mail to keep going. She would send medallions and pizza coupons for reading. My wife said she felt like this was still overly prescribed and too easy for the children to just skirt along rather than really engaging in the education process. So that is why we changed gears and left K12.[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Harmony Education”]This is a Utah/Idaho-based group, but I am sure there are other similar hybrids available throughout the country. This hybrid option partners with charter schools and allows you to mix your education taking some courses online and others a partner charter school. This gives even a little more flexibility to those parents that may want to homeschool in a subject or two but don’t want the burden of developing every subject. Check them out at www.harmonyed.com [/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Private Schools”]The advantage with private schools is that you have an educational system that is free of the bureaucracy that limits public schools. They can really do what is best for the students without worrying about a Common Core or No Child Left Behind Act. Also, they are financially motivated to succeed with your children. If they don’t succeed, then you will take your child (and your money) and go somewhere else. The drawback to this option is the cost. Perhaps if we are able to get a voucher system this will become an option for more and more Americans.[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Homeschool Co-ops”]Lets say you know you definitely want to homeschool your children, but you loathe math or science. This could be the perfect solution for you. It takes a little bit of work on your part, but can totally be worth the effort. You can form (or join an existing homeschool group). So your strength is history. Maybe you will teach the children in the co-op history and someone else who loves math could teach all of the math courses. This can be an excellent option and is actually one that our extended families used when our cousins were going through the schooling phases.[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Private Tutors or Mentors”]Sometimes you just can’t find that person capable of teaching your 17-year old stats. This is when private tutors can be worth their weight in gold. Sometimes they are expensive, but look around, you might know an uncle or aunt that does stats for their job and they would be willing to work with you child in exchange for a little yard work or shoveling the sidewalks. I loved stats… and I hate shoveling. It would be a great trade for me.[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Home Education (aka: Homeschool)”]Perhaps you can’t find a co-op and you feel like you really want to take the plunge and home educate your children. You will need to identify what you will use for history, math, science, reading, etc. Keep reading to see some of the favorites in the curriculum choices for various subjects. [/su_spoiler]
You can go to our homeschool curriculum review page to see what we have tried and like.
- Saxon Math
- Right Start Math
- Teaching Textbooks
- Singapore Math
- Happy Phonics
- Abeka Phonics
- Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons
- Explode the Code
- Sing, Spell, Read & Write
- All About Reading
- The Adventures in Phonics Workbooks
- Apologia Science
- Elemental Science
- Real Science 4 Kids
- Real Science Odyssey
- Mystery of History
- Story of the World
- Abeka History
- Bob Jones Heritage Series
- Tapestry of Grace
- Truthquest History
Find What Fits
Consider these questions:
What is your child’s learning style?
What subjects is your child most excited about learning?
When have you seen your child get really motivated to do something on his/her own?
How would you describe your own personality? Are you a structured, schedule-loving, organizer? Or maybe you are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, see what sounds fun today person?
Your personality as the parent and the learning styles of your children should really play a huge role in how you set up your homeschool days. If you are not a scheduler that loves to organize every moment, then don’t do that with your homeschool day. Just because the public school system use a tight schedule does not mean that is what is best for you and your children. On the other hand if you are a very structured person that benefits from order, then you will definitely want a schedule. Otherwise the randomness of the homeschooling days of others will drive you crazy.
For so long, the education system has prescribed exactly what your child will learn, when they will learn it, and how they will learn it. Now it is in your hands, and that can be scary if you let it overwhelm you. On the other hand, it is exhilaratingly exciting, when you consider the possibilities.