One of the most important decisions we will make as parents is how to educate our children. Finding the right school can be a tiring endeavor, yet well worth the effort. Many parents actually choose the neighborhood they will live in based on the school(s) they want their children to attend. While education is very important and we all want what’s best for our children, it is critical that as parents to realize that we are our children’s first teachers and all the responsibility of educating our children does not belong to the school system. With that being said, here are some practical tips on how to assess your child’s educational options.
The great news about education in America is that we indeed have options. Let’s examine the most common ones here:
● Daycare/Preschool – This can be one of the toughest choices for many moms to make because, in most instances, you are entrusting your non-talking, non-walking, extremely dependent child to complete strangers for the better part of a day. You have to decide which is more important at this stage of development: a loving, caring, nurturing environment or a highly academic one. You can opt for a home daycare, an independent daycare or a chain daycare. The options are almost endless. And, don’t forget that you are not the only one looking. Often times there is a waiting list depending on your child’s age, so start looking long before you actually need the service.
● Public school – Public schools, in general, are getting a bad rap in our nation. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), public schools in the United States rank 17th compared to other industrialized nations. However, depending on where you live in the US or in your state there may be some top-ranking public schools. See how your school district ranks here.
● Private school – Many assume that private schools are better than public schools because they are paying for the education. But remember, we pay for public school education, too. Private schools can be plagued with many of the same challenges that public schools face. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) offers these reasons why private education benefits students.
● Charter school – There are some parents who have become fed up with educational options in their communities, so they come together and develop charter schools. According the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “A public charter school is a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a legislative contract (or charter) with the state or jurisdiction. The charter exempts the school from certain state or local rules and regulations. In return for flexibility and autonomy, the charter school must meet the accountability standards stated in its charter.” Some of the benefits of charter schools can be found here.
● Montessori school – The montessori school model is one that has gained significantly in popularity in recent years. My mother currently serves as Head of Schools at a montessori school and I have had the privilege of observing several classrooms and students. I must admit that it is an interesting, and often times, extremely effective model. Learn more about Montessori education.
● Homeschool – This is an educational option I have considered on MANY occasions, however my husband says I don’t have the patience. (Who me?!?!? ) Not to mention the fact that I have a full time job. However, in my research of homeschooling I have come to realize that there are many homeschool parents who work full time. There are also some parents who hire others to homeschool their children. So, I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can find some great information about and resources for homeschooling at the #1 homeschooling community.
Whichever educational route you choose to take for your child(ren), I am confident you will have their best interest at heart. Please share your “school choice” story with us.
Until next time-
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 NIV)