Make a list of what you want your child’s education to accomplish for him or her and your family. Here is my example list for my oldest daughter:
- Educationally rigorous in order to challenge her mentally
- Flexible hours and locations because of her health problems
- Affordable, cheap even
- Reusable for the other two younger siblings if need be
- Comprehensive for my own piece of mind
- Biblical was a bonus if it was educationally challenging
- Certain grades and subjects available on CD-ROM
- Certain grades and subjects easily expandable into quality in-depth applications
- Teaches real life experiences
As you can see in this list, I considered multiple factors over the twelve years she was in school. You can build your own list by asking yourself the following questions and then ranking your answers.
Questions to help in making your list:
- What kind of education quality are you looking for? Does your child have special needs? (This could mean gifted or learning disabled—they both benefit from customized education.)
- Do you have the ability or the need for special hours for school? In other words, can you be a stay-at-home parent or does your child have a health condition that keeps him/her from attending regular school?
- School needs to fit your budget. If you think home school is high, add up all the money you spend on lunches and buying whatever they have the kids selling.
- Is it reusable for other children in the family?
- Is the curriculum comprehensive and does it keep up with the technology of the day?
- What religious beliefs do you want your child to learn?
- Is the school compatible with your child’s favorite way to learn?
- What real life experiences does it teach? Are they negative or positive?
Types of Schools
I don’t know much of anything on charter schools. Mississippi and Alabama don’t have many, if any. Private schools are a huge basket of things. Home schooling is considered a private school in some states. We were Williams’ Raiders when we lived in Mississippi. We participated in a co-op for fun but it wasn’t mandatory. In Alabama, unless you have a BS degree in education with a valid teacher certificate, you can’t be your own home school. So you pay money to join cover schools (private schools). Then there are various flavors of regular private schools. You really need to be careful when considering private school. I have seen really disgraceful ones and then really good ones. Since you are paying the bills, demand the excellence. As my children get older, I have seriously thought about going in as a family and hiring someone to teach the collective grandchildren since I am working or supplement the income of one of the kids’ families to take on part of the duties and then everyone share some of it. This collectivism has merits, especially for scientists with semi-flexible hours or someone working a swing shift.
Research what is available to you. Then research the schools in your area. Public schools have their test results online now for national testing. Talk to people in your community or volunteer for something at the school. Look at the private schools and ask for a tour. Google your city and state along with the words “home school associations.” Ask if the private schools, local universities, or home school associations have co-op classes available. Go to their monthly meetings. These are your children and you are in charge.