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Mom's Time Out

Public school – home school?

Mary Angel

(3/2012) Public school…yes, homeschool…no, private school…we wish. Public school…yes, homeschool…maybe, private school…we wish. Public school…maybe, homeschool…maybe, private school…we wish. Public school…no, homeschool…maybe, private school…we wish. And this is where you find me today. Actually not quite since all of my school aged kids are in public school. I am currently interviewing all of my friends who had the bravery (or insanity, depends on who you ask) to go the homeschooling route. There seem to be different motivators for homeschool and I am determined to find out what they are.

It turns out that I have some friends who had no intentions of doing anything but homeschool. Whether it is the way they were raised, some personal opinion about public school, for still others the expense of private school is out of their reach, and for most it turns out to be a combination of several reasons that led them to never even consider public school. Most of the people I know who do not currently attend public school did start in the public school system. At least those that are homeschooled mostly started in the public school system. I do know many families that interviewed private schools and ended up foregoing public school for the private school offerings.

Private school has many appeals over public school, or so many believe. There are the uniforms which many parents love, not so sure about the students. There is no hassle with picking out clothes in the morning or spending a ton of money on the "right" outfit. There is also the idea that because you are paying tuition your child is offered more options in their education. Having recently toured a wonderful private Christian facility I can tell you that in many cases this is true. Their computer equipment was much more updated, every high-schooler was assigned an ipad to do their assignments on, foreign languages were taught at a much younger age, and there was in school tutoring available daily. This all being said private school still comes with a hefty price tag that many families just can’t swing. It also doesn’t guarantee that your child won’t experience some of the same problems that drive parents to pull their kids out of public school and into the homeschool sector. But if you have the money and do the proper research and interviewing private school is an excellent alternative to public school.

Homeschooling was always the big judgment choice to make. Years ago when I first started having kids my friends would say, "oh those crazy homeschoolers", and I would agree. Maybe it was jealousy because I knew I could never do it, or maybe it was a lack of understanding on how it worked or why you would even consider it, or maybe it was just a fear of the unknown. For whatever reason, I thought it insane to even entertain the idea of homeschool. It was one of the few things I said, "Never" about. I actually have a rule about never saying never because you never really know. Ironic that I am investigating homeschool now, see it is a good rule to live by. Well the years passed and I kept having babies and the other babies kept growing up whether I liked it or not. Until one day the first one started school. It started off great with kindergarten. There were no worries in kindergarten back then, or at least nothing passed basic "how was he doing in school" stuff. When my first son started second grade then my second son entered kindergarten. At this point we had experienced a few bus issues and some basic school conflicts but nothing to write home about and certainly nothing to drive me to what I perceived was the insanity called homeschool. Then my first daughter started kindergarten and the boys were in fifth and third grade and things started getting a little more difficult, but not yet unbearable.

It wasn’t until the middle school for my oldest, fifth grade for the next and my daughter was completing her first grade year when I found out she was being bullied at school, and had been since kindergarten. I then found out that my sons were both having trouble at school and that one of my sons may have a learning disability. After many conversations and meetings with the school we decided to move our daughter, my son could not be diagnosed so no one was willing to work with him in any way, and the educational arguments had become our routine every night at home. Even then, I still was not considering homeschool. It actually wasn’t until two of my children who had friends that had left school to be homeschooled asked if I would do the same for them. At that point it was a lurking consideration in the back of my mind, that little voice that says, "Well, maybe". Over the next few weeks they asked a few more times and the problems at school and with school continued and I started weighing the pluses and minuses of both.

I thought for some of my kids classes I have to reteach everything they are taught during the day again at night, so why not just teach them once while homeschooling. I considered the fact that I have been out of school for a long time myself and might struggle with some of their subjects. If I homeschool that opens up our schedule since that can go anywhere we go, but if I homeschool I can’t go back to work during the day when they are "in school". And what would they miss socially by being home with me and what extra stuff could I teach them when I don’t have a whole classroom full of students to accommodate. What is the right answer? Is there a right answer?

This is where you find me today, undecided and unsure. Knowing there is no perfect answer, but still needing and desiring to do what is best for my children and family.

Read other articles by Mary Angel