Homeschooling has 3 basic principles: Personalise learning, Flexibility of time & Different and personalise methodology of teaching. There are private schools who are doing that? And if yes Why not to choose a private one.
“Have you considered an alternative?”
When our daughter’s principal asked us that question, I was a little taken aback.
“Oh. You mean a private school?”
“No,” he said. “I probably shouldn’t suggest this to you, as I have spent my career in public schools. If I were you, I would homeschool my child.”
I am not often speechless, but in this case …
On the last day of 3rd grade, our daughter came home with a report card – and a letter stating that she had screened for a gifted program. Over that summer we moved, and enrolled her in a charter school.
Over the following months, we worked diligently with the school to come up with a suitable plan. My research (A Nation Deceived) indicated that skipping a grade was by far the best choice for her, but the school (and school district) would not entertain that idea.
That’s when the principal suggested homeschooling (and not private school, either).
Don’t get me wrong. We did our research. We visited several different private schools. We talked to teachers who recommended IB and AP programs, etc. However, in the end, I concluded that even the private schools could not offer the flexibility that homeschooling offered.
One year later
Our daughter is now (much) happier. She maintains many of her friendships with her regular school friends, and has developed a number of online friendships. She has taken university courses (Coursera) and is currently studying Latin online (via Skype). She continues to excel academically, and is also actively involved in online communities of artists and writers. She has numerous friends who attend private schools. I believe we have made the correct choice.
Response to comment …
Adelina requests more rational reasons for selecting homeschooling over private schools.
First, the caveat. Every child’s situation is different, so you may not find a clear answer for your situation. You will need to consider your child’s personality, learning style, academic capabilities, preference for being in social groups or alone, etc.
That said, try these:
- Ability to tailor your child’s learning/curriculum. For example, my daughter chose to participate in an Astronomy class on Coursera. It is unlikely that she could choose a similar course in 4th grade (in any school).
- Ability to focus in great depth on particular subjects (for example, musical instruments). Our daughter spends significant time with digital graphics and animation. She has her own Youtube channel and dozens of followers. She also collaborates on projects with other artists.
- In my opinion, and based on my visits to private schools in our area, private schools are unable to provide the breadth of courses available to homeschoolers (or even in public school). Public school can reach out to many different resources, and even offer the option to attend classes in different schools if they are not offered in the regular school. Similarly, homeschoolers have enormous resources available – internet; YouTube; websites like Khan Academy, BrainPop, PBS, National Geographic; online classes; MOOCs (like Coursera); local homeschool co-ops; local (and online) tutors, etc. In fact, there are so many resources available, it is hard to select among them.
- Okay, I’ll probably get some flak for this one – private schools have a tendency to be either preppy, or cliquish, etc. This is one area you will have to evaluate for yourself. You get to determine the homeschool environment.
- Cost is certainly a factor, but there are also hidden costs. Aside from the constant fundraising, there may be a tendency toward “keeping up with the Joneses”. In other words, fashions, cars, etc. may be emphasized. Again, another area for you to evaluate.
- In our state, the Department of Education has no jurisdiction over private schools. Therefore, you must thoroughly assess the private schools you are considering attending, including factors such as teacher effectiveness, class conduct, overall success ratings, such as college acceptance rates, etc. You may also consider observing some of the classes in session (if permitted).
The owners of private elementary and secondary schools in Florida are solely responsible for all aspects of their educational programs, including:
Certification, qualification, and training of teachers and administrators;
Content and comprehensiveness of the curriculum;
Duties, qualifications, and salaries of faculty and staff; tuition, class size, fee scales, pupil expenditures, and refund policies;
Student assessment, academic credits, grades, and graduation or promotion requirements;
Some conclusions and thoughts
As I stated previously, every student’s situation is different. In our case, I carefully researched many options (including private schools in our area), and my ability to educate our daughter. Our choice was for homeschooling, and I believe it is appropriate for our situation.
If other options were available, our choice may have been different. For example, if The Sudbury Model of Education had been available in our area, I would probably have opted for that.
Homeschooling is not easy. We would have loved to send our daughter to a school that addressed all of our needs and desires, but that was just not available to us. Your situation may be very different. You therefore have to carefully consider, and then select the best option available for your child.