For years now, I’ve been torn about what to do with my children’s education. At the ages of 6 and 3, I know that I have plenty of time before they begin taking statewide exams, filling out college application forms, and picking out University majors, but I’m still pretty split when it comes to the public vs. private school debate.
Paying a good chunk of tuition money for my kindergartner doesn’t make much sense to me, but neither does FCAT testing, Common Core requirements, and dealing with a lack of school art supplies because of budget cuts. Like many families across the nation, we struggle with the cost of sending our kids to a private school, but at the same time feel underwhelmed with the quality of our public school systems, with their educational practices getting more confusing and less attractive each year. For example, one year no child is left behind while the next year first-graders are expected to know what “perseverance means” and to be able to identify whether a character in a story exhibits it.
I mean, is this normal?
Lately, I’ve really been thinking about homeschooling my children in order to find that happy medium in their education, but of course that doesn’t come without its own criticism. My own mother thinks it’s a rather odd idea (“But how are they going to find friends?”) while others tend to give me that glaring look while asking, “But can you handle having your kids at home all day with you?” It’s not about ripping my hair out while being indoors with my kids all day, but rather about having the freedom to choose a quality of education for my children while saving big bucks. Plus, it’s a far cheaper alternative than packing my bags and family and moving to Finland.
Believe it or not, controversial reality television mom Michelle Duggar is a great homeschooling advocate. With 19 children under her roof, she makes it happen. Her children are involved in other homeschooling organizations in their area and they go on special educational field trips as a family. Michelle has each child take a standardized test at the end of each school year and helps celebrate their biggest milestones. In lieu of proms and graduation ceremonies, Michelle recently shared on her blog how she and her family help celebrate their family’s educational feats:
We’ll decorate and set up a table with projects from their school years things like their first-grade papers when they were learning to write and all of the letters and words were written backwards. And then we’ll wrap it all up with a “This is Your Life” video presentation with images of them doing home school projects, or going on field trips, or sitting with me doing their phonics lesson, or maybe even working with Jim Bob on Mechanics 101.
It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate their lives so far and their education. They’ve accomplished a big milestone and they’re finished with taking standardized tests every year. But I let them know they’re not off the hook because I want my kids to never stop learning. There are opportunities to learn everywhere.
Michelle also prepares each child’s curriculum and personalizes their lessons to help cater to their own learning needs. While we don’t see many celebrities speak out about the benefits of homeschooling their children, it’s great to see a celebrity figure such as Michelle Duggar be so open and sharing about her family’s educational choices. Of course I’m sure it’s not easy, but it’s a great alternative for parents like myself who are split on sending their children to traditional state-funded schools. Plus, it seems homeschooling children these days gives them an upper hand, as most graduate at a higher rate and earn a higher grade point average than private and public school students. Moreover, homeschooled children have more time to focus on their passions and extra curricular activities compared to students in traditional school schedules.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that homeschooling is for everyone, but it is an option and it is doable, given the right circumstances, time, and of course, dedication.
Tell us Babble readers, what are your thoughts on the homeschooling vs. public education debate?
Photos via WikiCommons
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