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It goes without saying that everyone wants their children to have the best education...the question many parents face is where will my child receive the best education, public, private or home school?

When I grew up, this choice belonged to only the very wealthy families. At no point was where I would go to school a topic of discussion. Public school wasn't even referred to as "public" school. It was just school. Everyone I knew just went to school...period!

Occasionally, in junior high school, we would notice that certain kids that had always attended school with us, didn't return after the summer. We would hear through the "grapevine" that they were "sent" to private school. It never seemed like something that was a good thing, at least not from our point of view.

I never heard the term "home schooling".

Today, educating our children...where and how is a major decision.We are all faced with choices.

My daughter (age 31) went to public school for all 12 years. She was diagnosed with ADD in the second grade. Because of her situation, I had to be a very "involved" parent throughout her school years to insure she received the best education possible. I saw her struggle constantly to stay on task and keep up with the class. Pre-teaching and tutoring was a must.I became a fixture at her school!

When my grandchildren (who I am raising) were ready for school, we happened to live in a town that had a small private school. I had seen a lot of things in the public school when my daughter attended that concerned me...drugs, violence but most of all extreme peer pressure and cruelty between the children.

I chose to send my granddaughter and grandson to private school. They attended the private school for 6 years. Although many things were much better than what I had experienced with my daughter in public school, I was not pleased with the pressure to perform placed on my grandchildren at the private school.

In my experience, private schools are very concerned with their "appeal" to the public to attract more students. Their best advertisement is to be able to boast about the above average academic accomplishments of the students. This of course works fine for the above average students, but can be devastating for the average or below average students. Regardless the pressure is on!

Although both of my grandchildren maintained honor roll status each year, I could see the price they were paying to "perform". Each day after school, they would spend an additional 2-3 hrs on homework. They were not able to participate in outside activities like sports or clubs. I also wondered how valuable it was to them in terms of education or were they just behaving like parrots...taking it in only to repeat it back...retaining little or nothing.

Last year, after much discussion with my husband and my grandchildren, we made the decision to home school.

We are now into the second year and for us, it was the absolute best decision we have ever made. Their grades have risen to high honor status and both are reading a grade level higher. Our day begins at 8:30 am and we are finished with academics by 12:30. We alternate days for science projects, book reports, research papers etc.

My grandson is finally able to play on the sport teams at the local YMCA and my granddaughter has joined the 4-H and is taking riding lessons! As we live in Florida and love to spend time at the ocean, we have the flexibility of time to take long weekends.

The most important benefit for us is that we have time to "talk". We have time set aside each day for what we call "Life Lessons". During this time, the children suggest any topic they wish to discuss and research if necessary.

Last week, my grandson wanted to understand why some people call other people names! (My psychology background comes in handy sometimes!) We were able to discuss in depth how people treat others and why some choose to mistreat people.

For my family, we are pleased to be home schooling because my grandchildren are receiving a top notch education in academics while being able to experience the value of family and life.

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Comment by denny hagel on October 26, 2009 at 3:44pm
Many of the programs I researched when choosing one for my kids, promote self-motivation and independence. They are responsible and taught to be responsible for doing their work. Parents are not their to "teach" every step (age & subject appropriate of course). My 2, ages 12 & 11, have learned to "research" along with doing their lessons through resource books, internet, dictionary etc. The atmosphere of today's home school is that the parent is the mentor and guides them and is there to share when appropriate. I love when mine run into my office and share some exciting new concept they have just learned in science or an interesting fact in history. We take the time to discuss it and sometimes it will lead them to want to know which point they decide to research further. I believe the most important thing about educating children is for them to enjoy learning...I don't know of too many 5th & 6th graders who assign themselves research papers!! When they were in the school system, they would be so stressed at the hint of a "report due". Currently they have a running list of topics to do reports on...they love obtaining the knowledge! The program I follow is fully accredited teaching college prep material. The program is approved nationwide for college acceptance requirements. I think the bottom line is that they are receiving a top notch education in a reasonable amount of time that allows them to experience a host of other opportunities in life that teach them valuable lessons about life that they can not get in school systems...and they love learning! It is like anything in life, be it working from home or home schooling, it is what you make it!
Comment by Shalvika Sood on October 26, 2009 at 1:31pm
Very interesting statistics and points. I agree with most of what you say on the quality of lessons and control of the negative elements in a home school. My biggest concern is the bond that such an environment creates between the child and the 'educator' (be it a parent or someone else). It can lead to a very high emotional dependence on that one person. So for a child who is home-schooled, the routine has to drawn out with great deliberation. I guess an accurate analogy for the discipline required can be drawn from the work-from-home culture!
Comment by denny hagel on October 26, 2009 at 11:26am
You bring up some great points! I do agree it is a personal choice...last statistics I read were 34% of school age children are now being home schooled, you are right, it is on the rise. I am curious as to the reasons behind so many choosing this option. I disagree with the concept of home schooled children "missing out"...This misconception has always been attached to home schooling but the evidence shows that because of the increase in number of families making this choice, home school families have created "groups" to interact with for field trips, socialization, and other group activities. In addition, typically after 5th grade playground time is minimal or non-existent and the kids they are involved with in the clubs are the same ones they would associate with in school.(unless you travel to a different local) While the environment of home schooling can be viewed as protective, it is protection against the negativity that occurs. Home schooling provides parents the time to teach lessons of life without the child needing to experience that negativity. From my experience, public and private schools, because of the requirements placed upon them, spend very little time actually focused on educating the child and most often what they learn on the playground is not what parents would want their children to learn...the academic lesson stops when the bell rings whether the student has grasped the concept or not. What I love about home schooling is that we have the freedom to stay with a subject for as long as necessary and sometimes the time is extended because of high interest...Which brings me back to your original point, it really is a personal choice! Parents will determine what works for them and their child and where they feel their child will get what they feel is important for them to receive! Thanks for your comment! I enjoy sharing & learning what others are thinking!
Comment by Shalvika Sood on October 26, 2009 at 9:11am
There can never be a conclusive verdict on the private vs public school debate. I would say that it depends on the individual' preference and circumstances. Home schooling is actually an old concept which is gaining popularity again. Though it has many benefits, my only concern is of children missing out on ‘school life'. In addition missing out on interacting with kids their age, home-schooling can result in them being raised in a very protective environment, unequipped to deal with group dynamics and peer pressure. Clubs are not a very good substitute for the lessons you learn in the playground.

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