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Choosing a School: Public/Private/Homeschool


In the days of COVID, deciding how your child will be educated takes on a new meaning. Choosing a school is one of the fundamental decisions parents must make. There are pros and cons for each choice. In addition to thinking about your child’s specific needs, you must take into consideration the overall family lifestyle.

Public Schools: Public schools will ensure your child is introduced to the children in their neighborhood. This can be helpful when you are trying to find close-by connections. There is greater diversity in a public school because all children have a right to a free public education. There is usually greater diversity in academic classes as well as extracurricular activities, too. Be advised that in the larger schools, there can be a very selective process as students head toward high school. This may keep your child from participating in activities they wish to experience. Public school classes are taught according to specific curriculum standard guidelines. In addition, parents can keep tabs on the performance of the school, what their child is being taught, as well as how their school stacks up based on a variety of measures. One option in the public-school system is the charter school. To gain access to a charter school you must apply, as well as enter a lottery system (for those charter schools with a waiting list). School guidelines differ by state, but for Texas residents you may utilize these public school links for more information: https://tea.texas.gov/academics/curriculum-standards/teks/texas-essential-knowledge-and-skills ; https://txschools.gov/ ; https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/texas-schools-charter-schools/charter-schools

Private Schools: In a private school a student may be able to experience a wider array of extracurricular activities than students in a public school, simply because these schools tend to be smaller. You do not have to be “heading pro” to participate in athletic activities or the school play. Check into the classes and activities offered in the private school you are researching. Some private schools do not offer the same variety of academic and extracurricular options that you have in large public schools. One aspect to consider in a private school is their alignment with your family values. You might find a closer match in these institutions. If your family values are faith-based, science-focused, computer-focused, etc., and this is important to you, a private education may be a good choice. Keep in mind there is usually considerable cost for a private education.

Homeschool: Homeschooling is a great option for families that value flexibility and the opportunities that go with that whether they be real-life focused, or travel focused. A typical homeschool day can usually be completed in less time than their public/private counterparts. Which can leave more time for other educational opportunities. Make no mistake, homeschooling requires an intense commitment, typically from the mother. The homeschool mom must wear three hats in the family: mom, wife, and teacher. This can be a heavy load. However, there are a variety of academic, sports, and fine arts cooperatives for homeschool parents which can help lighten the load.

Contributing writer:

Donna Bahorich-Texas State Board of Education

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