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Public School or Homeschool? How do we Decide?

Welcome to the new school year! Whether you homeschool, public school, private school, or unschool, it’s that time.  There are so many options these days to educate your children and with that freedom, there is a lot of pressure to choose the right thing for your child.  We are a bit unconventional in our approach to school, but thinking outside of what is normally done has given all of our children an educational foundation that fits them well.

I have four children and school looks a little different for each one of them.  We actually have children in both public and home school, and some in private classes.  We don’t fit the mold that most people have in their heads for homeschool families.  There are no denim jumpers around here and my kids are so socialized that I have to pry them away from their friends to get some school done.  We hold the educational philosophy that we will will assess schooling options year by year, kid by kid.  Currently that means that 3 of my kids stay home, 2 attend additional classes,  and one attends public school.  

homeschool kids

The question I get most often is, “How does your child in public school feel about going to school when the others stay home?” I understand that from the outside that might seem like we ship one off and keep the others, and there is some kind of disparity in that. I was concerned about that too when we determined that public school was the best option for him.  However, he FLOURISHES in public school.  He has sensory and developmental needs that are best addressed in that setting.  He needs to be with similar age peers every day to see modeled, age appropriate behavior, and he needs the structure of the public school day and would not function well in our more laid-back school environment at home.  There are lots of reasons, but he would tell you he never wants to home school.  He loves it there, and he has learned and grown so much.  

On the flip side, my homeschooled children have had the advantage of doing school at their own pace.  My youngest child is beginning her 1st grade year halfway done with first grade!  When people at the store ask her what grade she is in, she sometimes isn’t sure what to say because she is doing second grade math, first grade reading, and all other subjects with older siblings.  It's the same for my older children.  They move at their pace, so we get to skip a lot of stuff we already know, tackle the things we need to learn, and have time for stuff we WANT to do.  My oldest is going into 6th grade this year, and she basically schools herself at this point.  She takes an outside english and composition class, does math online, and I assign history, science, and Latin for her to complete.  When she’s done, she is free to make art, write, or research room decor or Harry Potter paraphernalia.  We love the benefit of having that free time to explore and develop their own interests.  

working at school

I would love to have all my kids at home for school and hopefully one day that will be what is best for our family.  But our kids also know that next year they could all be in public school if we determine that is what's best for them or our family as a whole.  The goal is well educated, kind, winsome kids.  For some that is best achieved in a more formal setting and for some that is best done at home.  We love homeschool, but we definitely understand that it is not always the best option for each child or family.  We do believe that children are unique and that sometimes the status quo will not be the best fit for your child, and I want to encourage you to think outside the box and try something new if you think your child needs it.  I know plenty of parents who work full time and homeschool or hire a tutor.  I know plenty of parents who have homeschooled for years and for their own personal health take a year or two off to reset their minds and their homes.  Education is not a one size fits all endeavor and whatever way you choose to educate your child, engage and make the most of it.  Loving to learn and valuing knowledge and wisdom are one of the greatest gifts you can give! 

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