Homeschooling and Other Educational Alternatives

This article evaluates three popular alternatives to the public school system, as well as some supplemental educational programs.

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Before sending your child off to public kindergarten, it is recommended that you look into all possibilities. This article discusses private schools, charter schools and homeschooling - three viable alternatives to public school.

Private School

Thoroughly research any private school you look at. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What type of training do their teachers have?
  • Do they teach the educational standards that are recommended by your state?
  • Are they accredited by an educational organization or association?
  • What, if any, connection does the school have with organized religion?

If you know families who send their children to private schools, ask them about the school their children are enrolled in and what they looked for when making their choice. And keep in mind the cost of attending a private school. Many private schools are quite expensive, but may offer some type of scholarships to some of the families who might not be able to afford the entire cost of tuition. Many parents favor private schools for religious reasons. If you have strong religious beliefs, a religious based private school can incorporate your religious beliefs into your child's daily education. On the other hand, many adults feel this approach can be too narrow and does not introduce children to other world views.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are another alternative to the public school system and have grown in popularity in recent years due to legislation allowing their creation in more and more states. Currently, at least 37 states have operating charter schools. By definition, a charter school operates free from many of the regulations that apply to public schools but are still accountable to their sponsor, which is usually the state or local school board. When the charter is established, the school's mission, goals, program and measures of assessment and success are detailed. After a period of time, the charter is reviewed and the sponsor has the ability to renew or revoke the charter.

Parents may favor this form of schooling because teachers, parents, and students have a greater amount of independence and authority to make decisions and regulations than they do in traditional public schools. One main disadvantage of the charter school system is that the sponsoring agency could close the school when the contract term comes to an end. This would be unfortunate for children who are still attending the school. However, since parents have a greater voice and role in the system, many feel that the threat of closure is worth the risk because they can help to enrich the school's programs and success. Much like private schools, the quality of charter schools varies widely, so it's important to evaluate all of the charter schools in your area before choosing one for your child.


Homeschooling provides parents and children the freedom to choose their own educational format. It also allows parents to closely monitor what their child is and is not learning and in what sequence. The success of homeschooling depends completely on the dedication of both the parents and the child. Parents who are considering homeschooling must keep in mind their financial situation. Is one parent staying at home full time to teach the student? Does the family have the resources to cover the costs of books, school supplies, special trips, etc.? There are various methods and philosophies to homeschooling that help to mold the structure of a family's homeschool system. Contact a local homeschooling support group with questions.


Tutoring provides the necessary individual attention that your child may or may not get in his day to day schooling. You can enroll your child in an after school program, hire a tutor to come to your house, or choose from the tutoring options available online.

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