If you're a parent navigating the world of childhood education, you'll find a lot more choices than you would have found in prior decades. Various groups of parents have their own opinions about which kind of schooling is best, and it can often be hard to find objective information. The sites and articles listed on this page will offer a variety of factual data and valuable insights. Once you understand a bit more about the different types of schools out there, you'll be able to make an informed decision and find the best program for your child.
Private School vs. Public School
The benefits of private and public schooling have long been a subject of debate among parents and educators. There are convincing arguments on either side, but the real answer lies in what works best for your particular situation. Use the resources below to help you decide for yourself.
Public vs. Private: Which is Right for Your Child – This simple but informative article from BabyCenter.com outlines the major pros and cons of public and private school without favoring either. It's worth taking a moment to browse the user comments too, as a lot of parents share their personal experiences.
How to Choose Between Public and Private School – This article appears on SavvyDaddy.com, which is a personal blog written by a real father. The post gives a good rundown of what you need to consider before you decide whether public or private school will best suit your family - from a parent’s perspective.
Public And Private Schools: How Do They Differ? – This paper was published by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) in 1997. Its findings are considered to be relevant today, relative to changes in tuition costs and population over time. The information comes in the form of a PDF file that you can read without downloading. Perfect for those who prefer raw data and scholarly interpretations to casual articles.
Public School vs. Private School – This site outlines the things you need to consider before you decide whether to place your child in a public or private educational institution.
What You Need to Know About Homeschooling
Homeschooling has seen a surge in popularity over recent years. There are more resources and tools available for parents who choose this route than ever before. Homeschooling isn't for everyone, but some families find that it is most compatible with their lifestyle and future goals. Use the information below to help you decide if a homeschooling program is ideal for your situation. If you do decide to pursue this option, there are also some links to lead you to helpful resources.
Homeschooling FAQs – This online magazine is all about homeschooling, with state-by-state information and a well-populated community of homeschooling parents. The FAQ page they put together is a fantastic way to dispel some of the myths surrounding homeschooling and to answer some of your most basic questions.
Homeschool Laws and Requirements – It's imperative that you know whether homeschooling is considered a legal option where you live and what kind of restrictions and requirements are placed upon it by your state's lawmakers. This About.com page provides links to homeschooling rules and regulations for each state in the U.S.
Quaqua.org – The Quaqua Society is a group dedicated to providing support and resources for home educators. Their site is full of great information about homeschooling, along with opportunities for grants and awards.
Home School Buyers Co-op – Once you've made the decision to move forward with homeschooling, check out this site. The co-op is free to join and allows you to have access to loads of curriculum materials, lesson ideas, and opportunities for networking with other homeschooling parents. As a member, you'll also have the ability to purchase educational materials at discounted prices.
Alternative Schools and Programs for "At-Risk" Youth
When a student is subject to circumstances that put him or her at increased risk for failure, so-called “alternative schools” often provide a better fit than a traditional school. Many offer remedial education for students who have fallen behind in their studies, and often accommodate those with special situations - like working students and students who are parents. Use these links to help you find out more about the options available to at-risk kids and whether any might be the answer for your family.
School Choices for Parents – This is the U.S. Department of Education’s resource page for parents outlining the different choices available within the United States education system. Here you'll find links to information about all types of schooling so you can decide if alternative schooling is your best option.
Types of School Choice – The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice provides this informational page, showing the options that may be available for parents who don’t want to put their kids into a traditional classroom. You can find information about paying for private alternative schools on the site, too.
NCES School Search – Look up any public school in the United States using this directory. You can narrow the search results to include only alternative schools or schools for at-risk youth.
Ten Signs You Need Something New – This article is incredibly helpful for parents who feel like public school might not be the best fit for their child. Its author is a longtime educator and proponent of alternative schooling systems.
Other Specialized Schools
If you still find yourself struggling to figure out what kind of school is ideal for your student, there are still more options out there. Check out the following types of non-traditional schools, each of which offers its own unique benefits.
Magnet Schools of America – Magnet schools emphasize certain areas of study – like science and technology or the arts. Magnet schools draw students based on their interests rather than their addresses, so they tend to have a more diversified student body. This site has lots of information, as well as a listing of magnet schools in the U.S.
Introduction to Montessori – Montessori schools place emphasis on letting each student explore his or her individual interests and aptitudes. The American Montessori Society website is full of facts about the Montessori philosophy, along with several resources for parents and educators.
5 Surprising Perspectives About Online Schools – This blog post goes over some of the benefits of attending school online. Once considered an option reserved for cases where a child was physically unable to attend regular school, online schooling has gained popularity and credibility in recent years.
National Parochial Schools Association Directory – Parochial schools are a type of private school run by a church or religious organization. This directory lists thousands of parochial schools by state, along with contact information for each.
Obviously, there is no “one size fits all” approach to childhood education. It's all about what works with your core values, educational goals, and lifestyle. Once you've done your online research, the next step is to visit schools in your area. Be prepared to ask your specific questions in order to make sure a particular school is ideal for your child. Don't be afraid to talk to the other parents with kids who are already attending the school to find out what they like (or don't like) about the program. Armed with all this valuable information, you'll be able to make the most sensible decision about your child's education.