For families who are able to have at least one stay-at-home parent, homeschooling is an option. In this setting children learn at their own pace and often, at a young age, are able to discover their personal and greatest aptitudes. Learning is accomplished through everyday experiences such as cooking, gardening, and home improvement projects. Technology is utilized through online computer learning programs and television with educational programming. Music appreciation can be a valuable learning tool. With students at home, many hours can be spent playing a musical instrument as well as listening to music.
Learning is easily extended outside the home through trips to stores, museums, zoos, concerts, sporting events, government offices, religious institutions and restaurants, to name just a few. Socialization is accomplished through interaction with people of all ages at church, nursing homes, with other homeschoolers and at any place where there are people. The library offers excellent resources on any topic. Participants can plan each day and education is viewed as a learning experience every day all year round.
Public school is intended to give all children the opportunity to get an education. Each state mandates what subject matter is taught at each grade level. Parents know that their children are being taught by individuals who have obtained an education degree; these teachers have also taken and passed exams in which to be state certified to teach at a specific grade level. Students who attend public school will be following a specific curriculum at each grade level, and often must pass a state mandated test in order to move to the next grade level. Students will be in a classroom of 20 to 30 children who are from a specific age group. The routine of the day is established by the teacher. Subjects are covered in 20- to 30-minute increments and then, as a group, the students cover another topic. Lunch and recreational breaks are taken together as well as bathroom visits.
Teachers in the public school system have a teacher’s union. Teachers, therefore, may have a strike in order to work through disputes. During these times, students may not be attending school unless there are enough substitute teachers for the classroom. Although in some instances there may be afterschool programs available for students, typically public school students attend from late August until early June Monday through Friday for about six to seven hours with the exception of national holidays.
Deciding which is best may depend on the children and parents involved. Research and discussion should ensue prior to making a final decision. However, once the decision is made, it is not irreversible; often families try one option and then switch to the other.