I was asked to come up with a list of bullet points explaining the benefits of alternative education options. So I’ve taken the liberty.
- individualized education: the child can excel in areas beyond the constraints of the classroom and receive tailored help with areas in which they need to work.
- self pace academics: if more time is necessary it can be taken.
- deeper understanding of subject matter: instead of a quick introduction (typically followed by a test), the student can explore the topic to the depth they choose. Allows more opportunity for experiential learning.
- abstraction: the child is able to learn about topics or units via real life experiences through field trips, co-ops and meet ups.
- teacher bias: like it or not the teacher brings the students into their classroom, their lives. There will be error in learned information, there will be gaps in knowledge and there will bias. The teachers’ morals and opinions will be passed to the students. Effectively you’re given a teacher and have to accept his or her biases and how they will affect your child.
- bully and stressful environments: my son was guilted by his teacher when I chose to sign his planner for the week. He was a very good student, top of his class. Do you see the issue with this? She should not have guilted him, she had my email if she wanted to address the issue.
- it’s not about the kids: policy makers and administration do not have enough contact and knowledge of students to be able to making informed decisions about the students education. This poor structure affects the functioning of the education system.
- social confusion: students aren’t able to develop strong peer relationships in school. These have to be fostered outside of school. Stop trying to pass school off as a “social” benefit. The socialization in school is about adjusting to the social norms. For instance, if you’re “weird” for what you like to wear or how you dance when you’re happy, you’ll be told and suddenly you’ve been socially normed, judged and in some cases cast out.
- trust: children can be trusted and should be respected. They should have a say in their education. This can be accomplished with the flexibility of alternative education options.
- standards: you’re able to measure, assess and decide if the learning has been effective, make adjustments easily to your plan to work on areas that you feel need more attention. Standards in public settings are set for a grade, regardless of the individual, their interests, this is not the case in home schooling. On what basis are these standards made? The end goal of education is set by whom and for whom?
- civics: students are able to be a part of their community at an earlier age and gain an understanding of democratic ideas. These practices can lead to active citizens, that are able to speak for their ideas and challenge the status quo.
- character building: The child can be insulated from undo stress and pressure from media and social stereotypes. For instance gender stereotypes, “pink is for girls” or “boys don’t do that!”
- religious education: the family can more easily pass along values, morals and religious knowledge but allow the child the freedom of exploring religions for themselves.
- common core: we can use them for a base of learning, but not as the full scope of learning.
Many of these serve as the basis for why I believe alternative education options (counter to standard public education) benefit the children, our community, country and the continuation of our species.
Now take some time and give me a list of benefits that will convince me that public education is the “best” education available.