Public schools exist so that all children have an opportunity to attend school and earn their diploma. In some areas they are excellent, while others struggle to retain good teachers and provide the quality of education that kids need. Parents may choose not to use this approach for a variety of reasons and instead look to private institutions which have a cost associated with them. These are a good alternative but in addition to the tuition, there are typically additional fees such as books, uniforms, technology, testing and extracurricular activities. This does not include the cost of gas to get the student to and from the school on a daily basis, so after all these details are added together, this may become too expensive of an option to consider.
A third method that is growing in popularity is homeschooling, where kids can receive their education at home from parents or certified teachers. The immediate benefits are no travel and no uniforms but depending on the parent’s approach to this form of education, the costs can vary. It is important to carefully review the differences in programs as each family needs to find the solution that works best for them while staying within their financial budget. Common options include creating a custom curriculum by purchasing textbooks through single or multiple vendors or enrolling in the best accredited homeschool program and having everything organized for the student from the beginning.
The first option provides families the flexibility to build a personalized curriculum option for each student based on textbook reviews, religious beliefs and other factors. Daily schedules are put together to help ensure students move through the material at a steady pace so they can complete on time and have summers off with their friends. The biggest expense with this approach is the textbook purchase along with supplies and additional materials to support experiments, art, physical fitness and electives selected by the parent and student. Parents are fully involved and responsible for teaching, grading and documentation for record keeping especially if the state requires this information on a regular basis to prove the student’s status and grade level.
For some families this is the perfect solution because it is the level of involvement they want to have and they program the cost each year per child into their budget so it doesn’t become a hardship. Books are expensive, so a minimal cost estimate is several hundred dollars per student just for this piece and this can grow with the upper grades where textbooks are more specialized and expensive. It is necessary to research the various publishers to decide who to purchase books from and see if there is a ‘buy back’ program to help recoup some of the money once the text is no longer needed.
Another option that parents should consider is the best-accredited homeschool platform which provides an alternative approach with several packages. Younger students are taught directly by the parent with a print curriculum but starting in 3rd grade, parents can choose to transition their kids to an online classroom which is managed in part or whole by a certified teacher. Enrollment through a formal homeschool program means that every student utilizes the same curriculum per grade and documentation is kept and managed by the administration so parents do not have to do this. Instead, they simply access the online portal via their log-in and download the documents as needed. Of course, this path can be more expensive than the above option because the school has fees and tuition costs, but the overall price is typically cheaper than a traditional private school, so families get a quality education without any hassle or having to travel.
Students are connected directly to teachers who will help them through each class, a guidance counselor in high school to lay the path to graduation, resources for research and tutoring, and quality curriculum that lays the foundation for each year to build on itself. These are the benefits included in the tuition and fees but parents can choose between the different packages to help reduce cost where possible and work with the Admissions staff on payment plans, discounts and possible financial aid assistance if they qualify. It is important to carefully review and research the various programs so parents can find the best accredited homeschool platform that supports their expectations of education and belief system.
At the end of the day, it is a family’s personal decision to determine which form of education works the best for the future of their student. Price can be a limitation at times, but some schools offer financial aid programs to help families who want to take advantage of online homeschooling and connecting with professional teachers. The best approach is to get the facts on all the options, compare them and remember that it is an investment in your child’s future to move to the next level whether that is college or the workforce.