This week is national school choice week. A great time to reflect on the education system while focusing on the many wonderful alternative methods of educating children.
Problems in Education
There are not enough hours in the day to write out all the problems with the public education system. From standardized testing skewing the goals of schools to teachers including their own personal doctrines as part of their lesson plan to school safety, the list can go on and on.
Children easily get lost in the system. There is much lacking from the services available for those who fall behind or for those who excel beyond other classmates. The main goal becomes getting students in seats and performing well on standardized tests to increase how much money that school district receives.
Most of the visitors to this site are likely well aware of the problems with our public education system. What is exciting to talk about instead, are the alternatives that are available.
Private schools are a traditional option to take when leaving the public education system. However they too hold their fair share of issues. They are expensive. Especially when there are rare (if any) tax credits for people who elect not to use the public system. Additionally, the majority of private schools have some type of religious basis which may not be appealing to all families.
Homeschooling offers a lot of flexibility for families. A curriculum can be designed around each student. There is no worry for those who need more time with something or excel faster than average because schoolwork can constantly be adjusting to fit those individual needs.
An approach that I have seen really gaining a lot of traction is the unschooling movement. This method allows the students to drive their own path of learning by centering around their interests. Rather than having a set curriculum, the unschoolers focus on children organically gaining knowledge through a wide array of available resources and life experiences. Instead of learning about one subject at a time, children follow their interests as they intertwine through several different subjects.
Families on the Freecoast vary widely on their education approaches. From private schools to curriculum based homeschooling to radical unschooling, there is a huge variety of educating styles happening in our region.
Just like in every state, there are some legal guidelines to follow when electing not to enroll your kids in the public education system. It is not as easy as some states, but no where near as complicated as others. Homeschooling activists in New Hampshire actively work to improve life for those of us choosing to engage in alternative education methods.
For a thorough breakdown of the laws in New Hampshire, as well as resources to help you along the way, visit The Granite State Home Educators website. This website is run by a grassroots organization. I have found myself referencing this site several times and am happy to pass it along to those who need more information or guidance.
Selecting to alternatively educate your children is a truly remarkable experience. It can be a bit scary and overwhelming at first, and even all throughout the experience. The most helpful thing I have found to ensure success is finding a community that is supportive and engaging.
The education community within the Freecoast is growing, actively responding to the needs of our children. It is an absolutely amazing thing to contribute to and be a part of. This week I reflect on that, and why school choice is so important.
What type of education style do you utilize in your family? What have you tried? Let us know in the comments below!