As parents, Mark and I initially approached educating our five children with a one-size fits all mentality. Soon however, we began to consider educational options that would best fit each child. Over the years we’ve done it all: public school, private school, lab school, homeschool, and next year possibly the BACC (Bloomington Area Career Center) where one son hopes to learn more about the construction industry here in own town in Central Illinois.
January is often the month when parents start thinking about the best learning environments for their children next Fall. If you are moving away from a one-size-fits-all education philosophy, you might want to explore the options available:
- Public School: As the daughter of a School Superintendent, I grew up understanding the merits of public school. You can’t beat the extra-curricular opportunities and we have always found the academics to be excellent here in Central Illinois. This is an especially important option for our adopted son who needs ELL (English Language Learners) services.
- Private School: Private schools tend to be smaller in size and often add some other elements to the educational experience such as faith-based curriculum or a different style of teaching. Because of their size, they sometimes offer students more opportunities to be involved in sports and other extra-curricular activities when those same activities in the public school might involve more competition.
- Lab School: Because Illinois State University is right here in our community, students also have the opportunity to attend the ISU lab schools: Metcalf and University High School. In addition to providing a training environment for future teachers, these schools also offer an excellent, yet smaller, learning environment than the public school. State law limits admission numbers and students are selected from applications received by each school.
- Homeschool: Homeschooling may be the right choice for you if you have a parent available to be the primary educator of your children. Often tailoring the learning environment to match the learning style of each child, homeschooling also allows parents to have more time to provide moral and character-building lessons. High school homeschooled students in Central Illinois can also take advantage of Heartland Community College’s (HCC) dual credit program where they can get both high school and college credit at the same time while attending some college classes in high school. (Public, private, and lab schools also often allow some HCC dual credit classes.)
Educate yourself on the options available. What’s right for you, your child, and your family? Only you will know that after you’ve explored all the options.
Question: What other school options are available in your community?
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