I’m often asked by other moms about our school choices with our kids.  There’s no easy answer to that question because we’ve done it all: homeschool, public school, private school and even lab school (here in our community Illinois State University has a lab school that is a public school that you have to apply to.  Class sizes are much smaller than the other public schools, but the school is used as a “lab” to train teachers at the university.)

The school choices we’ve made have been as varied as our kids personalities and needs.  Seriously…our schooling decisions have primarily been based upon the needs of our kids.

Anne went to public school through 6th grade.  I homeschooled her in 7th grade mainly because she was so insistent in wanting to be homeschooled.  Honestly, I thought, “There will be a time this kid won’t want to be seen with her mom.  I’m going to be intentional about capitalizing on a season where she wants to be with me!”  One year satisfied her and she headed back to public school in 8th grade.  She attended the University High school—an ISU Lab School.

Evan went to public school through 4th grade.  I homeschooled him in both 6th and 7th grade for two reasons.  Reason #1: He had a difficult 4th grade year with a teacher who couldn’t be satisfied.  That year I watched him go from a kid who loved to learn to one who just didn’t care because he couldn’t succeed in his 4th grade class.  When 5th grade looked like it would be the same experience (he was in a small school with only one 5th grade teacher), Mark and I decided not to take the chance.  Reason #2: We also brought him home to build up his character and leadership.  Up until that point, he was a follower of others.  We really wanted to build into him leadership qualities and help him to stand strong and not be so easily influenced by others.  After two years at home he returned to public school stronger academically and socially.  He also attended the lab school in high school.

Erica went to a private Christian school through 8th grade.  Then public high school for 2.5 years.  After a rough junior year socially and emotionally, we brought her home and finished out her high school education at home. She started college early and nearly finished her associate’s degree just after turning 19.

We adopted Kolya at the age of nine.  He completed 2nd grade through 5th grade at a private Christian school.  He continued in junior high at a public school and is now a freshman in high school at a public high school that offers ESL (English as a Second Language) services.

Austin, who is in 8th grade did the private school thing through 5th grade and has done public school in grades 6 thru 8.  He will likely continue in public high school.

When I’m asked what school choices we’ve made, there really isn’t one right answer.  School is not always a one-size-fits-all environment. We’ve found the educational needs of our children to be as diverse as the educational opportunities available.  And it’s not about them all having the same “fair” experience as it is about them having the “right” opportunities for their learning needs.

What about you?  What educational decisions have you made for your kids? 

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