Bridging the Gap Between Public School and Home School

There’s often a conflict between public school educators and home schooling parents. Parents that choose to home school are invested in education, they want the best for their kids- but their often invested in a version of education that looks somewhat different (or looks beyond) the typical public school classroom.

Certainly, it’s an easy area for conflict. The choice to home school after public schooling is often the result of conflict with a school district. And, a teacher is inclined to believe that the way they are teaching, their classroom instruction, is the best way of educating a child (if they didn’t- they’d be doing it differently, after all). So a teacher can hear an implied criticism in a parent’s decision to home school. Hurt feelings abound, even without the exchange of hurtful words.

Which is why in what should be a conversation between reasonable adults, all educators, all people who care very deeply about children and their education, conflict arises needlessly. A defensive school district says “No, you can’t come on our field trips.” Or “No, you can’t come for just one class.” And isn’t making that decision based on educating children, but in response to hurt feelings, to the sense of criticism they feel from a parent’s choice.

But a home school family still pays taxes to fund the local school. And they should still be part of the client base the school considers. School districts have a bad habit of treating school enrollment as a “all or nothing, my way or the high way” situation, when it shouldn’t be.

The best education available to a child may include both individual instruction in math, from a parent who once taught the subject, and art classes from a qualified art teacher at the public school. Education should never be one-size-fits-all, because children are not one-size-fits-all. Who better to know that, and to make the choices, than a child’s parents.

Hybridizing the home school/public school model offers the best of both worlds. I’m happy to say that our local school district is finally on board. This year, the district is accepting part-time enrollments, with a block schedule that makes that feasible even for families that are far off the beaten path. Hopefully our district will continue to view parents as partners in the educational process.

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