Why You Will Never Find the Perfect School Option: The Great {Education} Debate

Every Wednesday in the month of August we are learning from families who, for different reasons, have chosen different educational options. We call it The Great {Education} Debate.

My goal in this series was to gain some insight into the educational choices of others and discover why certain models work for certain families at certain times while others simply don’t. My fear in tackling this overwhelming task was I’ve only had one educational experience with my children. I needed to find others, with different experiences, who would be willing to tell their stories as well.

I hit the jackpot when I came across today’s guest. Tammy at Skipper Clan has encountered just about every educational model known to man. That’s why I was so excited when she agreed to write a special “round-up” article about “other” educational models….


Our youngest child, will graduate high school this year. Her commencement will include about 35 students from her private, non-religious school. It will be a far different experience than Kindergarten. In fact, in her 13 years of schooling she has experienced almost every type of school imaginable.

We never found “the” perfect school option for her because her needs were different at different stages.

Some of our children’s changing needs were due to our moves as a military family. We moved across state lines and across oceans. We only once got to move over the summer, between school years. Not only did we face a variety of educational standards, but different age requirements and support programs.

We began with homeschooling in Kindergarten. I found a reading program, math curriculum and other subjects with worksheets and manipulatives. We had a strict schedule 3 days a week, and she attended a Mother’s Day Out program the other two days. My husband was in Korea over half of that school year, so her time in the program was as much for my own balance as it was for art programs for her.

The next fall, we’d moved and she was still only eligible for Kindergarten due to her birth date. However, that school district offered a comprehensive, full day Kindergarten program with physical education, art, and reading challenges. It was an excellent program which we left behind that January when we moved again. She transferred directly into 1st grade with that move, The birth date requirements were earlier and other Kindergarten children at the school couldn’t even recognize letters while she read simple books easily. After a brief few weeks in the Department of Defense school on base, we put both children in the Italian school nearby. In that school, they learned more of the language, the culture, and the food than they ever could have grasped from a classroom.

Since moving back to the United States, our children attended brick and mortar schools, public online charter schools, and finally private school. Each year we considered what was best for their educational needs, our family’s schedule, and the requirements of the local school district. We have homeschooled one while the other went to the building down the street. If we tried to insist one form of education was perfect, we would have missed great opportunities for our entire family.

Here are 4 questions to consider when you search for the best school options:

1. What environment is best suited for my child’s learning style right now? (small groups, one on one, large group/competitive)

2. What schedule demands does our family currently face and how would different school formats benefit our family? (shift work, competitive sports, parent at home)

3. What strengths and weaknesses does our child have right now that could be enhanced or minimized in different settings?

4. What local, state, and national requirements would impact our choice and what support is available?

Have you switched formats before? What was one of the best results you experienced when making such a change?

Want to get to know Tammy better? Visit her at www.skipperclan.com. Or drop her a line on her Facebook Page or follower her on Twitter.

education-debateWe will wrap the series up next week. You don’t want to miss it…or any of The Great {Education} Debate series: Enter your e-mail address in the box to the right, and you’ll get new posts delivered straight to your inbox!

Read the rest of the series!

Why We Chose Public School
Why We Homeschool
Why Christian School?

5 thoughts on “Why You Will Never Find the Perfect School Option: The Great {Education} Debate

  1. i love your concept. it might not even be a bad idea to add a 5th question along the lines of what demands are being placed on the mom? is it realistic given her strengths and weaknesses to have her home schooling this year?

    we too moved…less often when the kids were in school and usually were able to do it during the summer. we partook of a variety of schooling option that were available to us then…70’s and 80’s. homeschooling wasn’t one of them. by the time there was a curriculm that i tho’t i could even use, my girls were taking calculus!

    we took seriously our responsibilities to follow-up at home with what was going on with their beliefs. no we didn’t do a perfect job. parenting isn’t for perfectionists. it is for realists!

    this was a great wrap-up:)

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