Let’s face it 2020 is a hot mess, no other way to put! As we roll into August most of us are still uncertain what the 2020-2021 school year is going to look like and we are trying to make a game plan. I don’t know about you but this has 100% been the biggest stressor during this entire pandemic. Do we go back to private school? Do we start public school? Online? Homeschool? SO MANY CHOICES!
Like everything in parenting this school choice, sadly, doesn’t come with a step by step manual. That’s why I’m sharing what I’ve learned during my 4 months of researching the best option for our family. Remember there is NO wrong choice here and we are all navigating new territory! We all want to keep our kids safe and give them an environment that they can flourish in. Whatever you decide is best for your kids will be just that, the best for them. I think now more than ever we need to show our fellow moms compassion and love because this is not an easy choice for anyone! I’m gonna break down the 5 options we had and were bouncing around from, your area may not offer all these options or they may offer more! I can only speak on what I’ve researched for my girls.
This is our current path we are on. We have actually been in the same private school since Noelle started Prek 3 and we love it. Every year we bounce back and forth with if we want to stay in private or enroll in public school. Our current school goes from Prek 3 through 6th grade. After that, you’d either go to public school or apply for the private high school. We actually made a huge pros and cons list this spring and decided we would maintain in private school through 6th grade and then reevaluate it, then COVID hit and threw us for a loop. A reason is that private school is expensive and we worry about paying tuition and then school ending up closing. Another big reason was we knew our girls wouldn’t do well with starting and stopping. Our oldest is a creature of habit and it really messes with her when her routine is switched.
Why we love private school:
We love the private school for a lot of reasons but these are our top 3.
- Small class sizes
- One on one support
- Family environment
- Faith-based education
My husband and I both went to private schools and have a lot of family who work in the public school system, we are NOT anti-public school by any means. Like I mentioned we went back and forth between private and public for a really long time. I can’t speak for all public schools but the ones around us all seem to be offering the same 3 options.
- In-class learning
- Virtual learning
This is your standard public school setting. Kids may or may not be wearing masks all day, depending on how well they can social distance. Our schools are saying lunches will be in the classroom at their desks to allow social distancing. Some are saying no recess some are saying recess with masks, so that is still up in the air. Also, these regulations could change at any time depending on the cases and what the state says.
This is the one I’m least familiar with because it’s pretty vague. From what I’ve gathered your kids will be on a zoom type call but part of the actual lesson the teacher is giving to the kids in class. Again this one is still pretty vague.
Most public schools offer their own cyberschool, which I had no idea about until we started exploring. For the district we live in their program seems amazing. Lessons are pre-recorded and your child can do them at their speed. They also offer select hours after school if your child needs extra help. The other great thing is your kid is still a full-fledged member of their district, meaning they can attend field trips and participate in any clubs or activities the district offers. The other thing that we really loved what if at any point you wanted to send your child back into the class, they only needed a 24-hour notice.
Online Charter Schools
These are public schools that are offered online and are free to you, due to school choice. The district you pay tax too has to pay for your child but that’s an entirely different blog post. Do some research and decide for yourself on this topic. Since we already attend a private school we were okay with doing a charter school. However, if we planned to send our kids to public school next year or if they were already enrolled in one, we would lean more towards the cyber school provided by our district.
The PA cyber charter school we plan on using is called PALCS. There are lots of options and they all offer different things, so I won’t go into detail since this really should be a personal choice. However, they are all free and send you the needed supplies: laptop, printers, textbooks, ext.
Online Private Schools
I’ll be honest I stomped my feet during all of this and was adamant the girls would be enrolling in a private online school. To me, integrating faith into their studies is very important and if we planned to keep them home forever we probably would probably go this route. Like any private school, there is a cost and we ultimately decided that since we plan to send them back to their private school, it wasn’t worth it. I plan to add a bible curriculum into our day. If you are looking for a great Christian based education though I’d urge you to look into Liberty Online Academy.
This is your traditional homeschool approach. After looking into it I was shocked how much is offered and all of the different ways to school. My sister in law, who I admire because she’s basically supermom, has done this for 6 years and loves it. I also have tons of friends who homeschool and it’s something I’ve always been interested in. I was just very, very, overwhelmed with all the curriculum choices. Since I already have so much on my plate I wasn’t ready to tackle this. I did however buy a preschool curriculum for Lennon.
I hope this helps you begin to navigate all of the choices out there. Please give yourself some grace and remember that no one knows your kid as you do and whatever decision you make will be best for them! To me there is no wrong answer, all of these options are great ways to give your child the education they deserve!