Choosing how you’re going to educate your children is one of the most important questions families struggle with. Schooling may seem obvious, just simply enroll your child into the local public school system, but to others the choice isn’t so clear. You might be interested in learning more about homeschooling options, early education options, private education, or a hybrid mix between the three.
Financial considerations aside, when kids change schools, there’s an impact on their self-esteem. We have classes available that help teach skills to encourage and support children who may be going through a tough transitionary time.
One of the best options for your family to consider is high quality early childhood education. In these formative years, children’s brains develop 90% of their adult size before age five! Children develop from communicating their needs and engaging with caregivers. The more positive interactions a child has with their caregivers, the more likely they will be able to respond well to challenges and experiences in life and school. Conversely, the less desirable interaction children have with their providers, the less likely they will be able to respond appropriately to new situations.
We provide Montana parents plenty of resources for any questions you may have in finding child care providers, finances, health, and parenting support.
Public School Options
Most families default public school education as the best choice for their children, and it’s benefits make sense as to why. Funded through taxes and government aid, public schools provide transportation, but you may need to take into consideration the costs of after school care and summer care, too.
Where you live will impact the school districts you have access to, which may indicate the amount of opportunities and resources your child will have access to. Some districts (typically the ones with higher taxes) have more programs in music/art or sports than others, so this is something to take into consideration, too. You can ask your children what their interests are and research programs related to their interests as well as school academic ratings and access to teachers.
You might consider the possibility of moving to put your child in a higher rated school district. While it can be daunting to go through the home selling process, it is well worth the investment towards your kids’ futures. Finding out how much your home is worth is a great first step in accessing what your home could potentially sell for, and what budget range you have for your next home.
Homeschooling is a great option for stay-at-home parents who want to spend more time with their children as it requires a caregiver to stay home to teach the curriculum. It’s also a great option for families who live quite far away from the schools available in your nearest district.
There are certain state laws households must comply with before beginning homeschooling, but once you handle that, you can begin researching which homeschooling program you’d like to teach your children. Unlike public schooling, there are significant costs at the beginning of homeschooling; this homeschooling guide gives more information if this is an option you’d like to pursue.
If your children are used to traditional schooling, there will be an adjustment period for them, much like how Zoom fatigue has taken over during the Pandemic. Formative years require social stimulation and connection, so homeschooling may not be the best option for kids who need immediate access to play with other kids their age.
Private and boarding schools
Some families never consider private or boarding schools as a potential option for their kids. It is definitely the most expensive option for schooling, however, grants, scholarships, and sometimes, financial aid is available to offset costs.
Private school curriculum may not match state standards, for better or for worse, which might impact how your child performs on standardized tests. Some private schools don’t teach children below a certain grade level, which may impact your family’s decision as well.
Private education may give an alternative style of learning that neither public or homeschooling can provide. It comes with a cost, but perhaps it is the best option for your family.
No matter what decision you make, there always comes the question of “How am I going to find childcare?” We have resources available to help you find child care providers. Of course, your schooling decision doesn’t have to be the end-all be-all. If you enroll your child in public school and find that they are struggling or that the curriculum doesn’t live up to your expectations, you can make a change and explore your other options!