How do I decide what type of schooling is best for my children i.e.: public, private, religious etc.?

DARCY KIMMEL: As a conscientious parent, you are trying to make a good choice, because school does play such a huge part in our children’s lives. 

Well, we have to keep some things in mind when we try to make a choice for our kids. First of all, make sure that you know that there is not just one choice for a conscientious parent. Maybe you feel strongly towards one choice of a school for your kids, but it doesn’t mean that the other parents, if they aren’t having that same choice, aren’t raising their kids well. 

TIM KIMMEL: And by the way, you need to know that with every choice that you listed off in that question, there are good things about it, and there are downsides to it. I don’t care what the choice is—whether it’s homeschooling, there are positive things about it, and there are negatives; public school, same thing; Christian school; private school; reform school (that’s where my parents wanted to send me, but let’s not go there). 

DARCY: [laughs] 

TIM: The point is that each one has strengths and weaknesses, and if you’re not aware of them going in, then you can find the downside real fast. 

DARCY: And the other mistake we make as parents is that we think that one choice is right for every child in our family. Well, not necessarily so. Some of our kids might have some learning challenges, where they need a more structured, a smaller environment. 

TIM: We find that there are four questions that you need to ask yourself when it comes to making this decision. 

First of all: “Which one is the best for this particular child?” Because you might have a child who learns differently, they need maybe more attention, more personal touch. Maybe they just struggled in one kind of configuration. Whatever it is. 

And then: “Which one fits best into your family configuration?” Because if you homeschool, that might be a great idea unless it’s holding your whole family hostage. There are a whole lot of tradeoffs there. 

DARCY: And sometimes the school is so far away that it means that Mom is on the road half the day. That might not fit. 

TIM: Right. Or budget considerations come into that thing. 

But here’s another question you have to ask yourself: “Am I making my decisions based on some things that I am frightened about?” Because let me tell you something. If you are making a decision based on fear, you are going to find that whatever you come up with is really going to let you down. We should not be driven by fear, when it comes to how we raise our kids, especially how we educate them. 

And then the biggest thing is, the fourth question, is: “Is this school configuration the one that’s best designed to help my kid really become a truly great person?” And a truly great person is far more than just an educated person. It’s a person that is more well-rounded in all different ways. But whatever one you choose, just don’t send them there. 

You know, you have got to be intimately involved in that school, and you want to be an ally and an asset to that school system, whichever one you choose—especially if it’s a public school. Don’t be a Rottweiler on their neck. They are a public school. Just be an ally and an asset and an encourager, and watch what happens. You will be amazed. 

Your kids can get a great education a lot of different ways.