Charter, Private or Public – A Guide To Alternative Education

Charter, Private or Public – A Guide To Alternative Education

When I was a kid, all of the kids in our neighborhood went to public school.  But these days many public schools are overcrowded and under-funded.  Some have curriculum that offend religious beliefs, some don’t offer the educational opportunities that others offer, and some have cut extra-curricular activities.  If sending your child off to your local elementary school make you uncomfortable, fear not.  There are several options for your child’s education outside of the public school system.

Charter School
Pros: Charter schools are part of the public school system which make them publicly funded, costing you nothing out-of-pocket. Classes are usually limited to 20 students or less. Many have an advanced curriculum. Some even incorporate second and third language studies as early as kindergarten.  Some emphasize cultural and creative pursuits much more than the public school system.  Typically, you can worry less about fights and bad behavior.  Charter schools hold their students to a high behavioral standard which minimizes violence and disturbances.
Cons: They have limited room and are in high demand.  They  are hard to get into  and have long waiting lists. They are still under public school jurisdiction which means they may still be teaching subjects or using a curriculum you do not approve of.
Private School
Pros: You can pick a school that is tailor-made to what you want your child to be learning. Their curriculum is usually much better, some times a few grade levels ahead of public schools. There are usually a plethora of after school clubs and activities to choose from. Violence is kept very low with a strict behavior code enforced by expulsion. It looks good on your child’s educational resume.
Cons: It can be very pricey. Private schools can range from $400-1000+ per child per month. Most of them have sibling discounts, but they are not much. Advanced curriculum results in more homework and much more time devoted to school, which some students can find overwhelming. Some parents think that the environment is too controlled, thus not preparing their child for the real world.


Pros: You control exactly what your child learns and what they are exposed to. Your child gets one-on-one attention, or close to it if you homeschool multiple children. You get to watch your child(ren)learn and grow, which encourages family bonding. It is usually cost effective. Homeschooling fees range from free-$800 per child per year. You can join homeschooling groups which encourages socialization. If you homeschool, you can enroll you child in the sports programs of the local public school. You can also do a school day option where your child attends your local school 1-2 days per week and goes on field trips with them.

It is time consuming and usually makes an outside career difficult or impossible for one parent. You must be highly organized. You have to do testing on your own time to make sure your child is learning at an adequate level. Some parents believe that it doesn’t give their child enough interaction or experience to prepare them for the real world.