*Disclaimer* I am a huge school choice advocate. I believe in the necessity of improving and supporting strong public schools, but I also support one's right to choose other educational avenues for the benefit of child and family needs. In today's technologically-driven world that is making this spinning blue-green marble shrink, and as a former public school teacher, I believe that there is not a one-size fits all solution to educating children.
14 Ways to Show Your Family "I Love You"
(#5 Take Charge of Their Education)
Public schools, private schools, parochial schools, homeschool, virtual school...
...the list and choices seem endless!
But in the end, it is you, your child's first teacher, that must take charge and direct your child's education regardless of the particular mode of delivery that you choose.
Whether you want a strong faith-based education or a strong secular academic education for your child, it is your responsibility to see to it that what you are paying for (whether through taxes or tuition) is actually being delivered. And, what is the content that is being delivered? You have a right to know, but it is also your responsibility to know.
Don't assume that because Catholic is in the name of the school, that that is what is being delivered! It needs to be more than "Christ-centered" values to be truly Catholic. It needs to bear witness to the teachings of Mother Church. After the watered-down delivery of Catholic education during the 1980s and 90s, many graduated from Catholic schools with little knowledge or understanding of the Faith. Fortunately, Catholic education (after losing enrollment at both the grade school and high school levels) has turned itself around and back to what it does best...catechizing young minds in the teachings of the Church in a nurturing academic environment. As my children's principal tells parents every August..."our FIRST job is to catechize your children...THEN educate them academically."
And if homeschooling/virtual schooling or some hybrid in-between is your choice, you too must be responsible for knowing what it is that the state expects of you, but more importantly, what you expect for your child to know. Frankly, I find homeschooling to be a way more challenging responsibility for parents than other options out there. It takes an astute parent to navigate the curriculum choices available while meeting (if required) state guidelines and the individual needs of various age level learners. That being said, the benefits are tremendous for home-based learning including, but not limited to, setting individual pace, expanded learning of topics, fostering a warm and nurturing home environment, being in charge of your child's content, etc.
And one last thought on this topic, I urge each parent to evaluate often and frequently what is and is not working for your child. Do not feel pigeon-holed into one style or delivery of learning. While I formerly am a public school teacher, I was educated in the parochial and private school systems. We did try public school for our daughter, but it was not the right fit for our family. While the academics were excellent, we wanted a Catholic-based learning environment. But, with three children, even the tuition break that we will eventually quality for through the archdiocese may not be enough to allow us to afford educating all three in parochial school. It is at that time, that our family might explore a homeschool or virtual school solution or return to the public school. We allow ourselves to be open to all options and respond as we feel guided by the Holy Spirit.