Homeschool? Private school? Public School? Charter School? Boarding School? Choosing a school program that is right for your child is overwhelming. As my oldest child neared Kindergarten, I felt overwhelmed and dissatisfied with my options as I was choosing a school. Mostly, it was because of my own school experience.
My School Story
I always said I was going to start a school. REALLY. When I was 14, my struggles in school came to a head, and I was given a label: GIFTED DYSLEXIC. I felt like a walking conundrum.
But, choosing a school was tough! My parents looked at local private schools, homeschooling and even boarding schools. Nothing really fit, and I stayed at my local public school, mainly for sports and friends. Luckily for me, I was reasonably successful in school. I had an amazing mom and a few great teachers that helped flex and mold the system.
That was when I realized that the one-size-fits-all school system was not really fitting anyone. I determined, right then and there, as a ninth-grade student, that I was going to create something better.
I was going to create another option for families when choosing a school; something that would flex, adapt and reach students. A school system where learning differences, learning styles, strengths, weaknesses and fundamental child development were honored.
More than two decades later, God has taken me on a learning journey, guiding me to reimagine what has already been created. To modernize the past. To add in the future. To create A One-Room Schoolhouse.
My Top 10 Reasons Why:
Children (dare I say, humans) need time for unstructured play, especially outside in nature. As testing demands increase, the rigors of college admission filter down to preschool. Classrooms fill to absurd levels of enrollment, and children get less and less time to play. Recess gets cut in favor of test prep. After school activities become a daily grind as each child keeps up with the next child. Screens are the go-to babysitter.
I say no! Go outside. Play in the dirt. Imagine, build, fight, make-believe, create. Click here to see A One-Room Schoolhouse’s daily schedule. Note the hour-and-half of daily unstructured outdoor play each school day.
2. Asynchronous Development
Okay, that’s just a fancy way of saying we all learn different things at a different pace. It’s normal. Why hold back a math genius because they read “below grade level”? Go ahead, read at the third-grade level and do math at the fifth-grade level. Just keep learning. Click here to see A One-Room Schoolhouse’s Instructional Approach and Philosophy.
3. Family Time
In my local district, I am supposed to put my five year old on the bus at 7:45, and he is returned to my house eight hours later. Really! Nope. No, thank you. Not for me. I would like to see my children for more than breakfast, dinner and bedtime.
Here is the problem with the outside-the-box school choices: private school is too pricey; charter schools are hit-or-miss; and homeschooling can be overwhelming and isolating. I struggled with all of these issues and found a new option: a hybrid school.
A One-Room Schoolhouse is a mix of homeschool and private school with a little family-style, nature-loving, cooperative flare. Take a look at our hybrid model in detail here.
5. High Moral Values and Character Development
In most schools, I have found a stark void of character education and high moral values. These elements are not being taught; they are no longer found in literature; and the student culture does not reinforce basic moral elements.
A One-Room Schoolhouse’s vision is this: to create a flexible, rigorous, individualized and comprehensive educational environment that reflects the counsel of Paul to learn and teach those things that are pure, lovely, virtuous and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Click here to view A One-Room Schoolhouse’s full mission, vision and values.
Common core, balanced literacy, whole language, drill-and-kill, state testing. Yup, with all of this (I could list more!) we have killed learning with curriculum. When I imagined starting a school, I thought I would have to write a curriculum, too. That sounded horrifically overwhelming.
Thank goodness for Jenny Phillips and The Good and the Beautiful for creating a curriculum with an emphasis on “faith, family, nature and high moral character” designed specifically for a schoolhouse model of learning. Click here to see our curriculum summary.
“Homework, oh homework, I hate you, you stink” (Jack Prelutsky). Seriously, schools want to keep my kid for 8 hours a day and then send them home with 2 hours of homework. Yeah, nope!
I’m not cool with a lot of homework. My homework philosophy could be summed up in two words: read and play. Click here to see A One-Room Schoolhouse’s homework policy.
As with play, the arts have been sacrificed on the altar of state testing and measurable accountability. This is wrong. My answer to this: integration and elective day. Our curriculum integrates poetry, art appreciation, art production, crafts, and music. Also, every elective day has dedicated time devoted to the arts. Take a look at our elective day schedule here.
9. Teacher Hours
I taught school, my mother taught school and my grandmother taught school. It’s in my blood. But, do you know what is killing teachers and driving the best teachers from the profession? Time. There is simply not enough time to prep, grade, attend meetings and teach.
A One-Room Schoolhouse has simplified all that. We use an open-and-go curriculum, do very little grading and detest meetings. We require parent volunteerism in the classroom to aid the teacher and lighten the load. This keeps teachers happy and costs low. Read about our curriculum here and the volunteer policy here.
After reading all of the above, you might ask, why not just homeschool? I have asked myself the same question many times. But I have come back to the same reason: I believe the right classroom has many benefits:
Leadership skills, mentorships, teamwork, diversity, compromise, cooperation and adaptivity.
These (and many more, I am sure) are just some of the benefits of classroom learning. I want my children and others to learn these skills in a wholesome, nurturing classroom that honors these educational values. A One-Room Schoolhouse allows families to pick the amount of classroom time that is right for their family. Look at our schedule options here.
Want more information about choosing a school? Want to learn more about hybrid education? Don’t live in our area, but want to replicate our model? Want updates on our progress? Join our newsletter (see the sidebar) and stay connected!