As a parent, you want the best for your child, including when it comes to education, but what that looks like isn't always clear. While once it was simply a matter of enrolling kids in the local school or perhaps choosing between public and private, the choices have expanded far beyond that. Different children will flourish in different environments, and with more choices than ever, parents can choose the one that is best for their kids.
Foremost on the minds of many parents, even when their children are very young, is how to pay for their college education. College tuition continues to rise, and many parents are concerned about their kids being burdened with excessive student loans when they graduate. There are a number of ways that parents can address this. One way is to start saving, potentially with a tax-advantaged account. While some parents may consider taking money out of their own retirement to help pay for their child's college years, a better option is a low-rate Private Parent Loan. These will not put your retirement savings in jeopardy, and you can look for a plan that has a repayment rate that works for you and your family.
Long before college is an issue, there is the question of what will give your child the best learning experience. The options range from traditional schools to what is sometimes called unschooling, which can be as unusual as taking kids on a trip around the world or allowing them to choose elements of their own curriculum. There are many nuances within these options, and what is available to your family will also vary based on where you live.
While private tuition can be expensive, there are places where private school costs less than public and there also may be opportunities for scholarships. Private schools may be religious-based, focused on academic preparation for college, designed for kids with special needs or have other specific focuses. There are also Montessori and Waldorf schools, which are usually, though not always, private. Both offer what is sometimes called a holistic education, meaning that they aim to provide a learning environment that goes beyond academics. They tend to offer flexible curriculum and downplay the use of technology. However, the two types differ in many ways. Montessori tends to have a more traditional academic focus compared to Waldorf.
These may be traditional, charter or magnet. Charter schools often serve particular communities or may have a certain focus, such as language immersion. Magnet schools may give children the opportunity to hone in on a particular interest, such as the arts or engineering.
It is important to love your children and do your best and sometimes that means considering options you might never have thought you would. Some form of homeschooling is another option. State requirements vary a great deal. Homeschooling has become much more mainstream in recent decades, and homeschooled kids can go on to excel academically in college and have good careers. Homeschooling can also be supplemented by online learning opportunities. A related choice is learning pods, in which small groups of kids, sometimes from two or more families, study together.
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