"My husband and I both work in the public school systems here in Arkansas and believe in their necessity for educating children. I work part-time as a speech therapist and my husband works in administration after also working as a teacher for a number of years. There are so many kids who would otherwise fall through the cracks if it weren’t for public schools and the hard working teachers dedicated to them.
But when we started making decisions about educating our own family, we knew that we wanted them to grow up with a Christian education. This pretty much ruled out public schools for us. So when our oldest started school, we enrolled him in a private Christian school. By the time his two siblings were of school age, the cost of sending three kids to a private school became more than we were able to afford.
Even with some very generous scholarships through the ACE scholarship program, the start-up cost of even getting them registered, buying uniforms, and purchasing textbooks was out of our budget. When that became apparent to us, we decided to homeschool our kids.
We’ve learned a lot when it comes to homeschooling. There are very little resources and information available from the state of Arkansas and not much funding to help pay for homeschool education. Although we’ve seen our kids thrive in this environment and delighted in connecting with them this way, we’ve had to rely on our own research and resources to do so.
As professionals working in the public school system and parents engaged in the homeschool community, my husband and I have a unique perspective into the conversation about school choice. There is a belief that if we give parents the power and funding to choose that they will never choose public schools. But that has not been my experience. Many families, if given the choice, would choose public schools. And for many families, public schools are a great, even essential, choice for their kids.
My hope is that Arkansas can find the right balance of resourcing responsible homeschool parents while still allowing for education freedom in the methodology and curriculum chosen. It’s not about pitting public schools against alternative education, or draining public schools of funding. It’s about equipping educators – whether those are parents, private school teachers, online administrators, or public school teachers – with what they need to do what’s best for the kids they are teaching."
Arkansas parent, speech therapist in the public school system, and a homeschool mom of three lovely children