Identifying the Right Educational Program for Your Child

Every parent wants the best possible education for their child, and you have many options available today from which you can choose to provide your child with a quality educational experience. Narrowing down these options can sometimes be a challenge, especially if your child has special needs such as being a gifted learner who thrives on additional stimulation. As you begin exploring the programs in your area, use this guide to understand the key differences between public, private and distance learning options.

Public School Basics
In most communities, public school programs are offered at no cost, and these programs usually must comply with state standards. Community public schools offer programs as early as preschool and they continue through the twelfth grade. These academic programs focus heavily on the basic courses such as reading, mathematics and science. However, they may not always allow kids to delve too deeply into a subject because they must maintain a pace that every student can follow. Public schools also use a standard grading program that most parents recognize from their youth as letter grades, and standardized testing is often used to check on a child’s performance. Although some public schools offer summer opportunities for learning, they are usually used as a way for students to make up work that they missed during the school year or for child care programs.

Private School Benefits
There are many reasons why you might prefer private school over public academic learning programs. Often, kids who are fast learners become bored in a public school setting, and you may find that your child exhibits challenging behavior when they are forced to comply with a slower-paced environment. In private school, the traditional classes are offered, but they are supplemented with additional learning experiences such as individual projects, community service and extracurricular activities that allow kids to enjoy a more well-rounded education. It’s commonly referred to as an educational program that’s differentiated for gifted students. Your child might be a candidate for this type of program if they exhibit the following qualities:
• Creative thinking
• Rapid learning abilities
• Advanced vocabulary
• Sense of responsibility
• Talent in the creative arts
• Pursues special interests with passion

Distance Learning Options
Today, families often find that a typical school schedule simply does not fit their child’s lifestyle. This might apply to your child if they are heavily involved in an athletic or creative endeavor that requires traveling or large amounts of time spent on preparing for competitions and performances. Some gifted children also find it difficult to fit into a normal classroom setting because they have social anxiety or another type of behavioral challenge. Either way, you can also choose to enroll your child in a distance learning program that offers the same benefits as a private school education. This option also allows your child to have more control over their ability to work at their own pace without being penalized. While some kids finish their courses early, others prefer to go slowly so that they fully absorb all of the information. When looking for a distance learning program, make sure that the one you choose offers Advanced Placement and Honors courses that prepare your high school-aged child for college.

Choosing an educational program for your child feels like the biggest decision of your life, and in many ways, it is. While the process is stressful, keep in mind that you will know when you have found the right educational path since you will be able to watch your child thrive in a supportive and nurturing environment that brings out their best assets.

Submitted by Sharon Yu

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