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This school year, Virginia Kruta made the leap from private schooling to homeschooling her four children. Virginia attended public school through sixth grade, then moved to a Christian prep school until graduation. Her husband Jim attended private Christian school through eighth grade, then attended the same Christian prep school. So, with experience in both public and private schools, what made this family to decide that homeschooling was the right fit for their family?
Until last year, the children attended the same Christian private school Jim attended as a child. However, when Virginia’s 10 year-old son began struggling in math, the flaws in the system became obvious. He was struggling, but not enough to warrant extra help. Her eight year-old daughter, on the other hand, was two years ahead of her class in reading and spelling, and had to wait for the other children in her grade to catch up. For both of these children, their educational needs were simply not being met.
The Kruta family then assessed their educational situation. As Virginia said “I got frustrated with paying for their education twice (paying for public school through taxes and paying out of pocket for private school) and *still* having two out of two school aged children falling through the cracks.” The younger two children were still in preschool.
The family decided against public school, as Illinois had adopted common core curriculum, which made them uncomfortable. As Virginia is a stay-at-home mom, she knew she had “the capability and the time to teach them at home.” Although Illinois is known for excessive government regulations, those in regards to homeschooling are actually fairly lax. With all of this in favor of homeschooling, the family decided that it was the right thing for them, and began this past fall.
There is a common misconception that homeschool kids lack socialization. On the contrary, the Kruta family believes that they may be better socialized. “If anything,” Virginia says, “because they are exposed to more diverse groups of children in different arenas, they may be better socialized than children who are only "socialized" in a school environment.” The children spend time with other homeschool children with local co-ops, and they now have the time and money to pay for membership at the local YMCA where the kids can be active with other kids while having physical education needs met.
Instead of paying for tuition, the family now has memberships at the local zoo at botanical gardens, which provide education opportunities in the cost of membership, and still come in well below the level they were paying before. The field trips are better, too! After learning about Renaissance Europe, they visited a Kansas City Renaissance Festival, including costumes for the kids and a trip to St Louis Cathedral. These opportunities also meant that all four children are being educated rather than just the two who are old enough for traditional schooling.
When all is said and done, Virginia says, “Homeschooling is certainly a bit more expensive than public school in terms of the money. But in terms of the rewards - watching your children learn, learning what topics really excite them and make them love learning, and just being able to spend so much more time with them in their formative years - you can't put a price on that.”