As parents of three children with some struggles in school, we know that not all children learn the same way and one type of schooling cannot meet every child's needs. Many education options are available, and we are fortunate to have the freedom to choose. These options include public and charter schools, online schools, private schools and home schooling.
Our family has benefited from these options. As a followup to last week's National School Choice Week observance, we want to share our experience with other parents.
As parents, we wanted a better education for our children than we had for ourselves. We struggled to meet the needs of all our children at the same time. Coordinating our two work schedules with three different school bus schedules was a huge challenge. Jennie quit her job to focus on the kids, then we learned about Indiana's school voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs. These changed our lives.
We had a son who struggled in school. He was lost in his local public school with its larger class sizes. We knew he was falling behind, but we didn't know how to help. Then we saw a commercial for a local private school and looked them up on Google. We met with the teachers and staff at St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran. They helped us understand our options and, although we looked at other schools as well, we eventually chose to send our children there.
We were made to feel welcome and see the benefits of smaller class sizes and special, one-on-one attention. Teachers and staff have made visits to our home and worked with our kids during the summer to prepare for standardized tests. When tutoring in a specific subject is necessary, when we struggle ourselves to help our kids learn, they are there for us.
Through vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, we are fortunate to have the same options as other families even though we do not have the high incomes that others have. We no longer struggle as a family to get our kids to school; they all ride the same bus now. Our children are thriving and our son is now an A-B student.
More families could benefit from school choice, but many do not know where to begin. We found friends and family helpful, but also tools such as myschooloptions.org and our local church community.
Our lives and those of our children have improved because of school choice. We are blessed to have options in northeast Indiana.
Jennie and Bobby Springer are Decatur residents.