For parents and students alike, the type of education available within their community is critically important. Many people, in fact, choose the communities in which they live on the basis of the quality of the local schools. Some parents choose to send their children to public school, believing that public education provides a more well-rounded experience for children. Others feel that private education offers students a more varied and creative course of study. Those who wish to instill within their children a sense of their religion may choose religious (often called parochial) schools; these schools provide religious instruction along with the general academic program. In recent years, a growing number of parents have turned to homeschooling, which they feel allows them more control over what and how their children learn.
Each system has its advantages and drawbacks; choosing the best system is determined by a number of considerations. For example, a child who lives in an affluent community with a well- respected public school system will likely want to take advantage of this free education. A child in a poorer community, or one who needs more individualized attention, may fare better in a private school, where classes are smaller and teachers can focus more fully on specific issues. Children in small rural communities, who may have to travel dozens of miles to go to school, may profit more by being home-schooled, or they may be able to hook up to schools via technology (the concept known as distance learning). How a child is educated depends on his or her abilities and needs, the expectations of parents, and the available choices. For parents and children to make informed choices, they need to understand what each type of school offers.