The Benefits of a University-Model School for Your Child
School hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Kids go to class, sit still for six hours and come home overloaded with homework and backpacks that are too heavy to carry safely. Some new education techniques have emerged in recent years — such as the increasingly popular Montessori method. However, for the most part, parents still have two choices when it comes to educating your kids: homeschooling, or sending them off to public or private school. What if there was another option?
What Is the University-Model School?
Don’t worry, we’re not sending your kids to a university — at least not yet. The University-Model® concept simply takes the class model most colleges use, and applies it to younger children. Instead of going to school five days a week, your students will attend classes two to three days a week, and spend the rest of their “school time” working on materials designed by their teachers in the comfort of their own home.
University-Model® Schools (UMS) are a cross between homeschooling and private school. This educational technique allows you to incorporate the structure of public or private school seamlessly with the flexibility of homeschooling. The first UMS opened in 1992, and for the past 25 years, these schools have been offering a new and inventive way to educate the next generations.
Benefits of UMS
What benefits can this program offer your children, if you choose to enroll them?
UMS schedules are set up so classes are either on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The days spent in school are called “core days.” The other days of the week are considered “satellite days,” where students work on their class work at home under the supervision of their parents.
Enrolling in extracurriculars as a home-school parent can be difficult. UMS provides all the extracurricular programs of a public school, such as choir, sports and even field trips.
Classes reinforce work ethic
The structured classes reinforce the student’s work ethic, something which can be difficult even with structured home-school curricula.
Public school often has a high student-to-teacher ratio, sometimes upwards of one teacher to 30 students. UMS offers a much lower student-to-teacher ratio.
Have you ever found yourself struggling to help your children with their homework because you have no idea what they’re supposed to learn from Common Core? UMS is contingent on parental involvement, and provides teacher-designed programs that are much easier for parents to understand.
Lessons prepared by certified teachers
There’s no guesswork when it comes to the at-home lessons. A UMS-certified teacher puts together every lesson for satellite days.
Essentially, UMS is homeschooling with a twist. The model isn’t perfect for everyone, though.
Not All Sunshine and Roses
While UMS might be a great solution for many families, it’s not a one-size-fits-all program.
First, UMS requires a lot of parental involvement. Since students only spend two or three days per week in school, it’s up to you to make sure they’re completing their assignments the rest of the time. You can’t just send your kids off to school and expect them to succeed without any work on your part. Not only is a lack of parental participation detrimental to your children, but it can also impact class discussion negatively.
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UMS also isn’t a good option for anyone who prefers a secular curriculum. Effectively, all University-Model® Schools use a very religious, very Christian curriculum. If you’re part of a religious family, this might be a great option for you, but if you want your children to have a secular education, you should look elsewhere.
There also aren’t a lot of UMS schools available — Florida, for example, only has one.
Who Would Benefit the Most From UMS?
The UMS system is best for:
- Families who want to home-school their children, but don’t know where to start. This model provides classroom instruction with a certified teacher, while the home side of things is already prepared for you, written by those same certified teachers. Your students are also enrolled with this private UMS, so you don’t have to worry about registering with the county as a homeschooler.
- Families who want a religious education program for their children. UMS are highly Christian-oriented programs. They incorporate religion into every aspect of education, from lessons to home interaction.
- Families who want more scheduling flexibility than traditional public school provides. Parents fortunate enough to have a flexible work schedule and who want to take a more active role in their children’s Christian-based education may gravitate toward the UMS program.
- Homeschooled families who want to participate in extracurricular activities. Even if you’re registered with your home county as a homeschooler, participating in extracurricular activities can be difficult.
- Homeschooled families who want more socialization for their children. If you feel like your children don’t get enough interaction with other children, UMS “core days” give them more opportunities to make friends in a classroom environment.
If you’ve tried everything, and still haven’t found a school type you like or that works for your children, and you don’t mind a religious schooling experience, consider taking a look at UMS in your state. It might not be for everyone, but if it works for you, the potential benefits are immeasurable.
What are your thoughts about University-Model School? Share your thoughts with us!
Anum Yoon is a personal finance writer who is dedicated to sharing her insights on money management with others. She believes that a greener, energy-efficient lifestyle is the key to living a more fulfilling life. When she’s not typing away on her keyboard, you can find her poring over a new recipe she found on Pinterest or at the power rack in her gym. Catch her on Twitter or sign up for her newsletter here to find out what she’s sharing!
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