In 1992, the first University-Model® school was established as an alternative to homeschooling and classroom teaching. It is a combination of homeschooling and campus time and gives the student an opportunity to participate in field trips and extracurricular events, such as sports and band. The National Association of University-Model® Schools (NAUMS, Inc.) certifies schools that meet their high standards as a UM® educational institution.
The initial goal was to test two education theories: whether or not a parent’s involvement made a positive difference in student performance, and whether or not a student’s character development impacted their success.
As the program progressed, it showed that parental involvement in a child’s academic endeavors does make for more successful students. The UM® model also showed that focusing on character development produced students with an additional increased opportunity to succeed.
What is the difference between UM® and traditional schools?
Starting college can be a challenge for an unprepared student. Not only do freshman students often struggle with grades their first year, they often drop out of college. The advantage a University-Model® student has over a traditional school student is that the UM® school is structured to be similar to a college environment.
Students spend two to three days a week on campus; they have accelerated lessons, and the responsibility is on the student for managing their time and assignments. The program also has rigorous standards and sets a high importance on a family’s involvement in the child’s learning process. Since UM® students learn in a program designed to prepare them for a college setting from the time they begin their formative school years, even “average” K-12 students attend and graduate from college.
Another difference is UM® schools are Christian faith-based. This can be a pro or con depending on your personal belief system; or it may be irrelevant if you prefer to focus other factors when choosing learning institutions for your children, such as quality of teachers, the curriculum, methods, etc.
You can assume an active role in your child’s education.
With teacher shortages in public schools, overcrowding and confusing methods of teaching, there will be advantages and disadvantages of every option, and statistics can be skewed to represent either side of the argument.
When weighing whether or not the UM® blended learning style is right for your child, consider whether or not you, as the parent-teacher, are willing to commit the time and effort to being involved in your child’s education.
It’s up to you as the parent to decide if this is the right set-up for you and your child. It’s a serious commitment for the student and the parent. Now more than ever, support, supplies, and resources are available for homeschooling your child. If you consider this path, as with any path, you must understand that your role as a parent-teacher is crucial for the success of your child.
When the fight for the legal right to homeschool children began, it was a difficult struggle in many states. At times, the right is still challenged because homeschooling is hard to define. Some parents choose to set their own curriculum, often using nontraditional methods, which can conflict with state accountability requirements and education standards. Other parents take advantage of pre-packaged, highly structured curriculums, and others choose to blend the best of both.
You can prepare your child for college.
There are plenty “schools of thought” on what homeschooling model is best, and especially best for your child. Google the term and you’ll get more options than you can count and will likely get confused by information designed and marketed to make you believe that every program is the right one for your child. There are homeschooling programs approved by your state’s Department of Education, ones tied in with existing private schools, and even some with colleges. Your choices can be as confusing as new math.
Regardless of which method you choose, it’s imperative to consider college acceptance standards when educating your child to ensure their educational transcripts are acceptable. Preparing for higher education is another reason why the blended model of UM® schools appeals to parents — it follows the university style of learning from the beginning.
You can spend more time with your child.
We all know it can be the little things that make the biggest difference. One of the greater arguments against public schools, especially overcrowded schools where one teacher has 30-50 students, has been peer pressure and influence. Children are learning more about things you’d rather they didn’t learn at all, and they are learning them from their classmates. It’s the world families live in today, where both parents have to work, and often with more than one job.
The time parents can spend with their children is often limited to breakfast, dinner, and some time on the weekends. So how do you know your child is learning values that matter? You could, of course, send your child to a school that is strictly run by a particular religion or follows a set standard of beliefs with which you agree. There is nothing wrong with that. However, that isn’t a practical option for everyone.
When you do your homework to find the right homeschooling program for your child, look for first-hand experiences from parents and their children. Find a program that shares your beliefs, your values and gives your child a solid foundation. A foundation for more than just their education, a foundation for life.
Contributed by Jennifer E. Landis: Jennifer is a writer, blogger, foodie, yogi, runner, and mama. She loves drinking tea, deadlifts, and dark chocolate. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or on Twitter @JenniferELandis.