One family, three students, three different schools — and happiness

By: Andrew Campanella

Last Upated: April 15, 2021


For an increasing number of families in America, school choice means sending each of their children to different schools.


As school choice opportunities have expanded, parents are identifying the educational environments that meet the individual needs of their individual children.

The Cox siblings

The result is that children are inspired, successful, and happy.

In San Juan Capistrano, California, Erica Cox and her children paint an uplifting portrait of this trend.

Erica’s 17-year-old son, Dominic, attends a public charter school. Her 15-year-old daughter, Abigail, attends a private school that focuses on the performing arts. And this year, she transitioned her 13-year-old daughter, Zoe, to homeschooling.

I talked with Erica and Zoe. For them, finding the ideal educational fit for Zoe has changed her life.

“I love learning…before I started homeschooling, I didn’t really know that I liked science, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grow up,” Zoe said. “Now that I’m homeschooled, I can explore what I want to do when I’m older, and now I love science and I love learning.”

Zoe has taken that newfound love of science and, with the support of her mother, found several educational activities to participate in – everything from collecting marine science samples in the nearby bay to learning how to sail.

“She is so much happier and full of self-confidence and it’s been a joy to watch,” Erica said. “Recently, she applied for a very competitive volunteer job for middle schoolers at the Aquarium of the Pacific and she got the job.”

For Erica, sending her three children to three different schools wasn’t necessarily in her plans, but she couldn’t be happier.

“I started off never thinking this would ever happen. I thought I’d be a traditional brick-and-mortar school parent our whole lives,” she said. “[But] if you want your kid to be a successful student, you need to find the right type of school and environment for them to thrive in. Don’t assume because it works for one [student] it will work for the others.”

And it is that message that Erica, Zoe, and their family will be celebrating (once again!) during National School Choice Week in January.

“I would not change anything of where my three kids are right now,” Erica said. “They are all in the perfect spot for them, and I’m very happy with the choices we made. Some are hard, some require a lot of sacrifices, but my kids know that they are in the best possible spot for them to succeed.”


Read Five Questions for the Cox Family

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