Choosing the Right School for Your Child: Tougher Than You'd Think!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A lot of people think that picking a school is as easy as sending your child to the one nearest your house. But you’re probably aware that this isn’t always the greatest option! Here are a few of the things you need to think about when it comes to choosing the right school for your kid.

Considering the location

The location is such an obvious factor that it’s barely worth going into in much detail. But there are a couple of things you should consider: Do you want your child to be able to walk to and from school within a reasonable time? And is the location generally a safe one? You should take the time to look up crime statistics in that area!

Public, private - the type doesn’t guarantee greatness

You need to judge every school you come across based on its actual merits, independent of the ‘public’ or ‘private’ designation. While it’s worth considering the differences between UK and US education, it’s also worth remembering that only 1 in 5 public schools that replace private schools in the US actually end up performing better. That being said, a public school could have much better general performance than a nearby private school that costs you hundreds of thousands. Assess each one you come across, and don’t allow stigma or perceived prestige sway you either way.

The education benefits offered

You need to assess the additional educational benefits and practices the school is going to offer. Are they going to take lessons outside the classroom by taking the kids on educational school trips? Is there a good library filled with great learning material that kids can take home with them? Has the school got a solid I.T. department that can help your child learn about computer use and safety? These are all things you should be looking at - the basic classroom lessons don’t cover everything a child may experience in school, nor should they!

Teachers and break times

The teachers matter - you know this. But they matter even more than you might think! As many people know from their own experiences, schools don’t always seem to have a problem hiring people who simply aren’t very good at teaching children. You should discuss teaching practices with the headmaster of your potential choice of school. You should also consider break times - people often think break times are at the same time and of the same length across all schools, but this isn’t true.  And, speaking of break times, are they going to serve good food if you don’t plan on giving your child a packed lunch?

Is homeschooling an option?

The social element of an education outside of the home should never be dismissed. Having said that, you shouldn’t dismiss a home education out of hand. There are good arguments against it, to be sure, but there are also some undeniable benefits - if you have the time and expertise to do it. It’s demanding, but if feel that it might be best for your children, and if you can arrange for social activities, then you shouldn’t let anyone demonize you for such a choice.

Written in collaboration.
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