Published on August 15th, 2022
When it comes to selecting a school for your child, it’s a decision that can have a major impact on their life.
There are several factors that go into this choice and it’s important to be thorough in your research.
What do you value in a school? Does your child value the same things? After giving it careful consideration, the hope is that one option emerges from the rest as the best choice for you and your family.
First, determine what options are available to you. Much of this will depend on the area you’re living in.
For instance, if you’re located in Southern California, there are a variety of local learning options including public schools, private schools, charter schools Orange County, magnet schools, online learning, and homeschool.
All have their strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few tips to determine what will be best for your child.
1. What Is The Size Of The School?
One question that will give you some clarity in your search is how big is the school? Perhaps your child does well with large groups of people.
Or maybe they prefer a smaller, quieter environment. Another related factor is class size.
How many teachers does the school employ? How much individual attention will your child receive? Does the school have enough counselors for students who are interested?
2. What Is the School’s Philosophy?
Some schools will focus on one aspect of learning, like STEM or the arts. Others incorporate religion, college prep, an immersive foreign language, technical education with internships or hands-on learning.
If your child has a particular interest and wants to pursue it, one of these schools could be a good option.
It’s important to determine the school’s policy on homework. How much is expected each day? Also, what is their view of discipline? Do they allow smartphones and tablets? You don’t want any surprises after enrolling.
3. How Does The School Rate Compared To Others?
Be sure to fInd out the track record of the school. How are their students’ test scores? How many of their graduates go on to college? If your child is considering higher education, this could be a big factor in their choice.
You should also look at the ratings of the school. Several websites list rankings of schools with comments from parents about how satisfied they were with their kids’ education, the teachers, and much more.
You can research the education and experience of the faculty to get a better idea of who will be instructing your child.
Is there a high turnover of teachers? This could be an indicator of problems with the school.
4. How Are The Extracurricular Activities At The School?
If extracurriculars are important to your child, see which schools are strongest in those programs.
Perhaps it’s a particular sport. Or an art or music program. Maybe it’s theater. Determine the school that will give your child the best chance of participating in something that will leave them feeling fulfilled.
5. How Does The School Feel In Person?
You should go and visit any school to which you are considering sending your child. Request a tour.
How is the campus? Is it old and run-down or clean and new? Does it feel safe? What is the vibe? Be sure to speak to administrators, teachers, parents, other students… anyone who will answer your questions.
Check out a class. Do the kids seem engaged or having fun? Is the teacher involved?
Another option is attending a PTA meeting. See what events the school puts on.
After visiting, discuss everything with your child. Did they feel the same way you did? Ultimately, they are the one who should be excited about the school since they will be attending.
6. How Far Away Is The School?
One last important factor is the distance to the school. If it’s a great school, but hours away, is it worth the time spent to get there each day? Also, does the school provide transportation or will you be driving your child? If there isn’t a good option nearby, perhaps your child would do well with online learning, homeschool, or a hybrid option like a charter school/homeschool mix.
Give Your Child The Best Chance To Succeed
Determining which school is best for your child involves not only exploring the different education options available to you, but also sitting down with your child and finding out what’s important to them.
You will have your preferences, but take the time to hear theirs. If they aren’t happy at school, it could negatively impact their performance.
A little research could pay off down the line with a successful education for your child and the satisfaction of seeing them grow and flourish.
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