School choice: it's all over the news, and if you're a parent, it's probably on your mind. It can be difficult trying to decide what type of school will be right for your child's particular personality and learning needs, while still keeping in mind factors like location and cost. Here are some steps to help you assess what's right for you and your child.
1. Determine what your ideal school would be.
It's hard to find something if you don't know what you're looking for, so take some time figure out what your ideal school would look like. Are factors like religion, foreign languages, special ed, or afterschool resources that are important to you?
2. Determine what their ideal school might be. Think about:
A) What and how your child learns.
Is your child an independant learner or do they need a lot of interaction? Think about your child's learning styles, personality and motivation. Are there any behavioral or physical challenges that might affect your child's success in the classroom? Do they have learning disabilities?
B) Their social skills and preferences.
Are there friends or siblings whose company is important to your child? Think about these relationships from your child's perspective. Is your child an outgoing ball of energy or are they shy and reserved? How they prefer to interact with others will be a big factor in how happy and successful they are in school so try to take it into account when evaluating things like class size and teaching style.
C) Practical considerations.
What types of sports, interests, or extra-curricular activities is your child interested in? How serious about these activites are they? Do you see one of these activities becoming a vocation that requires a flexible learning environment in order to attend morning practices or auditions?
3. Decide where your priorities lie.
Some factors in choosing a school will have to take a backseat to others. Try to come to a conclusion about what's most important to you, your family and your child.
4. Learn about your options.
Research the schools that are available to you. Find out what schools are in your area, which schools your child would eligible to attend and what the requirements are for each institution. Some may select students by a lottery drawing while others might require tests and an application. Figure out your options before reaching the next stage in your decision process.
Click here to use our k-12 wizard to determine schools in your area by a variety of criteria.