School choice: it’s all over the news, and if you’re a parent, it’s probably on your mind, too. 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 factors like location and cost in mind. Here are some steps you can take to 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 to figure out what your ideal school would look like. Are factors like religion, foreign languages, special ed, or afterschool resources important to you?
2. Determine what their ideal school might be. Think about:
What and how your child learns.
Is your child an independent 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? Does he or she have any learning disabilities?
Your child’s 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 he or she an outgoing ball of energy, or shy and reserved? How a child prefers to interact with others will be a big factor in how happy and successful that child is in school, so try to take that into account when evaluating things like class size and teaching style.
What types of sports, interests, or extra-curricular activities is your child interested in? How seriously does he or she take these activities? Do you see one of these activities becoming a vocation that might require a flexible learning environment to allow for morning practices or auditions?
3. Learn about your options.
Research the schools that are available to you. Find out what schools are in your area, which schools your child is 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. Before you can reach the next stage in your decision-making process, you need to know your options.
4. 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.