Today we are diving into the topic of school choices. There are gobs of opinions in this realm. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you where to send your kids to school…if only it were that easy! But I will say that it absolutely positively matters where you send your kids to school.
It is way too easy to have your kids “do school” how you “did school” or just do what is the easiest for ourselves. But be careful, we must make sure that we are doing what is the absolute best we can for our kids. Because, really, if we are honest, we acknowledge that we are creatures of habit. We can mindlessly send our kids to school (public or private) or home-school. We can get caught in a rut of doing what we do.
But as mom’s and dad’s we really need to take the time to think through our school choice, analyze it, research and read about it. It’s the only way we can be sure we are making the best choice for our family, for ourselves, and most importantly, for our children.
There are seven key areas we need to recognize and consider when making our decisions.
Lets dive into each of these areas to equip you to make informed and intentional decisions for your own children’s educations.
First off, our background is the starting point for everything we think.
It’s important for us all to take into account our educational background. You better believe that our own experiences shape (unintentionally and intentionally) the decisions we make for our kids.
Between the two of us, my husband and I experienced 9 different schools (or forms of education) before completing high school. This radically affects the choices we are making for our own children’s educations. Without a personal school experience, it is difficult to have an unbiased, fair opinion of it.
Secondly, personal values should play a huge part.
What you believe dictates your life (whether you realize it or not!). Whatever you think is important and worthy of passing on to your children should play a large role in the type of education your provide for them. The school your child attends will widely dictate the values your children hold. And if your child’s school has vastly different values than your family, you need to realize that your child’s mind and heart are being filled with conflicting messages. Instead, be intentional about ensuring that your kids are in an environment that lines up with your personal, family values.
Third, for so many people today Money is by far the biggest deciding factor in choosing their child’s school.
Let’s face it. Money largely controls most people’s lives. Lots of parents feel like they have no choice when it comes to education. There are lots of reason for this. Some may be single parent homes or those living under the poverty level are some good examples of valid reasons why money is a controlling factor.
And it is very true that, at least in the short term, you may not have any choices. We have to honest about that.
But over time, almost every monetary constraint can be conquered (at least in America today). You need a plan and determination to change, but it is possible. I’ve seen single parents work from home so they can home-school, I’ve seen families take on extra jobs to send their kids to private school and I’ve seen people living under the poverty level receive scholarships to private school. I’ve seen families move to a different town just to be in a public school district that they want their kids to be in. I’ve even seen high school kids get jobs to pay for private school because they wanted to go to that school so badly!
Remember, over the long-term, there are always options. Don’t let money (or lack of it) control you.
Fourth, social dynamics are another huge factor for many people.
Many people worry that their kids won’t turn out right if they aren’t in a school with lots of other kids. They think their children need to be in a typical classroom to be socially “normal.”
Let me just ask you this – Do you want your kids to act like the majority of kids you see around you? If your answer is yes, then this social concern probably is legitimate for you and you should take it into consideration when making your school choice.
If your answer is no, then there are still options. First, consider that you may be the best social influence on your child. Don’t discredit the social dynamics of family. And second, there are endless options these days to have your kids socially involved. From clubs, to sports, to camps, to church, to musical groups…the options are limitless. Choosing to “socialize” your kids in this way allows you to have say in what type of social influence you are exposing your kids to.
Fifth, there is something to be said for considering your child’s personality.
One size does not fit all. What works for one child, may not be a great fit for another. Strong willed children can flourish in certain environments. The same goes for quiet introverted kids; give them the right school environment and the sky is the limit. Always consider the child in your decision making process.
Sixth, special needs require special consideration.
Special needs is another category that is a game changer. If you have a child with special needs, you have to pick the school option that allows that child to flourish more. Is there a school that can serve your child and help him or her to thrive? Or given the circumstances, would staying home be a better fit for that child? Either way, be honest with yourself. Really look at where your child is at (not where you hope they are at) and honestly decide what would be best.
And finally, geographical restraints can be deciding factors.
Depending on where you live, your options may be considerably limited. That’s just the way it is. Some people do move to get their children the education that fits them best. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is an option. Another great option now-a-days is the advent of online education. There are so, so many options available now if you choose to enter the online world. You can be home but your kids can still be enrolled in public school, or private ones for that matter. If you are feeling stuck when it comes to school options, then look into online alternatives. There are so many awesome ones out there now.
Make an awesome, thoughtful choice when it comes to your kid’s school.
You won’t regret it!
The more my husband and I considered educational options, the more we realized that all education is absolutely not created equal.
We came to feel strongly that we wanted our children to have an education that can get them wherever they want to go in life. We didn’t want them to have to conform to the common culture and do what everyone else is doing. We wanted to ensure that they had options. I’m pretty sure that you want the same for your children too.
The above list will help you dive into the conversation of what educational option is best for your kids. Above all, don’t just “do school” without thinking about what is best for your children!
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