Finding The Best School For Your Child
Moving can be hard on anybody, but for children it is life changing. Think about it. Their lives are turned upside down by leaving their home, friends, loved ones, and basically everything theyre used to, and starting anew. Thats why its important to do everything you can to help kids transition as seamlessly as possible. Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important ways you can do this. So, how do you go about finding the best school without the ability to visit each one personally and interrogating the faculty and staff? Here are some tips to help you out.
Start As Soon As Possible
You should start researching the moment you decide to move. Not only do you need enough time to look into all your options, you also need time to get through the application process, the enrollment and registration process, the chance of being waitlisted, and, unfortunately, the possibility of not getting in and having to start over with a different school.
If at all possible, try to hold off on your move until summer. Research has shown that switching schools mid-year can cause a child trauma and stress that can lead not only to academic problems, but social and physiological issues as well. According to an article from Psychcentral.com, this is especially relevant the older the child is, with teens having the hardest time adapting.
The best thing to do is talk it out with your kids. Make sure to listen to their thoughts and needs and take them into account before deciding what to do. Finishing out the school year before moving to a whole new learning and social environment can make the transition smoother and give them more time to adjust.
Another advantage to moving in the summer is that it will give you and your kids time to visit the school in person.. Also, take the opportunity to enroll your kids in community events and other social activities so they can make new friends before the school year begins.
Figure Out What Your Child Needs
Before starting your research, figure out what your child needs when it comes to learning and extracurricular activities, and base what you look for in a school from that. Every child has a different temperament and learning style, so go with a school that will best cater to your childs needs. Does your child learn quickly and prefer to go at his or her own pace? Is he or she easily distracted and in need of a more personal teaching approach? Or maybe your child is a talented musician and would be happiest at a school that focuses on Fine Arts. Whatever the case, make sure to take into account which learning structure works best for your child when youre looking into each school.
Research Your Options
Every parent wants their children to have the best education possible, so make sure you explore all the academic options available. Look up the school districts in the area and see which one ranks best. If the local public schools dont suit your needs, research other alternatives like charter, magnet, or private schools. And, if those options still arent to your satisfaction, consider teaching them yourself. There are many community organizations out there that support homeschooling families and allow opportunities for them to connect.
Once youve narrowed down your list, its time to contact the schools and do some interviews. Ask about everything from the curriculum to extracurricular activities, classroom size to general atmosphere, student-teacher ratio to lunch services, tuition fees to bullying policies. If theres something you want to know about the school, ask. And dont just limit your questions to the school principal. Talk with other faculty members, staff, and parents whose children attend the school as well. You might even get useful information from your real estate agent or any locals you know in the area. Once you learn everything and come to a decision, make sure to start the enrollment process as soon as possible.
Have Fallbacks Or A Back-up Plan In Place
Its good to have one or two other schools in place in case things dont work out. As mentioned earlier, there is always a possibility your child doesnt get in to your top choice, or maybe things dont work out and they want to switch schools. So, be sure to find out if your back-up options have openings available and what the enrollment procedures are. This way, if things dont go as planned, you wont have to waste time and stress starting the process over again.
Now that you have a better idea of how to go about finding a school for your children before you move, be sure to talk to your kids and listen to their thoughts and opinions throughout the whole process. Theyll be the ones attending, after all. And a school that provides their ideal teaching and social structure will be essential in helping them adjust to their new surroundings.