School’s out for summer, however for many parents, school is the #1 thing on our minds right now. Even without the underlying tensions of what will happen this fall with Covid regarding whether schools will open, which strict policies will be in place, etc., school choice can be overwhelming on a “typical” day.
As parents we want what’s best for our children. We factor everything into our decisions, often over-thinking things until we are in a tizzy. With so many different options, it is easy to become overwhelmed.
What is the best school choice for our children?
Preschool: Academic or Play-based? Montessori, Nature, Preparatory, etc.?
Public School: Zoned or transfer, charter or magnet? Online school rankings can be very misleading and don’t tell the complete story. What’s the school culture like? Do the teachers challenge all students and meet them at their individual levels? Is the school more focused on test scores than education? Class size? What’s the social dynamic? How much outdoor time do they get? Are the arts appreciated?
Private: Different religious sects, STEM, Arts, Montessori, Prep School, Boarding School. Can you afford tuition and do they offer aide to those who can’t? What are the unique features that warrant paying a hefty tuition? Many of the same questions above in Public apply here as well.
Homeschool: As many are beginning to research this option, they are realizing that it isn’t as straight-forward as just ‘teaching at home.’ Which style suits your family? Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Traditional, Interest-Led, Curriculum Based, University Style, Online Schooling? Click here to find which model fits your goals and style. Do you want a co-op? How many days per week? Religious or secular? Then, once you finally make that decision, there is an overwhelming amount of curriculum to sift through.
All of that to say, there are a plethora of choices to look into in order to make the best decision for your family and situation. There is truly no single correct answer. Actually, there may not be a right answer that applies to your entire family, as what works for one child may not be the best situation for the other.
Don’t worry about switching schools or styles throughout your child’s educational career. How many of your current close friends did you meet in kindergarten? Would you even want your kid in a school that doesn’t welcome new people who haven’t been there their entire lives? Academically speaking, as long as they receive a solid foundation, that will transfer anywhere. Kids are resilient. They have certainly proven that to us over these past few months.
The best indicator of student success is parent involvement. Here’s some proof.
My unsolicited advice? First, go with your gut. Decide on your plan A, and have Plan B in the back of your mind. Take comfort in knowing that if something isn’t a good fit, there are plenty of options to change.
Even if schools don’t open this fall, it doesn’t mean you will be on you own. Ask around, research, and decide which school or situation would best support you if you are going to be teaching at home for a period of time. There was a drastic difference locally with how this was handled this past spring, but rest-assured that every single institution is heading into the fall far more prepared for this type of situation in the future.