Back to School - Deciding Where Your Child Will Go
As you and your family navigate through the homebuying process, you may be looking at choosing a new school for your little ones. Here’s a breakdown of what lies ahead to consider when searching for a school.
Types of Schools
Neighborhood Public Schools
Based upon which district you live in.
Independent from the regular public school system so it has more flexibility in operations and course work but is not considered private.
Magnet schools are built to attract students from diverse ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds by focusing on a specific area, such as science or the arts.
Religious Private Schools
Privately funded (in the form of tuition) and religious instruction is added to course work.
Secular Private Schools
Privately funded (in the form of tuition) and course work doesn't always follow state and federal guidelines.
Schooling at Home
Depending on the state there are different rules and regulations for home-schooling, so make sure you do some research if you’re interested in choosing home schooling for your child.
Picking a School
Think first about what your child’s specific needs
No one knows your child better than you. Does your child prefer tight schedules or a more relaxed pace? Should your child have programs available to give them extra help with reading, or an English-acquisition program? Location is also an important factor: if your child’s bus ride is eating up their afternoon they may not have as much time for homework or for a game of catch with friends.
Do your research
Read reviews - There are lots of websites available that provide real feedback from real parents about their experiences with a school. Check out the courses offered. What courses are offered in addition to the standard courses, such as arts, electives, or languages? Does the school offer more challenging course like AP, IB or Honors? Explore their extracurriculars: P.E., fine arts, clubs, sports. Check out the school’s approach to testing, homework, class size, and any extra help your child may need. What is the school's safety protocol?
Pay a visit
Before you sign your child up, make sure you pay a visit to the your top choices. Pay extra attention to what you see around you during your visit. Do the students/staff seem happy, engaged, and full of school spirit? When meeting the principal, are they interacting with the students or are they holed-up in their office? Make sure you also check out the facilities and if they are well fitted for your child. If you are not planning to have your child brown-bag it for lunch, you should invest a few minutes to looking at the school cafeteria situation (ketchup is not a vegetable, by the way).
A Few Last Words
Start early! Choosing a school takes time and consideration. Application processing for your child may take some time, depending on the school. Decide early what you prioritize when it comes to your child’s education.
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