Sending your kids off to school is a monumental moment in their development and upbringing. Ensuring your child’s education is one the biggest responsibilities of fatherhood. They will go off and learn so much about the entire world, they will make friends, some of who they will be close to for their entire lives, and they will develop aspirations, confidence, personality, and so many other life-enriching traits.
While academic excellence is not the be-all-and-end-all of life, and every kid is smart in their own way, you will still want to put effort into finding the right school for your child.
There are so many factors that you need to consider when it comes to choosing the right school for your kids, it can make the decision quite a challenge to make. It may cause arguments and tension between you and your partner, and your child may well have their own opinion on the matter too.
Whether you are thinking of the local state school, or an all boys boarding school there are pros and cons of all academic environments. It is vital that you consider everything and make an informed and well-thought-through decision.
Considering Geography As A Factor
Where you live is often the major influencing factor for deciding which school your child should go to. You may have a choice of a couple of different schools that are all within an easy walk or commute to your home. Your child may be an eligible candidate for several schools, and there may be very little in the distance between them.
The pros of sending your child to the school closest to home are that it is likely that they will connect with other kids who live in your area. From there, they will be able to make strong social bonds which will be useful in their development and confidence building.
The other aspect of a school that is close to home is that there will be less distance for them to travel each day. That means that they can get on and enjoy their pastimes in the evening, or actually get their homework done at a reasonable time.
The school that is the closest to your home may not have the best academic record, and it may not have a fantastic reputation. If you are unaware of this information, you can find out about how the school performs on an academic level through the school itself or the local authority.
You might find that local state schools will have larger class sizes. This will mean that one teacher will have to handle teaching more children. In this type of system, some children may get left behind if their educational needs are not picked up on.
Ask around. Find local families who have kids in that school and get their opinions on everything from the standard of the teaching to the school culture. Find out about after school clubs and any other additional activities that might enrich your child’s education. You will get an honest opinion from the families of kids who are already going there.
If the local state school is not for you, you could look at faith schools in the area. Of course, you should only really consider this option if you are of faith yourself, or are happy for your child to be taught in an environment where there will be a religious bias.
Faith schools often have strong academic records and can be smaller in size. This might lead to better teacher and student interactions due to reduced class sizes.
Your child may need to travel further afield to get to this type of school. This may mean them getting up earlier in the morning, taking buses, and getting home later in the evening.
Finances permitting, you might be in a position to send your child to a private school or a boarding school. This will generally provide them with the best academic opportunities. The class sizes will also be smaller and there will be more opportunities for educational needs to be met.
The downsides to a private education may be that they do not get to mingle with children who live locally. This may mean that they don’t build up quite the same type of friendships as they would do otherwise.
Finding A School That Focuses On What Your Child Wants
Different schools have biases toward different subjects. One school may strongly favor more academic subjects such as science, while others may have strong sports or arts programs. Your child may have already demonstrated an aptitude and an interest in certain subjects already. And, while it is quite early to be planning out their future career trajectory at this point, it is important that your child enjoys their school and gets to excel at the subjects that they care about the most.
Finding A School That Meets Your Child’s Learning Style
Think about how your child learns and how they behave. Observe how they play and interact with the world. Do they enjoy books? Or do they appear to learn through doing things? Everyone has different learning styles. Some people learn through experience, while others can remember facts from a page. Understanding how your child likes to learn will be helpful when you are visiting schools to find out about whether or not your child should go there.
A full visit to all potential schools is important. Take your child and get their opinion on them. While they may not understand the wider implications of their choices, they need to feel happy and comfortable with the school that they are going to. If they enjoy school, chances are that they will get more out of it.
There are many factors to consider when picking your child’s school. It is important to take their specific needs into account when making the decision. Research is vital, but you should look further than the academic statistics and get a full sense of the teaching styles and the culture of the school
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