As much as you hate to admit it, your child is starting to grow up a bit and it’s time to enroll them in elementary school.
But, with over 89,000 elementary schools in the United States, how do you know which one is right for your child?
Obviously, your options are significantly limited based on where you live. But even so, there’s still a lot to ponder. Should you send your child to a private school or public school? Should you send them to a school affiliated with your religion? Or, should you send them to a boarding school?
There’s obviously a lot you need to consider, which is why we’ve created this guide.
Read on to learn how to choose an elementary school for your child.
Understand the Different Types of Schools
While a lot of parents enroll their child into the nearest public school without giving it a second thought, it’s important that you understand all of your options when it comes to the different types of schools.
Here’s what you have to choose from:
Obviously, the biggest perk of sending your child to a public school is that it’s free.
Many parents discount public schools because they don’t believe they offer as good of an education as other types of school, however, this isn’t always the case.
You can check out this site to learn about the best public schools in the nation.
While it’ll cost you money to send your child to a private school, a lot of parents feel like this is money well spent.
Private schools often have a much smaller student to teacher ratio, which often translates to a better learning experience and increased safety.
You can also choose a private school with a religious affiliation, which is a great option if you’d like to bring your child up with religious beliefs.
In general, private schools also tend to have better academic reputations than public schools.
You can read more about the benefits of private education here.
Charter schools fall somewhere between public schools and private schools, and they’re emerging as a more and more popular alternative to the traditional schooling system.
Charter schools are funded with public money save for their facilities. These schools are established independently by a group of people. This group of people must first submit an application to get funding for their charter school, and they usually receive public funding in exchange for promising better academic results.
Typically, charter schools have three to five years to prove their academic excellence. So, if there’s a charter school in your area that’s been open for a long time, then chances are it has an excellent academic performance record.
Unlike charter schools and private schools, magnet schools are a part of the local public school system.
With the public school system, the school that your child goes to is dictated by where you live. However, this is not the case with magnet schools.
What makes magnet schools special is that they usually follow a particular theme. For example, a lot of them are STEM-based, some are art-based, and others are vocationally based.
Magnet schools also tend to lean heavily on hands-on learning.
Many people feel that boarding schools are only for children who misbehave. However, this is an unfair stereotype.
If you want to foster self-discipline, independence, and social intelligence in your child, a boarding school is a great option.
Lastly, you can also choose to home school your child.
While a lot of parents view homeschooling as a strange decision, the truth is, kids who are homeschooled tend to do better on standardized tests and graduate college at higher rates than their peers.
Homeschooling also means that your child can learn at their own pace and that they won’t have to deal with cliques or bullying.
Take a Tour of the School
Before choosing an elementary school for your child, it’s always a good idea to take a tour of the school.
During the tour, you should meet with your child’s prospective teachers and have a meeting with the school administration.
Take advantage of this time to ask as many questions as you can about the school. Here are some great questions to ask:
- What learning methods do you use to teach your students?
- What extracurricular activities do you offer?
- What sets your school apart from the other ones in the area?
- How do you handle behavioral problems at your school?
- How do your students perform on standardized tests?
It’s also a good idea to bring your child with you to check out the school. They can scope out the playground, meet their potential teachers, and get a feel for the place beforehand.
Talk to Other Students and Parents
Obviously, when you come to visit the school, the staff are going to be putting their best foot forward.
This is why it’s important to ask other people about how they feel about the school.
A good way to meet parents is to bring your child to the school’s playground after school hours. You can also ask the school for references, or check around with your coworkers, neighbors, and family members for school recommendations.
Consider Your Budget and Location
Budget and location also play a big role in what school you choose for your child.
Even if you have money set aside for your child’s education, keep in mind that they still have a middle school, high school, and college to get through. If you don’t have enough money to fund all of their schoolings, you might want to consider saving their funds for high school or even college.
Also, remember that you have to drive your child to school five times a week. If there’s a private school that’s really great, but it’s across town, you have to factor this into your decision.
How to Choose an Elementary School for Your Child: Are You Ready to Decide?
Now that you know how to choose an elementary school for your child, it’s time to start your research.
And, be sure to check back in with our blog for more parenting tips and tricks.
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