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How to Select the Right School
When searching for a school parents will often consult their friends, relatives, co-workers, and even strangers. They may respond to an advertisement on television, on the internet, in a magazine, on the subway, or in the newspaper. There are certainly many ways to search and there are so many options.
Some of those options include home or online school, parochial (religious) private school, secular (nonreligious) private school, public school, and charter school. So which one is best?
It is tough to know what type of school would be best for your child. Some concerns are safety, social environment, cost, and quality of education. For someone like me it does come down to dollars and cents for the most part. I cannot afford to pay private school tuitions, which are in my opinion the most ridiculous thing ever. I mean you could purchase a house with all that money invested and the quality of the education may or may not be worth it. I have heard that private school kids are spoiled and over privileged.
However, safety is a concern. I would not want my children attending some school where there are guns, drugs, and gangs. The school should be in a good neighborhood. Also, the quality of the education is important and the type of education matters as well. Being that I am not religious, I would not send my children to a parochial school. I would consider a good public school though.
There are several different types of schools to consider in a child's lifetime. The first type would be a nursery school or preschool. This choice might prove to be the most difficult and maybe a choice some parents will either regret making or may never make at all. At this stage children are young and vulnerable. Many parents are too afraid to put them to any school at all and might instead choose to home school them. I actually think that preschool is a bad idea because nine out of ten times these young children are not properly taken care of and they are not able to take good care of themselves yet so this could be dangerous to leave them without parental supervision. I remember one time my mother put me into some kindergarten and some boy used to hit me and no one even cared.
Things do get a bit easier with elementary school. However, at this point you still have to keep a close watch to make sure your children are in a safe and pleasant environment. With middle school you could let go a bit more, but still watch over homework and any unusual change in your child's behavior. Once High School comes around the corner, the main concern becomes your child's grade and college preparation. Also, talking to your children about sex and all those uncomfortable topics. Thank God for that sex education class in middle school, right? Unfortunately these days they teach about how to have safe safe and where babies come from, but no one teaches you how to behave on a date, what to look for in a partner, and how to treat a lady. I wonder why our education system skips over these basic topics. I feel like these are fundamentals which should be taught in every school. Maybe we would not have such a messed up perverted society if these things were addressed early on in a child's social development. There are just way too many psychopaths and sociopaths out there. Wouldn't you agree?
Well, how to know if a school is really good? What should you look for? How can a parent really do their homework so that they could be well informed? Well, honestly, my best suggestion is to visit the school during the regular school year or maybe try to attend some school event. Just try to speak to some people who attended the school previously and get a feeling of the type of people that go there and teach there. Some schools may look great on paper, but may not be so great in person.
If you are doing online research some things to look for might be a diverse student body, a wide range of extra curricular activities, a wide selection of subjects taught, high SAT scores, good school acceptance percentage, online school ratings and reviews. It is also a good sign if a school offers a tutoring program for students that need extra help. The best thing would be is if your school of choice is close to home.
There are some other less obvious factors to look for when searching for a great school. You really have to look at the big picture and see how going to such a school would affect your child not only in the short term, but also in the long run. The school you choose should have a focus on subjects that are important to your child. If your child is not sure about what they are interested in, perhaps it is a good idea to give them a good overall education that provides with many alternatives as far as future career goals. The school should be welcoming and a good experience overall. It should be a place where the child could make friends easily. Your child should be proud of attending that particular school.
Some additional factors to consider would be the personality of your child versus the personality of the school. If your child is shy and introverted, they may benefit from attending a school with smaller classes so that they can get the attention they deserve and desire. Also, it is good to attend a school that gives a lot of flexibility as far as what subjects you could choose and maybe even the flexibility of choosing certain professors. Some other issues to consider would be the cleanliness of a school, bathroom and lunchroom families. Also, other facilities like the gym, computer lab, science lab, the library, musical instruments available for use, and performance spaces like auditoriums and theaters. You may want to also look into activities like AP classes, field trips, and internships.
There is actually one more sure fire way to really find out the reality behind any school. This method is a bit labor intensive, but might be totally worth it for you and your child. You might want to start by searching to personal information about the school principals. After all, if you or your child ever have a problem, those are the people that would be responsible for helping you resolve it. Make sure that these people are not mean or corrupt. If you find a lot of mean comments about them online, trust me, there must be a reason. Don't be fooled by false advertisements on the school websites, fake smiles, and rave reviews. You really need to look beneath the surface to find out the true nature of the people who are in charge. The other thing is that the people who are in charge will often hire people who have a similar disposition to them as far as personality. You also might want to do your research on the professors that currently teach at the school and maybe look into their professional training and how well students have responded to them in the past. If you really want to play dirty, try to do a back-ground check on the school personnel. All the way down to security guards, lunch ladies, and cleaning ladies. Maybe sure these people do not have a past history of child molestation, robbery, or murder. In fact any sort of crime is unacceptable. Yes, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that I should give people the benefit of the doubt, right? Maybe they have learned their lesson and will not commit such dispicable crimes ever again. However, this is your child we are talking about. Would you hire a babysitter who spent time behind bars? I don't think so. So why take the chance with the school personnel. Sometimes we cannot weed out all the dirtbags. However, we should at least try.