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October 17, 2018

4 min

Amy Pinter

5 Steps to Selecting a School for Your Child

  1. Google “How to Find a Good School for Your Child”
  2. Look through the long list including the snippet telling you how to Google “4 steps to Selecting a School for Your Child.”
  3. Rub temples; headache is fast approaching
  4. Check Great Schools and get “GreatSchools: School ratings and Reviews”
  5. Try again after taking something for the fast approaching headache

There is nothing simple about selecting a school for your child. Normally, we are not given a choice which school our child will attend. We went to the school that was closest to our home and our friends attended the same school and each year we crossed our fingers and hoped our BFF was in the same class and our nemesis was not.

Today, technology, information, and more transitional lifestyles means our children are exposed to a lot more than we were as children. I strongly believe that in order to select a school that fits a child’s learning style and lifestyle we need to acknowledge 5 important aspects.

1. Know your child’s learning styles.

Each child learns differently is a repeated catchphrase. Give stock to it. It doesn’t matter how much we want them to learn one way or another; each child learns differently and often utilizes more than one style. No matter what, your child will learn as a tactile or verbal student. They may be visual or solitary learner, but we can help them learn effectively within each style and grow within the ones they excel.

2. Understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

We love to celebrate our child’s accomplishments and hang their awards and projects up. We post pictures of their art and celebrated moments on our social media pages. I’m certainly guilty of it and it’s a wonderful thing to share it with friends and family. But human nature makes us shy away from acknowledging those areas our children do not shine brightest. My youngest child has to work harder when it comes to reading comprehension. I can chalk it up to him being a boy but in reality, it does not matter. Reading comprehension is a skill needed for his academic success. Instead we work harder and celebrate more as he perseveres.

3. Be willing to compromise.

We cannot always accommodate our children. We were not accommodated as students where succeed or fail was the motto. Most of us adhered to that model and powered through. For a lot of us it was hard and painful to get through classes with difficult teachers and mind-numbing textbooks. But we did it! Now we want more for our children and we do not want them to feel that pain and frustration we endured. But, we forget the most important thing we gained, perseverance. Should our children hate school? No, we want more for them and to avoid the frustrating nightmare we remember. To give them the best chance, we have to compromise and remember they need to struggle, and we have to let them. They need to fail a little in order to succeed because that builds perseverance and grit. They should not be just another face in a class or powered through a lesson. But we need to compromise and remember a little hardship is good.

4. Want more for them and not you.

I remember as a child loving to dance and my mother wanting me to play the piano. I did both for the longest time and she was that backstage mother. As I grew, I fell off from dance and wanted time with friends. My mother had other things in mind. I am sure you know where this is going. I was happy dancing and giving a lesson or two to little ones. But she saw me becoming a principal dancer in a world-famous dance company. She wanted it more than I did. I see a lot of parents want those top-notch grades for their students, but it is not their student’s motivation. Maybe they have persevered and got a lower grade on an assignment. You want them to do it over for a higher grade. Better grades, better school, better future, right! How much effort did it take your child to obtain that grade? Sure, if they just went through the motions and got a lower grade then go ahead and push for something better but for students who took notes, sweated over that quiz, and worried after turning in; it is an accomplishment. We should want them to succeed even if it means it is not at the standard we expect. We want them happy and successful on their terms.

5. Best is not always best.

We want the best for our children. I swore up and down when our first child was born that they would not get hand me downs, would not hear words in anger, would get more than I had growing up. Careful what you wish for or you might think twice. Take it from a parent of a college student who does not believe in second hand shopping or garage sales. Funny how refurbishing or upcycling is trendy now. The top-rated schools, the best brand labels, and the newest toys are not always the best choices for our children. Instead, knowing when to let them struggle, earn their grade, and celebrate their triumphs over adversity may bring a bigger reward than the best of the best.


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