Choosing The Right School For Your Child

It’s summer time and some parents are moving their children to different schools. A family may have moved. A student may have graduated a level. Or simply, parents want to try a different school. Been there, done that. With that said, I’ve always felt choosing a school for your child is an important decision every parent should make carefully and with reason. Our kids will spend about 1,000 hours a year at school. This is 1,000 important hours out of our care and supervision so choose carefully. School is where we hope they will also learn many important characteristics such as sharing, manners and respect. If we think about it, school is really their second home.

Now we know about test scores. We know about curriculum. We know about location. We know about reputation. But there is one clue that I rely on more than any of these. And that’s the character of the kids in the school. And how do I determine the character of the kids of the school? Actually, it’s really easy. I watch and study the kids in the highest grades of the school. If it’s an elementary school I’m watching and studying the fifth and sixth graders. Are they being nice to the younger students? If it’s a middle school I’m trying to decide on, I’m watching the eight graders’ demeanor and focus. Are they being respectful to their teachers? For high school, are the seniors still tuned in? Are they focused and serious about their education or are they always joking around and testing the integrity of the school? Why study the elder students of a school? Because they are the best representation of the culture of the school. They set the tone. They are the ones (for better or worse) who have spent the most time inspiring or “wearing out” the administration that is playing such a crucial role in molding your child. Moreover, they are the “leaders” that your kids will intuitively follow. Studying the older kids is a great sneak peak to what your child will most likely be like. Sure your kid can be the different one but why count on that or put them in that position? If you see kids that are already dressing too old for their age, reconsider. If you see kids making fun of others, reconsider. If you see kids disrespecting their teachers or school property, reconsider.

To conclude, when choosing schools, parents usually place such a premium on test scores whereas I put a premium on how my child will score on the character test. I understand great aptitude scores help you get into the best schools and land the best jobs but it’s your character that is the true barometer of success and happiness in life. Simply put, our kids spend almost a third of their lives at school. Make sure their second home is working with you and not against you.

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