Our lives are filled with choices and options. If you go to a shoe store, you will find boots, sandals, athletic shoes, orthopedic shoes, loafers, heels, pumps, slippers, and more. Not every shoe works for every person or meets every person’s needs.
The same is true in education. Education comes in many different forms: public school, charter school, private school, virtual and online school, and homeschool.
Many people will say that one educational program is superior to another, but in reality, the way you decide to educate your child is up to you. You have to decide what is best for your child. Because your children are different, you may need to approach education a bit differently with each of them. And what works might change over their school-age years.
These are some important questions to consider.
Is your child thriving?
While everything is not always about your children’s happiness, if your children are not thriving, how can they focus on learning? Are your children often anxious, unhappy, or crying about going to school? Do they come home upset frequently, or are they excited to tell you about their day? Are they experiencing odd illnesses or wanting to come home often? Are your children’s curiosities being encouraged and stimulated or stifled and shut down?
Is your child safe?
Schools strive to make sure children are safe, but safety is more than protecting your child from violence. Do your children complain about other kids picking on them or bothering them? Do they feel pressured to do things they do not want to do? Do they have teachers who put them down or belittle them? Do they feel anxious, upset, or unsafe? Are your children in an environment that hurts them emotionally, physically, spiritually, or socially?
Is your child being taught at the proper level?
Being taught far above or below a child’s learning level can be detrimental to his or her well-being, can lead to serious behavioral issues, and is simply a waste of time. Are your children bored? Do they already know most of what is being taught? Are your children confused, frustrated, or “lost,” often needing more time and help to understand the concepts being taught? Is the expectation for your children’s work too low or too high for their ability level?
Is your child being taught what he or she needs to know?
Many schools want to offer a wide variety of levels and electives, but many do not have the resources or student interest to do so. Are your children able to take the classes at their level and interest? Are your children required to take classes in subjects they have already mastered? Are they kept out of subjects they want to learn? Are they in classes that are at their proper ability level regardless of their grade level?
Does your child’s educational situation support your family’s values and lifestyle?
Just as with shoes, each family has its own special style. Does the school help your children respect your position as the parent? Do they work with you as partners in raising your children? Do they respect and support your values and morals? Do they encourage your children to have the attitudes, skills, and behaviors they will need for life?
These questions can help determine if your children’s educational situation is a good match for them.