Choosing a School: Considering Family Needs and Values
Your family's values, preferences and practical concerns are important factors to consider when choosing a school.
Learn more on what to look for when touring schools in these videos:
Video: A guide to private schools
Video: How to find a middle school
What Matters for Matching My Family to a School
Which of your family's wants and needs matter most for choosing a school? Which will affect your family's life and goals greatly, and which are really low-priority afterthoughts? Which needs must be met at school, and which are better met at home and elsewhere? What will the impact be on your child and family when school is not a perfect fit with your family?
Focus on the Four Fit Factors
Fortunately, we can focus on a limited number of factors that determine how well a school fits a family. As we've talked to parents about their school choices, these are the issues that come up again and again, the ones that truly make a difference when it comes to finding a school that fits. We have taken all of these considerations and sorted them into four Fit Factors. These Fit Factors are simply a way of organizing your family's many needs in a way useful for finding a school that meets them. The Four Fit Factors for families are:
- What Your Child Learns: These are aspects of your family that affect what subjects and at what level of difficulty your child should be taught at school. These include your family's values about what content should be taught and particular goals you may have for your child.
- How Your Child Learns: These are aspects of your family that affect how a school should teach and interact with your child both in and outside of the classroom. These include your family's values about how children should behave at school, and how children should learn and be taught at school (teaching method and classroom management).
- Social Issues: These include your parental preferences about the student and parent community of a school, preferences about your own or other parents' involvement in the school, and your biases about particular schools and school types regardless of quality and other aspects of fit.
- Practical Matters: These include your family's needs for child care during non-school hours, daily and yearly schedule, transportation, school location, coordination of your multiple children's educations, and your financial constraints.
©2004-2005 by Armchair Press. All rights reserved. Excerpted by GreatSchools.org with permission from the book, Picky Parent Guide.