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Switching your child's school midyear

Six tips for deciding to pull your child out before the school year's over.

By GreatSchools Staff

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Should I stay or should I go?

Deciding to switch your child’s school in the middle of the year is rarely an easy choice. Even if a child is having a terrible time, there's a fear that making a move to a new school could cause even more trauma. Indeed, several respected studies – like this one– cite the fact that for some children moving schools midyear leads to social and academic problems.

However, careful analysis suggests that parents who move their kids for educational reasons experience more positive results than parents who move their children because of life changes like divorce or job loss. Although nerve-wracking, a midyear move can provide an immediate remedy to a bad social or academic situation. "Removing a child from an educational situation that may be problematic is challenging, but may not be as difficult as parents imagine," says Jodie Slothower of Normal, Illinois who twice pulled out her child midyear, the first time switching him to another school; the second time, homeschooling him. "In our case, we have always been relieved and our lives suddenly became much happier."

But before you turn your child’s world upside down, use these six steps to help you decide:

 

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Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

05/16/2012:
"I am forced to move at the end of the year to a school ending may 25 from a school ending june 20 I might have to move after the school were moving to is going on summer break how will this effect my childs grades he averages all As and is in 7th grade. "
03/14/2012:
"I am a parent of a 5 yr old kindergartner he has ADHD with ticks and very fidgety and also has a bone aging disorder which makes him very large for his age. i have had problems all year long fighting the school about my son and just recently started noticing that the teach likes to GRAB children's faces or forcefully grabs their arms to get them to focus and pay attention to what they are saying. today i witnessed my son crying over the fact of his teacher tugging on one of his arms riht in front of me! is this legal? i am having a hard time finding answers regarding state laws on touching children during disciplin . "
03/5/2012:
"We pulled our 3 children out of our neighborhood elementary and enrolled thm in online school. We love it and they love and feel they are being challenged and are more confident and focused. Their old elementary was going through constant changes and my kids weren't being challenged. "
02/21/2012:
"I constantly find myself questioning my decisions, which mind you aren't without careful thought. After reading this article I am suprisingly reassured that every patient step, involvement, questioned postponement, even going beyond advice of others and taking notice first hand observing my other options. I can honestly say I feel far more confident in my final decision and will express it accordingly. As the mother of a child who is struggling to control both behavioral and emotional issues in her current classroom setting, this only gave me supporting facts that I can bring to the attention of those who also play a role in her best interest. Which was the ultimate goal. "
11/28/2011:
"There is absolutely no learning going on at CHOIR ACADEMY . I NEED HELP . THANKS "
02/1/2011:
"I've been plagued with the dilemma of switching schools mid-year, for social reasons once and life changing reasons a different time. I feel bad for those who have to go through this because it is not an easy choice. Most importantly, parents, remember that no child fits into a perfect mold and there is no perfect answer. In my case, the first move was in first grade, moving from a mid-class neighborhood to an upper mid-class neighborhood. It was a bad experience, as the first grade curriculum in the upper mid-class neighborhood was more advanced and the children placed greater value on clothing labels instead of sincerity. At the same time I learned my child was also deaf in one ear; this is considered a learning disability and she was given an IEP. One year later I placed her into another school, which had a bullying problem that the principal refused to address, despite her peace builder program. The following year I moved my daughter to a charter school, where social education took precedence over academic education; a huge blessing! That is where my daughter blossomed into her true self, as much as a child can be, given all the identity crisis they go through when the hormones kick in. Bottom line is, educators look at three areas of development; cognitive (academic), social (emotional), and physical. My daughter is more social than cognitive and I had to pick a school that leaned towards her natural abilities. I wish you the best if you are going through this."
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