As parents, the decisions we face on a daily basis can seem daunting. They leave us constantly wondering if we made the right choice. Did I buy the right sunscreen? Did she eat enough vegetables? Have I allowed him to have too much screen time? Did I spend enough quality time with them today? It’s a never ending cycle that continues from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep at night.
The pressure to make the right decisions only seems to mount as our children get older, and what could be more challenging then choosing the right educational foundation? In today’s society, the schooling options of public, private, charter, or homeschool can be overwhelming. With my husband and I fresh off a private school tour, I have one key piece of advice and five important questions to ask on your visit.
My key piece of advice: look for a student who is a good representation of your child in each classroom you visit. Is your child an energetic, social butterfly or a very quiet introvert? How does the teacher interact with said student? This can tell you which teacher might be the best fit for your child. While it isn’t always possible to select your child’s teacher, it never hurts to discuss with the administration who you feel might be a good fit. It’s also important to ask for their advice and expertise on the matter.
5 Questions To Ask When Visiting A Private School
1. What are my transportation and childcare options?
A good daily schedule is the key to every family’s success. So it’s important to consider a few things when comparing work and school schedules. Is distance a factor when deciding where to send your child to school? If so, does the school have transportation options? If you work from 8-5, will you need before/after school care? What are the additional costs for these services?
2. What financial aide options are available?
Does the private school tuition fit in your family’s budget? If not, does the school offer any discounts in tuition?
3. What curriculum is used?
The curriculum is the heartbeat of the school. It’s probably the main reason you chose to visit. Ask to see the materials, and browse through them. Then watch the curriculum in action. It’s important to see the teachers’ approach and the student interaction. Don’t forget to ask why that curriculum was chosen. What was it about this curriculum that made the school want to use it?
4. What is the student-teacher ratio?
It’s important to know how much one-on-one time your child will receive in their academic endeavors. How many students are in each classroom? Does this allow for small group and individualized instruction?
5. What role does homework play within the curriculum?
Homework has become a bit of a hot button in recent years, so it’s important to know where you stand before your visit. Are you looking for a school that doesn’t give homework or one that gives a moderate amount?
I also encourage you to ask any questions that come to mind while on your visit. Everything moves so quickly, it can be easy to forget. While it’s not an easy decision, answers to these questions are key factors in deciding which school is right for your child.
What is most important to you when considering a school for your child?