How To Choose the Right School for Your Child

How To Choose the Right School for Your Child

When Harold and I were first married, we lived in a very small rural town in north central Indiana. There was no decision making to choose the right school for your child – you went to the school in your area. We vowed that we would be very intentional about how our children were educated. And that’s where the agreement ended.

Having attended public schools through graduation, and having parents, sibling and family members who also went to public school, I was an advocate. Having been transferred from public school to a prestigious East Coast prep school, Harold was adamant about private school. We stayed at our impasse for years.

And then our children were born. Smart and confident Olivia was reading by age three. Once she had maxed out the daycare curriculum, we sought schooling options that would meet her ability. We settled on a public Montessori based school – the best of both worlds. We loved the idea that her development would not be hindered by her age. Bold and brilliant, Alexandra followed suit. We were both very happy with the fit for our girls.

As a parenting and family management coach, one of my favorite topics is how to choose the right school. There is so much that goes into finding the right fit for you, your child and your family. Public vs. Private School? Single sex vs. co-ed? Charter vs. independent? Homeschooling? So many questions and so many options.

When working with families I focus on three vital areas to find the right educational fit: how do they think, how do they learn, and how do they love. I’ll start with the last one first because I am sure you’re wondering what love has to do with it. I’ll tell you.

LEARN YOUR CHILD’S LOVE LANGUAGE

Originally written for married couples in 1995, The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five human behaviors that most people interpret as love. In 1997 he released a version of the book aimed at helping parents understand and love their children better. Why is it important to finding a good fit for my child academically you ask? Knowing their love language will help you assess the kind of behaviors and people your child can and will learn from.

A child who needs quality time may not fare so well with large numbers of students per classroom.  One who thrives on affirmation will need a teacher who is comfortable giving verbal praise. A child whose language is acts of service may do best in an environment where everyone helps one another learn.  Touch and gifts are obviously the most difficult to accommodate in a public setting, so home-schooling may be an option until they are a little older.

Learning your child’s Love Language will help you choose the right school for their success.

Also Related: Do You Know Your Love Language?

LEARN YOUR CHILD’S PERSONALITY

The first thing I have potential clients do is undergo a few assessments. Most parents think they know their child pretty well. The assessments help to eliminate the guess work. They also help parents articulate what they instinctively know, but can’t explain about their child. A behavioral predictive index (or personality test) is a great way to understand how your child thinks. Knowing how he thinks, will help determine how he learns.

While the most popular assessment is Myers-Briggs, I find it a bit too complex. I prefer the True Colors Assessment. It assigns personality traits to four different colors: green, gold, blue and orange.  I often explain the colors in this way: green personalities want to know why, gold personalities want to know how, blue personalities want to know who, and orange personalities want to know when. My girls are blue and orange: a social people person who thrives on being accepted and an “ants-in-her-pants” impulsive whiz kid who doesn’t like to sit. We found environments that that cater to their individual needs and will foster success.

LEARN HOW YOUR CHILD IS SMART

“Stop asking how smart is my child, and begin asking how is my child smart?”

I learned this quote in a parent advocacy training, and it has stuck with me since that time. Every child has brilliance, and as parents, it’s our job to nurture and cultivate it. The challenge is that their brilliance may not align with mainstream standards of ability and achievement. That’s where Multiple Intelligence’s may help.

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences says that there are 8 different ways people can be smart. The brain receives and processes information in these 8 different ways and everyone has a high or low ranking on each scale. Traditionally, we accept the logical intelligence (math) and linguistic intelligence (words and language) as primary, with visual-spatial intelligence (artistic) and musical intelligence as “valid” forms of giftedness.

But there are four other ways to be smart, and your child may excel in one of those: nature (outdoorsy), interpersonal (self-aware), intrapersonal (other people aware) and bodily-kinesthetic (athleticism) are intelligences as well. When you discover how your child is smart, you can choose the right school environment to support and nurture that intelligence.

Discover how your child thinks and choose the right school for her to think, learn and thrive. You can find free assessments online at www.lonerwolf.com/tests. Start today to create the best future for your children tomorrow.

How did you decide which school (or homeschool) your child would attend?

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Kemkem
    September 19, 2016 at 8:43 AM

    So many things to consider nowadays.. 🙂 . You parents have a lot to deal with, unlike the good old days. If l had kids, l think l would probably want them to be schooled in Nigeria for their formative years just like l had. There’s a huge difference.
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    • Reply
      Anitra | The Mom on the Move
      September 19, 2016 at 11:21 PM

      How is schooling different in Nigeria? That’s an interesting thought – to incubate them from a lack of cultural understanding is a challenge here in North America.

  • Reply
    Latoya @ Life and a Budget
    September 19, 2016 at 8:50 PM

    I never considered the love language of a child when considering education. However, it totally makes sense now.
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    • Reply
      Anitra | The Mom on the Move
      September 19, 2016 at 11:19 PM

      I always look at it like this – love is the way we value ourselves and others. If I do not feel valued by you I can not open myself to receive from you in a positive manner. It’s an instinctive understanding that’s is often not able to be articulated.

  • Reply
    Tamika
    September 19, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    I never thought about my child’s love language, but it is definitely necessary. Thank you for reminding me about that!

  • Reply
    Nikka Shae
    September 20, 2016 at 12:57 AM

    I knew when my kids where smaller and enrolling them into school I reviewed the curriculum, the teachers and the facility.

    • Reply
      Anitra | The Mom on the Move
      September 20, 2016 at 6:08 PM

      Curriculum is important too. Especially once you understand your child’s primary intelligences. Finding a curriculum that aligns is paramount to their success.

  • Reply
    Keisha
    September 20, 2016 at 6:29 AM

    Never thought of it this way. Having worked in the public school system for so many years [but childless], most parents I know would buy homes in school districts with prestige, assuming that their child would just having a good experience. Not always the case. Having a choice is certainly a blessing in itself.
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    • Reply
      Anitra | The Mom on the Move
      September 20, 2016 at 6:10 PM

      “Good schools” aren’t good for every child. I think parents get so focused on being the best instead finding what’s best for them.

  • Reply
    Ty
    September 20, 2016 at 11:59 AM

    Great tips, especially your child’s love language. Who would have thought?
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  • Reply
    Tia
    September 20, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    Awesome comparison! As a product of private schools, I lean towards sending my children to one. I know I’m not ready for children until I can swallow the tuition bill for private school.

  • Reply
    Donna
    September 20, 2016 at 12:27 PM

    Great post. And a very great list. I dont have any little’s yet, but you just gave me a ton of things to consider.
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  • Reply
    Tiffany H.
    September 20, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    I don’t have children but I never thought to apply the 5 love languages to children! These are some great tips that I would have never thought about to incorporate when picking a school! Great post

  • Reply
    Joanna
    September 20, 2016 at 5:02 PM

    Great post. I don’t have kids, but it’s definitely something to think about when I do.

  • Reply
    Ramona
    September 20, 2016 at 7:28 PM

    Very interesting information. I don’t have kids, but I have a niece and a nephew. It’s interesting to look at their lives as they navigate public school. You’ve given me things to observe. Thanks for sharing.
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  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    September 21, 2016 at 2:02 AM

    I’ve had to do this with both of my kids. This year my son started 7th grade, Middle School. Instead of the local public school we went with a private Christian school and I’m so thankful we did. He was too smart for the public school and although they’d skipped him a year it wasn’t enough.
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    • Reply
      Anitra | The Mom on the Move
      September 22, 2016 at 7:37 PM

      We had the same issue. My youngest was skipped a grade, but the public school wouldn’t consider it again at her age. Gotta advocate for their best interest.

  • Reply
    Cleverly Changing
    September 21, 2016 at 6:14 AM

    Years ago, I chose to homeschool my daughters because they started reading at 2. At that age many kids are just learning to talk, so I immediately knew I would need to challenge them. Both of my daughters have different learning styles, one is a tactile learner and the other is auditory. However, many schools outside of Montessori do not cater to hands-on learners. My decision was set when I realized, I love to teach and my girls were learning well under my direction. I knew it was the right decision when my husband and I discussed and he agreed that homeschooling was the best option for my family.

    • Reply
      Anitra | The Mom on the Move
      September 22, 2016 at 7:39 PM

      So glad you discovered it early. I don’t know if I could manage home schooling, I don’t have the patience. LOL

  • Reply
    T. Espinoza
    September 29, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    This is such great info! I am definitely a believer in nurturing your childs talents and interests. Also, I never thought about ‘Love Language’ as it relates to the kids but I can see the importance. Thanks!
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