December is the time of year when families may think seriously about school options – perhaps for a transition in January or for a change in the fall. Many private and public charter schools have busied themselves through the November open house and late-Fall application season.
Preschools are gearing up for their busiest enrollment period beginning in January and families know where to camp-out for the night to be first in line for registration. The public district schools are preparing for Spring open houses and for early and open enrollment for the Fall.
Private schools may host placement exams and registration beginning in January or February. Kindergarten families begin to make their shopping list of all school options. They ready themselves emotionally to place their child’s name on every list possible to buy some extra time to decide which is the best school. How does a family begin a step-by-step process to find the best school for their child?
Fortunately I love to read! And, I’ve found there are books available to help families find a school for their child. I have my favorites on the bookshelf, and I thought I’d share a few titles to get you started. And, perhaps to share a few tips to get your “thinking caps in place” and to build endurance for the challenge. It is a challenge, to find the best school fit. Anyone who’s tried, knows. So, check out a few of these titles and share your comments from what you’ve learned. Maybe add a favorite title of your own to this list.
Some “How to” titles on my shelf:
How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child, by Jennifer Wana
The Diverse Schools Dilemma, by Michael J. Petrilli
The Elementary Years (K-6): Choose your child’s school with Confidence, by B. Hassel and E. Hassel
Exam Schools: Inside America’s Most Selective Public High Schools, by C. Finn, Jr. and J. Hockett
Meanwhile, here are just a few things to think about as you begin this process. Look here for more tips next month.
1. Know yourself and know your child. What you want for your child’s educational experience matters. Knowledge can make all the difference in finding the right school.
2. Read up! Ask around. Think about what you’ve learned. Then, circle back around to you and your child. Is the right school fit for your friend’s child right for your child and family? Each child is a unique person, with unique interests and needs.
3. Visit the schools on your list. Nothing beats first-hand experience. Then reflect.