Most of us parents are fairly adept at tackling the various projects which life seems to put in front of us. Whether finding an apartment or purchasing a home or dealing with medical issues or writing a will, we all do our research, sift through the various options and make our choice. That's a pretty standard modus operandi, right? Well, obviously I have simplified things a bit because I left out the consultation we all had with experts in just about every case. The doctors explained the choices we had for the medical issues and prescribed a course of treatment. Our trusted attorney reviewed the lease agreements and purchase agreements for our real estate transactions so that we didn't run into problems in the months and years ahead. We just used those experts as a matter of course. This video is a bit dramatic but it makes my point: you need expert help choosing a private school just as you need expert help for other major decisions.
But we don't need any experts to help us choose the right private school for our child, do we? We can do all this ourselves, right? Wrong! I know because we thought we could choose the right school for our very talented eldest daughter who had the perfect academic transcripts, the sports and the extracurricular activities. This would be a cake walk. Just visit a couple of schools, apply and that was all there was to it. Our mistake. . .read more
When you start thinking about sending your child to private school, you will spend a lot of time reviewing school websites. As you do that, bear in mind that you see what the schools want you to see. Think of the private school website as its front door and entrance hall, and you will get the idea. Once you get to the next stage of the school search process, look for the following five features which every good private school should have. Doing your due diligence will take a lot of your time but is necessary to confirm that schools on your short list meet your needs and requirements.
Small classes are at the top of the list of features which every private school should have. If the private high school which you are looking at doesn't have small classes, what is the point of taking your child out of public school? Obviously, the adjective small can be interpreted in different ways. Typically a class size of 12-15 students will allow students plenty of interaction with their teacher. That interaction is a critical part of learning and is one of the features which you must look for when you consider sending your child to a private high school.
Small classes mean that your child won't just be a number. She cannot fall through the cracks. She will not be able to hide in a small class. Some teens prefer to sit on the
This step in your school search process comes after you have narrowed down the list of schools which you are looking at. When you begin comparing schools on your short list, review what is being taught and how it is being taught. Instruction goes to the heart of what private schools are really all about. That is the main reason private schools exist. This is why we send our children to private school. We want certain subjects taught. More importantly, we want them taught in a certain way.
What we want our children taught generally exceeds any minimum requirements. The state department of department will require every school under its jurisdiction to meet certain minimum requirements. That is a given. For example, a high school student must receive a certain number of credits in English and mathematics in order to graduate. Private schools typically outpace any minimums specified by the state department of education.
Against this backdrop, take time to review the courses which are offered in the schools on your short list. Do these courses match your objectives and requirements? Do they offer the depth and intensity which you want your child to have? For example, Shakespeare is taught in many public high school English courses. Typically one play will be covered in an academic year. By contrast a private school English class will read two or three Shakespeare plays in a year. Because private school classes are small and the students focused on their academic work, much more can. . .read more
We parents are in a rather difficult position when it comes to finding out information about private schools. Because they are private schools, they are not subject to the usual sunshine or freedom of information laws. They are just like a privately-held company. They are under no legal obligation to tell you or the general public anything. You need to know exactly what is lurking behind those gorgeous web photos and enthusiastic classroom shots. You need to know the condition of the school from reliable sources. That's where hiring an educational consultant comes in. These professionals know their schools from the arts curriculum to the vintage of the Zamboni machine used on the hockey rink. This is information which you need in order to permit you to make the informed decisions you need to make about finding the right private school for your child.
One caveat, and it is a major one: there are educational consultants who claim to be able to get you into a school. Be careful. The sign of the genuine article is an educational consultant who will offer to help you find the best match for you and your child's requirements. Just be aware.
The following questions are ones you might want to ask but probably feel uncomfortable asking. That's why it's a good thing to hire an educational consultant. She can ask such questions with relative impunity. Plus she will think of dozens of other questions and raise many other issues about. . .read more