7 things to consider when changing your child’s school

Now entering the fourth quarter, the school year is winding down. For many, the applications are out and the down payments have been made. Yet many parents are still agonizing over their options for next fall. With over 20 years experience in the four major types of educational institutions, I have put together some blogs that might be helpful if you are considering changing your child’s school to:

When considering a change in schools or reconsidering your present situation (something I did every school year–I asked Is this still accomplishing our goals for their educational, social, and moral/character development?) Keep in mind 7 important things to consider when changing your child’s school (even college):

  1. Change can be traumatic, too; be sure it’s worth it
  2. Experts can be helpful, especially if you sense a problem that’s psychological or learning-based
  3. Testing is not the enemy, although the wrong testing may send you in the wrong direction (not identity needs and abilities)
  4. Pray and trust your gut (and God); you know your child better than anyone
  5. You have 13 school years to get your child ready for college, adulthood, and the workforce, and the years go quickly. (Some children mature slower, but the school years are the same regardless.)
  6. College is about becoming an adult and laying a foundation for learning and specializing, more than it’s about picking a life’s career. I personally am most concerned with the spiritual climate (which doesn’t mean it’s a Christian climate; it just means that one exists where he can thrive).
  7. There’s no longer significant stigma attached to your child re-classing, repeating a grade, or starting school late because of intellectual or social development. Don’t rush a child into an experience that will negatively shape him. Instead, prepare him to be in an environment that challenges, encourages, and grows him, right where he is.

I also have 7 cautionary tales. Carefully consider your motivation for uprooting your child from his current environment. Be careful of–

  1. changing schools just because your child doesn’t have any friends
  2. changing schools because it’s too hard/he can’t get good grades
  3. changing schools because there are bad kids there
  4. changing schools because you’re a minority
  5. changing schools because your child isn’t happy
  6. changing schools because of the economical demographic
  7. changing schools because the extracurriculars are inferior

All of these reasons might be good reasons–the important thing is to ask Why? The problem may be fixable. The school might need your involvement. Your child might need to be guided into areas of discomfort in order to grow. (Life will probably not be much easier on him.) God might have you there for missional reasons (I’m sure He does!). There are many good reasons for leaving a school, too, like:

  • high anxiety or trauma in your child
  • inability to meet your child’s special educational challenges or needs
  • progressive endangerment to your child socially or spiritually
  • refusal of administration and teachers to facilitate your child’s growth
  • direct calling or a move elsewhere
  • scholarship opportunities elsewhere

Consider your decision from all angles, but don’t despair over making the wrong decision. You can always change your mind if it doesn’t work out. (Just remember that change can be upsetting for children.)

We are blessed to live in America, the land of options. Just don’t let the magnitude of options keep you from making a decision to change something that needs changing.

Blessings as you parent your child toward maturity!

 

image by Linnaea Mallette