Do you remember the days when you were in school, when everything revolved around school, and your life was in summary, everything that happened in school? Statistically, your life was school! School days per year average 175-180 days, and between 900-1,000 teaching hours; if I’m taking the lower averages, you spent 10,800 hours in a learning facility in your lifetime (that’s not including Nursery or Kindergarten or even college)
Now that we are parents, we are faced with the daunting task of picking a school for our kids, and while some will just pick the one they went to, other’s want to shop around and see what others have to offer.
The best way to start is at the end; what is the outcome you want from your child’s education? I will explain to you how my husband and I used that strategy for our kids.
We knew we wanted a curriculum that would expose them to the same kind of teaching style they would get in college, so an American system was superior to the English system (I studied in an English school). This first step eliminated a large chunk for us, and although we knew discipline was important, which is much more enforced in an English system, it was something we agreed to instill in our kids at home.
The second point was to pick a school that prepares our kids for the workload of college, and since we knew a few family members that recently graduated and went to college, we picked their brains. Two relatives with the highest GPA in high school, that went to college, said their school prepared them so well college was a piece of cake; one of those men is currently doing his PhD in Finance in one of the top universities in the USA.
Now we had a specific school in mind, and it was time to go visit the campus and see what they had to offer. This is not a post to glorify my kids school; I haven’t tried other schools to be able to compare, but I am happy with my kid’s achievements so far. The buildings were nice, the staff welcoming, and the curriculum was clear, as well as their vision and values. The school is segregated, as it was initially founded to be an Islamic institution, but it has since been sold and the new owners like the foundation it was built on, but made some changes to it.
Initially the idea of segregation was a big no-no for me, but after researching the pros and cons of segregation, I changed my mind. I found many studies that explained the different stages of development and learning that boys and girls go through, at a different pace. Some people like to point out that it’s not accurate to say girls are smarter than boys or the other way around, but it’s not that anyone is better, it’s that they are smart in their own way.
Furthermore, around puberty, both girls and boys get awkward around the opposite sex, which makes them self conscious during class (afraid of embarrassing themselves) and so participate less in class.
Fast forward 6 years, I am still happy with our choice. Aren’t there any issues I faced? I absolutely did, and that’s when I took a more active role in the school by joining the Parents Association (for 3 years) and helped fix these issues. Anything that the school couldn’t provide for my kids I provided myself, mainly in to challenge their thinking.
You might wonder why so many parents complain about their child’s school, and it has become clear to me that the main culprit is parents’ expectations. The main categories of parents I talked to are:
- Parent’s that expected the school to educate, transform, discipline, and raise their kids for them.
- Parent’s that were oblivious to what’s going on in school or homework’s, and then wonder why their kids aren’t doing well.
- Parent’s that are in denial about their child’s struggles and are ready to blame everything and everyone except their parenting methods.
- Parent’s that know what the school will provide and take a role in enhancing their child’s experience themselves.
- Parent’s that don’t really care about grades, because they believe that in the real world street smarts is more important.
There is no perfect school or a perfect education, it all depends on each family and what their priorities are. I have come across amazing teachers that made school so much fun for my kids, I am still in touch with them because they care to know how my children are doing. Then there were teachers that made me wonder if they were giving out teaching degree’s for free.
It’s good to ask others about their experiences, but the ideal choice is the one that works for you and your family.