At some point, nearly every parent has heard their child say, “I hate school!” And while this sentiment often passes, sometimes it doesn’t and parents are left to wonder if their student would be better off in a different educational environment. Transitioning to another school is a big decision however, affecting not only the child but the entire family. Before making this move, here are few questions to consider.
- By switching schools, is my child missing an important opportunity to learn how to work through a difficult situation?
- Have I talked with my child’s teacher and principal about my concerns? Have they been receptive to helping us find a solution?
- Are there things about our current school that my child does like? Will we be able to find these attributes in our next school?
- If my child is ahead academically, or behind, has my current school stepped in with the resources or support systems in place to help him or her?
- If we are contemplating homeschooling or online school, have we evaluated what kind of commitment or lifestyle changes this decision might require?
- How will going to a new school affect the rest of our family in terms of morning or after school routines, drive time, coordinating schedules, etc.?
Before changing schools, think carefully about the specific problems you feel your child is experiencing and give your school a chance to address these issues. You may find that once a conversation is initiated, there are resources available you were unaware of and supportive staff who care about resolving the problem.
If you do decide to change schools:
- Research a variety of school options and attend open houses or set up meetings with administration at each school you are considering.
- Ask if your child can shadow a day at a prospective school or you can sit in on a classroom. Attend a few school functions to get a sense of the culture and community of the places you’re interested in.
- When evaluating new schools, take your child’s opinions into account but don’t leave the final decision of where to attend up to him or her. As their parent, this is ultimately your decision as you carefully weigh the pros and cons of each school you are evaluating.
Once you’ve chosen a new school, talk with your child about the importance of going in with a positive attitude and being patient with the process of settling in. It may take some time for your child, and you, to make the adjustment. Having an ongoing dialogue with your student and setting realistic expectations for the new year can help make this transition a success for everyone involved.