Parents want the best education for their kid, but many parents don’t know exactly what that model looks like. Most of us are wading through choices based on a GreatSchools grade and a prayer. But GreatSchools barely scratches the surface of what makes an education, well… great.
Making the best decision on education requires being informed about how a well-built model of learning facilitates development, intellectual curiosity, and confidence in ability. Not exactly the average SAT score or proficiency on the state math test, right? Well, it shouldn’t be.
Choosing an education isn’t about picking the best test-takers or the building with the highest percentage of kids that achieved above-average scores. Actually, when you think about it closely, those metrics don’t make much sense at all. Choosing the right-fit education is about choosing how, when, where, and what you want your kid to learn. We’ve put together a simple list of considerations as you explore models of education from traditional schools to micro-schools to private institutions or homeschooling. With these factors in mind, choosing the right-fit education is about choosing the right experience, not the right school.
Consider the traditional school system: students are grouped by age and follow the same lessons together at the same pace. What happens when your child is ready to move ahead at a faster pace? Or if they want the option to apply the lessons they’ve learned and explore them deeper? What if your child needs — or wants — to spend more time on a subject to ensure they thoroughly understand it?
When traditional schools move forward according to tests and scores, students often lose the incentive to actually take their time learning at a substantive level. They learn that they are rewarded by memorizing the minimum requirements.
Other types of education tend to do a better job ensuring that each kid is challenged and moving at their own pace. Microschools, for instance, are often built on a Montessori framework, using teachers as facilitators and allowing kids to move freely.
A great learning experience will treat your kid as a unique individual, moving them at their own pace and constantly challenging them to learn more. Does your child’s education look like that?
There’s just no question about it: we’re all built with slightly different internal clocks, different attention spans, and different levels of patience. An education tailored to each kid would ensure flexibility in scheduling, time management, and breaks for play.
Just imagine your learner waking up and attacking learning with high energy and plenty of rest. Imagine them free to take a break to explore outside or move to another subject when they’re frustrated. While traditional schools might not look like this, many private, micro, and homeschool environments are built exactly with this sort of flexibility.
A great learning experience for your child should offer them the flexibility to pursue education when it works best and comes easiest. Is your school delivering on that promise?
For many of us, the fun of learning is beaten out of us as early as elementary school. We quickly are trained to think of learning as work. It’s only later in life that we rediscover learning as a hobby, and only when it looks a lot different from worksheets and pop quizzes.
Why can’t learning be exciting? It’s a failure of imagination. In a truly custom-fit education, your kid would be excited to dig deeper into a subject they find interesting each day. They’d never grow jaded with the process of learning–instead, they’d commit to the idea of learning as recreation … and it’d follow them for life.
A great learning experience for your kid should excite them each day with wonder and possibility. Is your child doing that?
Freedom may mean something different for every family. After all, the reason traditional models don’t work for everyone is that not every student is the same. So consider having the freedom to learn in the way that is best for you and your child, whether that means freedom for your child to study what they want, or study anywhere in the world or at any time. When you reflect on the skills that power you most today, did they come from the classroom? Most often, the answer is no. So let’s expand our definition of learning to include a lot more. And let’s offer our kids the freedom to explore exactly what moves them most.
A great school offers the freedom for kids to pursue their passions. Is your child free to explore the topics that interest them most?
Diversity is equally important within the curriculum as it is within the students it serves. Quality education shouldn’t be limited to a location or demographic, and it doesn’t have to be. But diversity ought not be limited to demographics. When you think about your learner’s education, look for a school that respects the diversity of learning styles, individuals, and ideas that come from these kids.
Finding a school or program that celebrates the differences in its students by allowing for their individual paths not only makes education accessible to more students but also more meaningful. Traditional schools are too often built around the myth of an “average kid.” The reality is, by aiming at the average, those schools miss everyone.
A great education is a diverse one. Is your school delivering truly unique and differentiated learning for each unique kid?
When it comes to selecting the right education for your child, you’re probably deciding between schools. But, school is just a place, learning happens everywhere. In a world of growing possibilities for what learning can look like, you deserve to find the right experience that’s the best fit for your child.