Before you know it, your child is itching to get into school mode, be with the big kids and has an insatiable hunger for learning. Finding a school that nurtures your child can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be hard work.
Choosing the Best Education is Not Always Simple
There are so many choices for education in Australia that many parents feel overwhelmed, often taking what seems to be the most viable option but sometimes finding that proximity, cost or prestige are lesser factors involved in providing the best education for their child.
Being a parent of two now grown young men I have had my fair share of worries regarding the best choices for them.
But despite our desire to provide the best, it didn’t always turn out that way and it was only through trial and error that we managed to find schools that met their needs and supported their educational goals.
Education starts at Ground Level
Education, as I am sure we all agree, starts in the home. To send our kids off to a school that isn’t able to support what we’ve spent the first five years developing in and for our children seems a little unwise.
But this is exactly what we did. We made a fair assumption that the school closest to where we lived at the time would be the best option.
Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way, and in hindsight, a school that didn’t just offer more resources, but that genuinely understood the less tangible needs of its students, ended up being the best option for them, with both ending up at very different schools to cater to their individual development.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned from spending the past fourteen years in the school zone.
1. Consider the options available to you and your children and keep in mind the way in which you are raising them.
The biggest mistake I think I personally made was to assume that my Christian values would be supported by the school. It was a very naïve expectation. And it wasn’t until we chose a Godly environment for our youngest, that I started to understand the true value of surrounding my son with Christian teachers and students.
2. Education isn’t just about textbooks, academic scores, and achievements.
More importantly, is about the individual growth and development of my child as a life-long learner. Once I realised this, it became easy to understand the choices we had been making, and readjust as required to improve his outcomes as a student.
3. A not-so-great school does not make the child.
Despite being at both private and public schools during their time in formal education, my boys’ character and personal development as young men did not come from their school environment alone. They tell my husband and I that our home life has played a much more significant role in their development than school ever did.
4. There is No Shame in Moving On
If the school you’ve chosen doesn’t feel right, work it out and make a change if you need to. There is no shame in moving on. Schools are as individual as humans are, catering to particular beliefs, ideals, and standards. Your children come first, not the school, so if you’re not happy, move them. Do it with caution, but trust your gut first and the school’s opinion second.
Finally, Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Choosing the ‘right’ school for your child isn’t easy and to be honest, even the ‘right’ choices can sometimes end up being less than what we hoped for.
Understanding that educating our children doesn’t begin in kindergarten, but starts from the moment they are born into our care will help you make decisions that line up more accurately with the school you choose for them. This helps to create a deeper connection with your faith and a more likely positive outcome for your child as they move toward further education.
What do you think?
Do you think a school’s reputation, academic record or core values are important? What makes a school the ‘right’ choice for you and your family?
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Miriam Miles is a former BCS parent who writes about family, mental health, reconciliation and faith.
She enjoys questioning everything, understanding as much of life as she can and opening every envelope of mystery she comes across. For more, visit www.miriammiles.com