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Check out these teacher-mom tips on how to find a good school for your kids. Rest your mind…I’ve got all the goods. I have important insider secrets to help you decide about your kid’s education.

I am a Christian teacher-mom who has taught in private and public schools and homeschooled my kids. Furthermore, my kids have attended these three school options, so I have the perspective of both mom and teacher.

Whatever you choose, realize there is no perfect school. There will be some give and take.

If you want to know how to find a good school for your child, check out these 45 things to consider when choosing a school. Each choice has pros and cons, school hacks, and insider tips.

What to Consider When Choosing a Public School

Check out these tips on how to find a good school for your child. Each option has a list of pros and cons to help you make a good decision.  Additionally, there’s an insider tip!

Pros

1. Large selection of classes. Most schools offer theater, art, dance, gymnastics, swimming, architecture, etc. Your child can try anything and everything. You name it; they probably have it. My son acquired a boater’s license through one of his classes. He was elated.

2. Close in proximity. There is not much driving when it comes to playdates, sports, school visits, or dances. Your child’s friends will be within about a 0 – 10-mile radius. It is nice to drop off and pick up within 15-20 minutes.

3. Multiple facilities. Our public high school has a large baseball field, football field, practice field, multiple locker rooms, a swimming pool, several gyms, a large auditorium with high-tech lighting, classrooms with technology, etc.

Because the government funds a public school, there is more money to meet the needs of the students.

4. Teachers are licensed. Teachers are required to have a license to teach in a public school. Both of my kids had excellent teachers almost all the way through. But that isn’t always the case these days.

When asking, “How do I find a good school for my child?” you need to know what they are pushing in your school and the district. Do the research.

INSIDER TIP: Look at the teacher turnover ratio in the school no matter where you go. I taught in a public school that had a 50% rate of turnover. The principal was horrible, so it made the school horrible. Unhappy teachers make an unhappy school, which, in turn, makes unhappy kids.

RELATED: What to Say in a Parent-Teacher Conference: 21 Hacks From a Teacher Mom

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Cons

1. Teachers do not reinforce biblical values.  Some public schools cannot teach real values and morals in the classroom.

It is illegal to pray in class, have the Ten Commandments on the wall, or acknowledge God due to the separation of church and state. Gee, I wonder why the public schools are a mess!

This may not be a problem for some. Personally, I found it disheartening, especially now that the climate has changed to an anti-Christian agenda. Find a good school that will reinforce your values and beliefs because biblical values matter more than academics.

2. Safety. Gun violence has primarily occurred in public schools. There is no guarantee wherever you go, but this is worth considering. If you want to know how to find a good school, consider the safety factor.

3. Drugs, alcohol, promiscuity. Illegal and immoral activity seems to be normal for most kids.  We found many parents were okay with it. This kind of behavior happens everywhere. It’s just in your face in the public schools.

School Hack: These problems may make you think twice about public schools. I found it challenging to navigate through the lack of morality among the kids, the anti-Christian curriculum, and families who didn’t embrace Christian values.

If you are going to send your child to public school, you need to monitor what the teachers are teaching. This is how to find a good school for your child.

INSIDER TIP: I suggest staying involved with your local school board. Better yet, run for a position on the school board. What happens there affects the school district.

Speak up when you see “woke” behavior. It is hard to find a good public school when the state controls the curriculum, but it is possible if you help drive the choices from the local level. This is one of the best insider tips on how to find a good school.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Private School

This is how to find a good school for your child when it comes to private education:

Pros

1. Freedom to teach values and morals. The teachers and administration are free to pray and discuss values and morals. They constantly reinforce them biblically, which is nice.

See also  7 Powerful Ways to Increase Your War Room Prayer Strategy

This does not totally eliminate drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity, but it does give your child a chance to hear about a better way to live. And positive reinforcement to make the right decisions.

2. Academics. Academics are strong in most private schools because the teachers don’t have to stop for many discipline issues. They can present material and teach the full allotted time.

RELATED: 50 Easy School Readiness Skills To Teach at Home [Printable Checklist]

3. Small class size. Most private schools keep their class ratio small. In my experience, it has been around 22:1 or less. This allows for more individual instruction. Sometimes, the honors courses will be even smaller in class size. This is almost as good as private tutoring.

4. Quality of families. Students and families are vetted. There is a lengthy application process and interviews before a student is accepted. This makes it easier to connect with other like-minded families who reinforce the same values at home that you do.

5. Sports. In a small school, your child will get to play almost every sport. This can be a huge benefit if you know your child has the kind of athletic ability that may get overlooked in a big school.

School Hack:  Private schools probably won’t be teaching Critical Race Theory or pushing for crazy lockdowns and mandates from the state. They have more flexibility since they take no public money. This is how to find a good school for your child.

INSIDER TIP: If your child is a superstar in a smaller pool, there is a better chance of getting an athletic scholarship at a smaller school. Find a good school that will value your child’s gifts and talents.

If you want to know how to find a good school, remember this tip when looking at your local private schools.

RELATED: 9 Positive Character Traits For Kids to Succeed at School

Cons

1. Financing a private school education. The cost of tuition is usually high, making it impossible for most people to afford a private school education unless scholarships are given.

2. Lack of facilities. Since no public tax dollars go to a private school, everything has to be built with private funding.

Many private schools have been around for a while, so they have had a chance to grow. However, some still struggle to maintain the same quality facilities as public schools.

3. Class and sports variety. The number of classes offered or the variety of sports may not be as extensive as a public school. Small schools don’t always have the money to fund specialized teachers or multiple sports.

This may not be the best school for your child if your student has a unique gift such as swimming, gymnastics, etc.

4. Possible reform school. Many private schools are less picky about their enrollment because they need money. Students kicked out of public schools end up in private schools.

It is a great opportunity for a second chance, but it can be a big problem if the student does not take advantage of this gift.

5. Entitled children. Private schools cater to a wealthier group of people. This means some spoiled children may act entitled. This problem is everywhere, but it is more pronounced in private schools. If you want to know how to find a good school for your child, then think about this issue.

School Hack: When choosing a good school, it is wise to ask about the characteristics of your child’s potential class. (This isn’t possible for kindergarten.)  Consult teachers, administrators, and friends with children attending the school.

This is especially important if you choose a private school with a class size of under 50 students in each grade. This is how to find a good school for your child.

INSIDER TIP: Some classes have mean girls or bullies. If the class is not characterized as nice, consider another option. Yes, it is that important. 

A couple of bullies or mean girls can destroy an otherwise perfectly good group. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. These kids are toxic and can make the class environment unbearable for your child.

If you want to know how to find a good school, think through all these options.

RELATED: The #1 Best Gratitude Activity to Do with Your Teenager

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Is Homeschooling Right For You?

This is how to find a good school when considering homeschool:

Pros

1. You are the teacher. You decide the curriculum. It is enjoyable to have complete control over what your child learns. There is an opportunity to present material that would never be discussed in a public or private school.

You can literally pour Jesus into your kids every day.

2. Safety. There is a 0% chance of a school shooting, your child being bullied, or ever feeling threatened by another student. This may be the best school for your child to keep him out of harm’s way. Furthermore, no mask mandates are suffocating your child throughout the day!

3. Opportunity for outside development. Many parents have opted to homeschool because their child is gifted in an area. For instance, a gymnast or an ice skater would have more time for practice.

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4. College Advancement. Starting in junior year, your child could be eligible to take courses at the local junior college for free. Yes, it is free until 18 in Dallas, Texas. (Books are not included.) Check with your local junior college to see if your area has the same program.

School Hack: Even if your kids are not exceptionally gifted, they can make more time for ballet, horseback riding, part-time jobs, or internships. There is also extra time for family vacations during the off-season.

We went to Disney World off-season, which was nice!

RELATED: 40 Fun Reading Activities For Pre-School and Elementary-Age Kids

Cons

1. Lack of social interaction. I have noticed students who are homeschooled sometimes struggle socially. The longer they have been homeschooled, the harder it is for them to translate social cues.

If you don’t have regular activities planned with other kids, this could hamper your child’s chances of getting a job and making friends in the long term. I suggest a homeschool co-op, sports, and many church activities to mitigate this issue.

2. Teaching quality. Many parents think they are qualified to teach any subject at every level. Or believe there is a video to teach the material. While it is true there is a video, it doesn’t allow for questions, feedback, and individualized reinforcement of the material.

3. Depression. Some students become depressed because they are isolated from peers their age. As much as you would like siblings or the occasional church friend to be their buddy, sometimes it’s just not enough interaction.

Homeschooling may not be the best school choice for highly social kids. I know this first hand.

4. No dances and big sporting events. Missing out on dances may not be a big deal. There is a lot of needless drama and money spent on one night. However, it is essential to make sure your child is active.

Playing a team sport helps your child exercise and teaches teamwork and social skills. This is how to find a good school for your child.

School Hack: Very few people are truly qualified to teach at all levels. When your child enters junior high and high school, I recommend supplementing with a tutor or joining a homeschool group offering advanced material classes.

You may not have much selection if you are in a rural area. A video will suffice, but it is not my favorite.

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INSIDER TIP: For more information, check out this book, Consider Homeschooling. In this “why-to” book, Cari Kelemen makes a compelling case for why she decided to homeschool her kids from kindergarten through high school while answering the most frequently asked questions from parents like you.

It’s a quick and easy read. You can get through it in about three hours

What About Charter, Magnet, or Montessori Schools?

This is how to find a good school when considering other options:

1. Charter schools.  They were established in 1995. In the last 10-15 years, these schools have become recognized as a viable alternative to public schools and could be a place for you to find a good school for your child. Interestingly, they have gained traction in areas where the public schools are failing to do their job.

The government still funds charter schools, but there are fewer state laws governing them. The reduced legislation allows charter schools more flexibility to be creative in how they run the schools.

Many of them feel like they are in a private school. I have read about some of them using a classical (liberal arts) or Montessori approach, while other charter schools only offer online classes with a teacher facilitator.

Con: Some charter schools are great, while others are more of a receptacle for kids who have been kicked out of school for behavior issues, teens who are going back to get a GED, or students who are suffering from a health issue.

It is worth checking out the ones in your area to see if they meet the standards you have set for your child’s educational needs. If you want to know how to find a good school, then remember this.

2. Magnet schools- They an are an extension of public schools. They specialize in dance, art, music, law, science, agriculture, etc. The majority of these schools are academically selective. You can find a good school for your child with these academic and art specializations.

I know several people who have their kids in magnet schools. Many go on to prestigious colleges and become very successful. Given the chance, it is definitely a good opportunity for a child to attend one of these schools.

Con: You may have to drive a long way to get to the school, and friends may be far, too. And, of course, it’s still a public school. That may be good or bad, depending on how you feel about the public school culture these days.

3. Montessori schools. Montessori education is a teacher-directed, less-controlled education geared toward children who love to learn. Kids are given lots of freedom to learn through play and discovery.

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The primary philosophy of Montessori is to teach using all five senses. Montessori schools are primarily for the elementary years, although some go through high school.

I have neither taught nor had my children attend this learning environment. I think it is a beautiful way to learn when a child is young.

Con: Your child needs to be a self-starter who is highly motivated to learn. Stages, not grades, are used, and a mix of ages is in a single classroom.

Transitioning from this type of classroom to a regular one may be shocking, so remember this when deciding how to find a good school for your child.

School Hack: Montessori Schools mostly fall under the private school category, but as I said, charter schools have used this model. Look for this type of school in your area. It may be free.

How Do You Evaluate the Effectiveness of an Education?

Check out Great Schools, Public School Review, Niche, and SchoolDigger.com for overall ratings. These sites will tell you not only how to find a good school for your child but also how to find a good school district.

These ratings say a lot about the health of the school. Most sites give both private and public school rankings by state. They are the best tool for evaluating a school’s effectiveness.

It shouldn’t be the only thing you use, but it is wise to consider it a valuable part of your analysis.

What Makes a School a Good School?

If you want to know how to find a good school for your kids, look for excellent teachers, stimulating academics, and an array of extracurricular activities and resources that will give students a well-rounded experience.

Remember that godly values are more important than anything. If you have kids who are educated but godless, it does them no good—or our world.

Yes, academics are important, but don’t ignore the other. Following Christ will save your kids a lot of heartache when they get out in the world.

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How Do I Choose Between Schools?

If you want to know how to choose between schools, I suggest you pray.

Pray for wisdom and direction.

God clearly showed us what to do with each of our kids. I would have loved for both of them to attend the same school for all 13 years, but that was not possible due to jobs, moves, and the changes in our culture.

God used every school to strengthen their moral character somehow, so I am grateful. He will do the same for you if you ask Him to show you.

Finding the right school can be daunting, but with an understanding of what you’re looking for and what questions to ask, you can find a good school for your child.

By evaluating each school based on size, location, safety, financing options, spiritual input, and student performance, you can be sure your child will find the best educational environment for their needs.

Do you have tips on how to find a good school for your child? Comment below.

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In it, I share my own experience of a seven-year estrangement from my Christian family and how we eventually reconciled. Furthermore, I provide practical advice to help you navigate your family issues.

Don’t let the pain of estrangement hold you back. Allow God to assist you in healing, no matter what has happened within your family. Remember, there is always hope to be found, even when things seem to be falling apart.

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Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

37 Comments

  1. Finding a school was SO HARD for my son! Everyone wanted him because he’s gifted, but he is also an ADHDer. He tends to have a “honeymoon” phase for the first two weeks where everything is new and exciting, so it plays to his ADHD. After that, it’s chaos and he quickly becomes depressed. A Charter School was the one that really gave him the freedom to spread his wings and have 3 different recesses a day.

    • Kat, I am so glad the Charter school helped your child. Each kid is so different that it is hard to know where to put him until he has been there a while. We had to move mine around a few times to get them in the right spot. Eventually, it worked out. God is good!

  2. I live in Chile, and the school is a bit different here. If you want a quality education, you have to go to a private school, which almost all are religious. Which, is a pro or con depending on who you are. I am not really looking forward to the interviews that go along with it….starting at 3-4 years old!

    • Oh wow. So interesting to know how other countries do things. The interviews are long and tedious but I am glad they screen their students. That’s sad you have to pay private tuition to get a good school. Thanks for reading.

  3. What a great round-up of pros/cons for all the school choices available. I still remember when we were selecting our kids’ schools and how stressful it felt. It’s a blessing to have so many wonderful options in our country, but it does make the choice difficult. What a great resource you’ve offered for those going through this process!

    • Thanks. I’m so glad I’m done with this part of parenting. It was tough figuring out where to live and what school to attend.

  4. Although my children are 20 plus I find this Information very informative. When my kids were in school, I requested special transfers to send them to schools outside of my jurisdiction because I knew that the neighborhood schools were not a good fit for them. I took into consideration friends, academics, social activities and sports. My neighbor homeschooled and I thought that was awesome! This is a great article!

    • Thanks. These decisions are very tedious. I always felt so responsible for my kids success at their school. I did my homework, but you can’t plan for the unexpected.

  5. I dont have kids yet but public school doesnt seem like the best option anymore. Charter/Magnet and Montessori school seems like the best options!

    • I think they are wonderful options. They are worth checking out. Each school and class is different. You just don’t know for sure until you look.

  6. Sondra Barker Reply

    This is a great resource for parents looking to educate their children. One school I love in my area is Page Academy. I recommend it to every parent!!

    • So glad you have a great local school. It is so nice when it is close and they perform well. Thanks for reading.

  7. My husband and I plan of starting a family in the next five years and this post was great to find! My husband sees no problem in the public schooling system, I on the other hand went to a private school all my life including college so clearly I lean more towards that. I believe that when you are paying tuition for a school, parents take more responsibility for their children’s actions. However, I have noticed that in some of the public school in my area that blaming the school is the first thing done rather than the children for acting poorly. It is a toss up based on what is right for your child! I also think it is important to remember that not one choice is going to be perfect so it is important to talk this decision over and make sure you do your research!

    • Yes, I had the same problem. My husband thought the public was fine, but I wanted private. I’m glad we did mostly public because of the cost savings. Each of my kids had a few years of private when we felt it was important. Terrible decisions to make.

  8. I really appreciate that you reinforce the idea that there is no such thing as perfect – just the BEST fit, setting a realistic expectation.

    • Thanks. I try hard to give realistic advice. Picking the right school is hard. I hope my errors helps others from making the same mistake.

  9. Great timing on this post! I’ve been thinking a lot about schools for my little ones…even though it’s REALLY early, but there is so much to consider! Thank you for posting this awesome resource!

    • Good luck on the choice. You’d be surprised how fast the school thing creeps up on you. Hope you make great decisions. Thanks for reading.

  10. Great post! Our baby boy is 12 months now, and we have really been going back and forth on what our best option will be. Stay in our county and put him in private school, or move to another county and choose public school. This article really gave me some more pros and cons to look into! Thanks for sharing!

    • I am glad I was able to help. It’s such a hard decision. I know you will do the very best thing for your child.

    • I’m glad you have the choice to move if you want. Private is really a lot of money. I know we would have loved to have done more private, but it’s the best we could do. Thanks for reading.

  11. what a great article! i do not have kids but this is a topic i hear very frequent! will surely share this and i love that it is a pov of a teacher!

  12. Great article. Especially for new parents who are looking for great schools for their child/children. We, on the other hand, we visited 3 schools in our area with our children and allow them to make the choice which school they felt most comfortable in. Luckily they chose the same school.

    • Yes, the kids definitely need to have some input. Good point. They’re the ones going every day. Thanks for reading.

  13. This is such a great article. I don`t have kids, but I would have never thought that there are so many aspects that need to be taken into consideration.

    • You can believe the things you have to consider. Vaccines is another big issue for some people. It just goes on and on!

  14. Great pros and cons for every type of school! I do not plan on having children but if I did want children I know I would have a hard time deciding what to do. Thanks for helping many new moms out there!

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