Think Outside the Educational Box

By Samantha Greenfield

As you prepare for the upcoming school year, you may be wondering if there are any other school options available to you and your family. Over the last couple years, the “traditional” schooling route has seen some challenges that have caused some students to fall behind. If you have a child that has struggled with the ever-changing landscape of the school system, or if your family just wants something different, you do have options. 

In Forsyth County, if you send your child to public school, you can choose to have them attend a school that is not the assigned school for your address, it is called School Choice. That can be helpful in providing options for schools that you feel will better fit your child. However, what if you are looking for options outside of the public school district? What if you are concerned that your children’s academic education is being undermined by topics and issues that have no place in the classroom? 

Thankfully, we live in an area that offers many diverse educational opportunities. You have access to charter schools, private schools, private religious schools, and homeschool. In choosing the best schooling option, you should consider your family life, parenting style, child(ren)’s personality traits and needs both academically and socially. Taking time to research and learn about what is available for your child’s education is of utmost importance. 

In our society, the predominant mindset is to simply send your kids to the nearest public school and not think anything else about it. But is that really what is best for your child? This “one size fits all” approach to education that we have grown accustomed to has proven to create gaps in learning. There are children who can fit right in and not miss a beat, but others can struggle to keep up and still others can struggle because they become bored due to not being taught fast enough. Where your child spends his or her days for these formative years is hugely impactful for their entire life journey. It is not something that should be taken lightly. 

Think about your child(ren)’s needs and interests. What will work best for them? What do you want them to learn in life and how do you want them to see the world? Do they want to be involved in sports? Are they interested in space programs, flying airplanes, working on computers, building legos, gardening, running, making clothes, cooking, etc? An education is so much more than simply sitting in a classroom. Life skills is not just a class…it is actual life…skills…that can be applied to living a productive life that changes the world.

Our children are the leaders of tomorrow, but right now, they are following our lead. Are we equipping them for success? Are we training them to do more than the status quo? Are we showing them how to live life intentionally? Above all, are we teaching them to think and ask questions? Are we pushing them to step out of their comfort zones so they can find that life is so much bigger than themselves? 

As parents, our job is not to teach and train all the children…our job is to teach and train our children. I am grateful to the teachers who love children that are not their own and who work hard to have a positive impact. I appreciate those who are willing to step into a classroom and guide the education of many. At the same time, as parents, we cannot blindly send our kids into a classroom with teachers we know nothing about. As parents, we need to raise our standards for our kids and expect transparency from the classroom, administrators, and anyone we entrust to teach and guide them. 

In your quest to find the best educational option for your child and your family, evaluate and write down what is unique and special about your child. Consider what life goals you have for your child and what life goals they may have for themselves, depending on their age. Once you identify where you want to be, you can make an informed plan to get there. Just remember, you have options. With schooling being such a huge part of life, why not tailor it to fit your lifestyle? The best part is nothing is permanent. So if you make a choice that does not work well, change it up until you find the perfect fit. Your child’s education and future are on the line. Don’t squander them. 

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