6 Questions to Ask About Your Kid's School
"We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone"
I have never, in all my years, met a parent who agreed with Pink Floyd. The fact is, we do need an education (although the double negative in the verse makes me wonder what they actually meant...).
In fact, education is so important, this is how many of our first conversations as parents-to-be went:
Us: Hey, we're going to be parents!
Well-Intentioned, but Annoying Person: Really? What school are you going to send him to?
We know people who put their children on school lists before their child was born - which I thought was completely crazy.
But now The Kid and Boy2.0 are approaching the age when we really have to start sending in those scary applications. The question, however, is where? Do we want to send them to whichever academic institution will have them? Obviously not. There are quite a few factors we are taking in consideration:
1) Does the school fit my kid's personality?
The Kid likes structure and needs discipline to thrive - but a large class and school environment might not work that well for him because he gets a bit frazzled by being around lots of people - a feeling that I totally understand. Boy2.0, however, is a bit of a free spirit and needs some space for his own imaginative learning. This doesn't mean that they would need to go to different schools, but there might be schools that are ruled out because they would cause WAY too much stress in one or both of my kiddos.
2) Racial makeup
Our family is pretty mixed when it comes to race...I mean, do you know how hard it is to get the lighting right for one of our family pics?
So it is very important that my boys go to a school where they can meet and make friends with people that look like them AND don't look like them, but also where they see racial mirrors in the leadership and teaching staff.
3) Sport and Culture
Yeah, I want my kids to have an opportunity to try out every extra-mural activity they can get their hands on.
I'll be honest though - if they find that they love working on their sporting talents, I wouldn't exactly hate that...
4) School Ethos
What does the school think a successful human looks like? Is it just someone who gets top marks and makes loads of money one day, or is it someone who has empathy, understands himself and wants to make the world better? I know which one of those I want for my boys (the latter, obviously) and the school they go to will hopefully reflect that.
If we find the perfect school for either of our boys, we will go to the ends of the earth to make sure they can go there - it's what my parents did for me, after all. But even if we throw all our resources in the education pot, there's going to be a limit to how much we can afford for school fees.
And without being completely judgey here, we really don't want The Kid and Boy2.0 to go to an elitist school where wealth is an assumption and where the fact that most of us struggle financially is just a concept and not a physical reality.
Look, I'll be honest with you. I went to a fine all boys school here in Cape Town. I'm not going to tell you which one, but here's a picture of me in my uniform and I'll let you do some detective work to figure it out:
I would really LOVE to see my sons wear the same uniform, to walk through the same halls and to sing the same school song I did. It would be an added level of connection that we would have. But this is, ultimately, the last on the list for a good reason: it's the least important thing to consider.
(Although I really do think that my old haunt would be a great fit for The Kid and Boy2.0...I might be biased though)
What are you looking for in the school that you will send your child to? Or if your kid is already in school, what factors affected your decision? Tell me your thoughts on my Facebook Post and you could win a R2000 Woolworths Voucher!