Visiting schools is a way to find out if your child would be a good fit. Credit: Monkey Business Visiting schools is a way to find out if your child would be a good fit.
Credit: Monkey Business

It can be hard to know what to look for when searching for a new school for your child. Parents considering several different schools can easily get overwhelmed. To keep an accurate record of all of the answers, it may be worthwhile to keep a journal of all of your school visits with your observations and notes.

Here are some questions every parent should ask while looking at programs for their kids.

How big will my child’s classes be?

One reason many families find private schools appealing is because of the smaller class sizes. What is the student to teacher ratio at the schools you are considering for your child? The National Association of Independent Schools notes that parents of elementary school-age children should also ask how many teachers will be in the room.

How much homework do teachers assign?

Any parent of a grade schooler knows that hours of homework a night has become the norm at many schools. As you visit different campuses, it’s fair to ask what the school’s philosophy toward homework is.

How accessible are my child’s teachers?

Note how often each school has parent-teacher conferences and other events for families. Many schools also provide parents with the email addresses and cell phone numbers of faculty in case a student or parent has any questions or concerns.

What kinds of extracurricular activities does your school offer?

Is your child an athlete or a gifted musician? Find out what sort of resources the school devotes to your child’s interests. Also, as more and more colleges look for students with leadership experience, it’s worth discussing the types of community service and other programs.

Do students seem to be content and engaged?

This is a question that only you can answer. What is your impression of the school? Do you know any other parents who send their children there that you can talk to? And, most importantly, do you see your child being happy and academically challenged there?
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.
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