In November, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of sending your kids to a private school. Hopefully this article helped you make an informed decision on which type of schooling is right for your family. If you made the final decision to send your child to a private school, here are some academic and social tips to help the transition from a public to private school easier for you and your child.
Academic Transition Tips
Usually the biggest transition when moving to a private school is the academic aspect. Many times, there is an education gap between students in private vs public school at the same grade. For example, an 8th grade student in public school may have only had pre-algebra level mathematics, but in the private school, they may be expected to know geometry. There are several steps to take to help close this gap.
- Ask Teachers for Help: Most teachers in the private school are aware of these gaps and are more than willing to help your child catch up to the current education level.
- Get a Tutor: A tutor can also help your student overcome the deficiencies they have with the current curriculum. Most private schools also have after school tutoring programs or a list of tutors that can help your student.
- Stay in Communication: This is a good reminder for both parents and students. Many times, students are afraid to admit they need help because they are embarrassed and don’t want to be ridiculed by other students. Stay in communication with your child to make sure they are not falling behind and encourage them to ask for help. Parents are sometimes afraid to ask for help from school staff because they assume the staff does not have time or does not care about their issues. Since most private schools have a smaller student population, school staff has more time to devote to helping their students succeed and thrive.
Social Transition Tips
The other transition gap seems to be around the social aspect. The two main categories here are making friends and participating in activities. Here are some helpful hints for both parents and children:
- Many private schools need parental volunteers and this is a great way to get to know other parents. Making friends with other parents will make the experience more enjoyable for you and also encourage your children to play together. You can also learn the "ins" and "outs" of the school from other parents who have been there awhile.
- Due to a smaller class size, it is usually easier to make friends with peers in a private school. Getting involved in school activities will also allow your children to get to know other students in a different setting.
- Be willing to sign your kids up for activities outside of school. Since many private schools have limited sports, you may need to sign your child up for these activities outside of school hours. Most communities have local sports teams and recreational programs that your child may like to do. This way your child is not disappointed about missing out on an activity they really enjoyed.
- Be open to change, together: Allow your child’s teacher to get to know who you and your child are. If you let your child’s teacher get to know both of you, they can help make their school experience uniquely powerful.
- Embrace healthy guidelines: Private schools usually have stricter moral guidelines than public school. These guidelines are consistently enforced which promotes healthy boundaries and keeps students safe.
- Emphasize strengths: If your child has a skill or interest in the arts, let the school know. Your child can thrive in many ways that aren’t related to academics. Encourage your child to take advantage of other programs like music or the arts.
These tips can help make the transition to private school a much easier process. While there are always some difficulties with transitions, following these tips can reduce the stress and make your child feel more comfortable in the transition.