Some students do well in a “traditional” school program and others just don’t. Maybe their school is “too big” or “impersonal.” Maybe you hear “the other kids aren’t like me” or “the teachers don’t like me.” Regardless of the reason considering switch your child’s school, especially mid-year, is rarely an easy decision.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice and have to switch schools, after a family move for example. Other times the decision isn’t as cut and dry and you wonder if the stress of moving schools will resolve an unhappy situation or just make it worse.
When should you consider switching schools mid-year, even when you don’t have to, and what are common reasons parents do switch? There are too many reasons to cover here, but we can provide some tips to help you decide what is right for your particular situation and child.
Is It The School Or Just A Class?
If your child is unhappy ask plenty of questions to determine if the issue is the school itself or just a particular teacher or a group of kids. If the problem seems limited to one teacher or class, start by talking to your school administrator about switching to another teacher in the same school. This may alleviate the issue without adding the stress of going to a new school.
No Creative Outlets
Do you have a creative child with a passion for singing, storytelling, art, music, dance or drama but they attend a school where these subjects are very limited, or even non-existent? In some cases when naturally talented kids aren’t given the opportunity to express their creativity they become bored and may eventually lose interest in the very creative outlets where they naturally excel.
If your creative teen continually tells you they hate school or are bored it is possible the outlet they use to express themselves, and where they thrive, is missing.
When school isn’t providing the creative outlets your teen needs but switching schools seems too extreme, consider adding extra-curricular activities that allow them to express themselves in a way they love. Involve them in the conversation and ask which after-school activity they want to try. Don’t overdo it. Signing up for 5 extra-curricular activities at once can be overwhelming and not leave enough time to focus on school work, or even the activities. Pick one and try it for several weeks.
For many teens adding an activity, like a drama or art class, is exactly what they need. There are some teens need a larger creative outlet and greatly benefit from schools like Brook Road Academy that offer a challenging and creative curriculum designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity by developing complex critical thinking skills.
Homework Is Too Easy
If your child breezes through homework and routinely says they aren’t learning anything this could be a sign they need more from school. While you don’t want to see your child struggle with homework every night, they should be challenged intellectually and excited to learn new concepts.
If this is only happening in one or two subjects perhaps the teacher isn’t a good fit, or your teen has not been placed in the right class. Ask the school administration about advanced or honors options in the same subject. However, if your teen is bored and sailing through all their core subjects, it could be a sign the administration has set the bar too low and they aren’t being challenged as a whole.
Nothing Happened At School Today Mom
At some point every teenager will say nothing happened at school that day. If you are hearing this day after day and not seeing even an occasional glimpse of excitement there could be a problem. This isn’t limited to class time – teens can get excited about something funny happening in the lunchroom, a history teacher spilling their coffee or a friend telling them a funny joke?
As a parent you know school isn’t a party, but you do expect your child to be engaged and to see their interest peaked when learning a new concept, getting a good grade, or spending time with friends. If your child is routinely not excited about what is going on at school it could be a sign they aren’t getting the intellectual or social stimulation they need.
School Is Too Big
Regardless of how wonderful a teacher or school is, some students need a small class size or curricula structured to fit their particular learning style. This can be true for many students, including students with ADHD or Asperger’s syndrome.
In many public schools teachers have 25 or more students in a class. This can limit the amount of individual attention a teacher can provide a single student, especially if the student learns differently. If you get the sense your child is struggling because the school or their classes are too big, a smaller school is worth exploring.
Many parents who switch to a small school are amazed when they see their previously struggling student thrive in a smaller more intimate environment.
Your Teen Just Doesn’t Fit In
This can be one of the most difficult reasons a parent may consider when switching schools. Teenagers often have trouble fitting in or go through awkward stages, and as parents, you don’t want to jump in and save them from every situation. So how do you know when not fitting in is a reason to switch schools?
Some questions to ask yourself include:
1. Is my teen generally happy and enthusiastic but school is changing their personality for the worse? Will finishing out the school year negatively impact them further?
2. Your teen ask to change schools – Having a teen who would rather endure the uncertainty of changing schools and meeting new people instead of staying in their current environment could be a sign the current school isn’t the right fit.
3. As a parent you get the sense what your child is experiencing at school isn’t right. Even if you can’t identify a specific reason, if your instinct tells you their current school isn’t a good fit it might be time to explore other options.
What Is The Next Step?
If you are thinking about switching schools begin by researching the different options including home school, online school, private and non-traditional curriculum schools like Brook Road Academy.
There are a variety of options in the Richmond area and different children will thrive in different educational environments.
Brook Road is a college-prep school. Our Middle and High School students have had limited success in a typical school setting and benefit from our conversational approach, small class size and individualized program. We expect our graduates to go on to higher education, and they do. In fact, 100% of our recent graduates went on to college or junior college.
If your teen’s grades are slipping or you get the sense something isn’t right, contact us for more information about our Richmond area private school. We would be happy to answer questions about what type of students succeed here, our conversational approach to learning and what a typical day is like here.