Making a long-distance move can be overwhelming and stressful. While it can be exciting, everything about your life is being turned upside down. You must say goodbye to friends, family, and familiar surroundings. And you have to make many important and immediate decisions concerning your new home and neighborhood. One of the biggest long-distance decisions you’ll have to make is choosing a new school for your child.
From a distance, you have to choose a school where your child will be educated, make friends, and adjust to new surroundings. Some things to consider when making the decision to move include:
- A long-distance move can be harder on children than parents.
- Children are always growing, still maturing, and may be more attached to familiar surroundings.
- You want to make sure that your new neighborhood and child’s school is safe, drug-free, and welcoming.
- After a big move, a child may become rebellious, homesick, or act out negatively in new surroundings to cope with anxiety and pain.
To help ease the transition, there are a few things you can do to check out the prospective schools and neighborhood safety of your new city, even from afar.
Consult with all of your friends, workmates, and relatives. Someone you know may know someone who lives in or near the neighborhood where you plan to move. Check with family and friends on social media, too. You may be able to contact a potential friend or neighbor who can tell you everything you want to know about your future neighborhood, the schools, and safety.
Contact Potential Schools Directly
You can call the school yourself and talk to staff, faculty, and volunteers. Ask questions about the quality of education, the types of courses taught, and the student body.
- What does the curriculum look like?
- What is the student-teacher ratio?
- How long is recess and how long will your child be outdoors?
- What types of after-school or extracurricular activities are available?
Don’t be shy. You can get a sense of your child’s potential school setting and educational environment in a pre-interview with their potential teachers.
Consult Online School Guides, Directories and Websites
Do some detective work. Look up online school guides and directories in the neighborhood you have chosen. Check out school ratings and reviews by other parents or official agencies. Check out Google maps and other resources to map out the distance from your new home and your child’s school. How long will your child have to commute to and from school? How far will you have to drive or commute to pick them up in a jam or emergency? Check to see if there are any child-friendly features in your neighborhood like community pools, public playgrounds, and family-friendly businesses.
Public School Vs. Private School
Public or private? Public school can get negative reviews because almost anyone can enroll. Private schools, however, are not bound by the same rules as public schools. Private schools are very selective and can be more expensive.
According to some studies, public school teachers have more educational qualifications, and the student body in public school is more ethnically diverse.
Private schools are usually smaller in size and student body, and there is less bureaucracy involved in staff decisions. Private schools are not obliged by law to accommodate special needs students in the same way public schools must.
Help Your Child Transition
Being the new kid can bring a lot of unease and uncertainty for children, so do what you can to mitigate their discomfort. Look for ways to encourage enthusiasm about the move, like choosing a new backpack or school outfit. Take them around the new neighborhood, if you can, and look for fun things to do together. By making time to help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings, you can give them a leg up in adjusting.
Making a long-distance move isn’t always easy, which is why you should get as much information as you can. Talk to your kid about healthy choices, safety, and homesickness, and do what you can to get them excited. An informed move will be an easier and more comfortable move for everyone.