Beyond the Classroom: Assessing your child’s educational experience

775_4173682Many factors outside or beyond the classroom impact your child’s educational experience as well. As you assess your child’s school, take a close look at some of the assignments and activities she is expected to do outside of school.

Look closely at a series of homework assignments in a single discipline (or more) over a two or three week period. Do they lead to a logical and appropriate level of understanding and mastery?

Ask questions about how field trips and community service experiences connect to the work she is doing in class.

Is your school claiming to educate the whole child? If so, check to see how well they are living up to that claim.

Is there sufficient outdoor play time?  Is physical education and personal fitness celebrated?

438_3397892Here are some additional questions to ask along the way:

  • Does your child’s homework encourage her to engage in problem solving and critical thinking?
  • Is your child expected to write about his experiences?
  • Is he encouraged to improve his writing skills through guided revision?
  • Do your child’s report cards offer individualized assessment of his strengths and weaknesses?
  • Does your child stretch herself to try things that lie outside of her typical comfort zone? (Auditioning for the school play, joining a team, running for student council, etc.)
  • Are your school’s field trips meaningful and connected to the curriculum?
  • How does your school’s culture promote community service and philanthropy?
  • Is Character Education an important part of your child’s experience?
  • How does your school celebrate and embrace diversity?

Taking a close look at your child’s school beyond the classroom can help you assess its overall health and tone .  If you discover that you are not satisfied with what you see and hear, be sure to consider these “beyond the classroom” items when you start  looking at alternatives.

Next week, we’ll take a closer look at the early years for our Kindergarten and-Kindergarten parents!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+
Bill Diskin

Bill Diskin

Bill Diskin is Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Cannon School in Concord, NC.