By Rachel Hoeing
We are extremely fortunate to have as many schooling options as we do, but if you are like me, the options just make your decision more difficult. Whether your child is starting Kindergarten, or you are ready for a change in their education in the upper grades, we have a few tips for you today that might help in your decision-making.
First off, you need to narrow down the choices. Here in the Triad area you can choose from homeschooling, magnet schools, general public schools, in-zone, out-of-zone, Montessori schools, Christian schools and Private schools. Obviously the choices can be overwhelming! I will touch on a few options below and include some helpful links and resources. I hope that these tips can give you a jump start on making the right decision for your child. If I have left anything off or you have advice of your own, please chime in by commenting below.
HomeschoolingIf you are considering the homeschooling option, we have a terrific blog written by a guest blogger that you will definitely want to check out here. There are a multitude of homeschooling resources in our area, including the Forsyth Home Educators website at www.ncfhe.org/homeschooling, the High Point Home Educators website at www.hphe.org,, and Greensboro Home Educators at www.greensborohomeeducators.onefireplace.com. You may also want to check out www.nche.com/. There are other groups out there for almost every type of homeschooling you can imagine, including religious-based.
Did you know that most of the YMCA's offer PE classes, swim team and other homeschooling activities? Old Salem, the Natural Science Center and Sciworks all offer homeschooling programs as well!
Public SchoolsWhen it comes to public schools, word of mouth is always a great way to find out about a particular school. I have also found a few websites that can help when searching for public schools.
These websites can give you information on class sizes, demographics, test scores, etc. A few will even include parent testimonials.
You will also want to visit the website of your specific district to determine how they structure your home school versus accepting an application into a school out of your specified zone. Local district websites are below:
Alamance-Burlington School System
Davie County Schools
Winston-Salem Forsyth Country Schools
Randolph County Schools
Guilford County Schools
If you have a preschooler in Guilford County, be sure to attend the "Kickoff to Kindergarten: Parent Days" which will be held February 18 at the High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave. This is a free resource fair, which will be open from 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm. Representatives from Guilford County Schools will be available during this event, along with representatives from other community resources.
Magnet SchoolsMagnet Schools are part of the public school systems and are offered from kindergarten through grade 12. These schools give students extra opportunities to further their education through special classes and clubs, increased access to technology, and alternative teaching methods. Students can choose a magnet school that fits their personal interests.
Students must apply to attend a magnet school, so be sure to check your school system website above to get information on the upcoming school fairs.
Private SchoolsWithin the private school category you can also find Montessori, Special Education and Religious-based choices. One website that seemed helpful was www.privateschoolreview.com/. You can narrow down your choices by entering the specifications you are looking for in a school.
Our Education Category on the website can prove extremely helpful when looking at private school options. We have blogs written by other moms and admissions staff. We also have a Private School Directory and Special Needs Directory which will give you a concise list of your options for schooling here in the Triad area. These directories will also provide you with links to corresponding websites.
Many private schools are currently hosting open houses, so be sure to check our events page and watch the banners on our website to see ads for Open Houses in the upcoming weeks.
From a mom's point-of-view, the best advice I can give is to go with your gut. Visit the schools with an open mind and more than likely you will leave one knowing that it feels like home.